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Showgirls (1995) Poster

(1995)

Trivia

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When the film swept The 16th Annual RAZZIE Awards, Paul Verhoeven turned up in person to accept Worst Director and Worst Picture. He was the first director to ever turn up to collect the Award.
Pamela Anderson, Angelina Jolie, Vanessa Marcil, Denise Richards and Charlize Theron auditioned for the role of Nomi Malone. Richards would be cast in Paul Verhoeven's next film, Starship Troopers (1997).
The only time actresses complained that they felt uncomfortable was during the scenes with the monkeys, who constantly stared at their bare breasts.
Jenny McCarthy auditioned for the lead and was very much in the running until it was discovered that she couldn't dance.
Kyle MacLachlan denied rumours that he walked out of the premiere - "I sat there and suffered for the whole two hours".
The filmmakers wanted Madonna to play Cristal Conners and Drew Barrymore to play Nomi Malone. The name card Gaye takes off the mirror when she shows Nomi her table in the dressing room even says "Drew." Barrymore turned the film down because she was uncomfortable with the amount of nudity required.
Kyle MacLachlan later recalled seeing the film for the first time at the premiere:

"I was absolutely gobsmacked. I said, "This is horrible. Horrible!" And it's a very slow, sinking feeling when you're watching the movie, and the first scene comes out, and you're like, "Oh, that's a really bad scene." But you say, "Well, that's okay, the next one'll be better." And you somehow try to convince yourself that it's going to get better... and it just gets worse. And I was like, "Wow. That was crazy." I mean, I really didn't see that coming. So at that point, I distanced myself from the movie. Now, of course, it has a whole other life as a sort of inadvertent... satire. No, "satire" isn't the right word. But it's inadvertently funny. So it's found its place. It provides entertainment, though not in the way I think it was originally intended. It was just... maybe the wrong material with the wrong director and the wrong cast".
A source once told Paul Verhoeven that Steven Spielberg had requested a copy of the movie after the premiere. Reportedly, Spielberg stopped watching halfway through the movie while saying 'Sometimes, I hate this town.'
Elizabeth Berkley was paid only $100,000 for playing the lead in the film. When a special V.I.P. edition boxed set was released in 2004 she requested $2,500 to be interviewed. They declined.
This film enjoyed huge success in home video market in the United States, generating more than $100 million from video rentals and became one of MGM's top 20 all-time bestsellers.
As of 2009, Showgirls is the highest grossing NC-17 of all time (US $20,302,961) and the only NC-17 film to ever be given wide distribution (released in 1,388 theaters).
Director Paul Verhoeven made a deal with the studio unheard of at the time: he would get complete creative freedom to deliver an NC-17 rated movie from the beginning. Up to that time, the NC-17 rating had never been intentional, and was always given after screening of the movie by the MPAA. The deal did include that Verhoeven gave up 70% of his 6 million dollar salary, and he would only receive the remaining 30% if the movie was a success.
Gina Gershon declined to recreate the Sharon Stone leg crossing scene from Basic Instinct (1992).
After this film bombed at the box office and "swept" the 16th Annual RAZZIE Awards, MGM/UA attempted to re-market it as a "Midnight Cult Flick" à la The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). A new print ad, with a leopard-skin patterned background and prominently mentioning the film's seven RAZZIE "Wins" ran in several L.A. area newspapers, promoting midnight showings in West Hollywood in Spring, 1996. Clever though it was, this new marketing gimmick also failed at the time. However, since then, the movie has indeed enjoyed a significant degree of cult following, with fans showing up in Showgirls-themed attire at screenings of the movie. Several influential filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch and Jacques Rivette have professed their appreciation of the movie; screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and director Paul Verhoeven both claim that they frequently meet people who secretly admit that they loved the movie. The critical re-evaluation of the film even inspired author Adam Nayman to write the novel "It Doesn't Suck", in which he makes a case for the movie being an actual masterpiece.
Elizabeth Berkley regularly worked 16 hours a day in high heels, while filming the dance scenes.
There was considerable competition between Elizabeth Berkley and Gina Gershon off-screen, which was subtly encouraged by Paul Verhoeven, as it would help them portray their on-screen feud better.
When the film tanked on its opening weekend, writer Joe Eszterhas took the unprecedented step of taking out an ad in Variety, urging female movie-goers to go see the movie, not because it was semi-pornographic but because it highlighted the exploitations that lap dancers are subjected to. He attacked the studio for using cheap marketing tricks, where they used the tag line 'Leave your inhibitions at the door' to sell the film as a cheap sex movie. Needless to say, this tactic didn't help the film any.
Jennifer Lopez told The Hollywood Reporter (2016) that the worst audition of her career occurred when vying for a part in this film.
In a 2013 interview, Paul Verhoeven explained his motives for doing the movie. He did not like Joe Eszterhas's initial script, and passed on the project in favor of doing "Crusade", based on a screenplay by Walon Green and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, that project fell through when Carolco Pictures could not afford to finance both "Crusade" and Cutthroat Island (1995). Since 10 million dollar had already been spent on "Crusade", and Eszterhas already received 4 million dollar for his Showgirls screenplay, Verhoeven felt morally obligated to do Showgirls as a personal favor to Mario Kassar to save Carolco from bankruptcy. Eszterhas' screenplay was extensively re-written with All About Eve (1950) as the main source of inspiration. Verhoeven intended it to be an over-the-top morality tale, populated with only amoral characters (except for the character of Molly (Gina Ravera), with Las Vegas as a metaphor for hypocrisy and extortion. However, the satirical intentions were not picked up by the critics, who regarded the movie as a simplistic portrayal of American culture, and the box office failure of both this movie and 'Cutthroat Island' made the bankruptcy of Carolco inevitable.
Paul Verhoeven and Joe Eszterhas did about fifty extensive interviews with real-life Las Vegas strippers, showgirls, producers, choreographers and casino owners, and incorporated parts of their stories, characters and use of language in the screenplay, to show the amount of exploitation of strippers in Las Vegas. Some of them were interviewed by magazines after the movie's premiere, and completely reversed their stories, maintaining that the movie did not depict their lives accurately. However, Verhoeven is quoted as saying that this is still the most realistic movie about contemporary America that he ever made.
Elizabeth Berkley once said of this film: "Ever since those reviews for "Showgirls", it's like I was that woman in "The Scarlet Letter". Except that instead of having to wear the letter "A" for adulteress, I was condemned to wear an "S" for showgirl". Coincidence or not, but Berkley won the Razzie Awards as Worst Actress running up against Demi Moore who actually played the role described by Berkley in The Scarlet Letter (1995).
One week before the movie's opening, writer Joe Eszterhas caused a small controversy during an interview where he called upon young people to use fake IDs to gain access to the NC-17 rated movie.
Paul Verhoeven called 'Showgirls' his most 'Fellini-esque', praising it for its lush cinematography and colors. He also admitted that it lacked dramatic drive, and that he should have included a thriller element in the form of a murder mystery.
Toni Halliday, who contributed to the soundtrack, recalled - "I met Paul Verhoeven and he was just so charismatic. He wowed me into this horrible film, selling it as some intellectual comment on the sex industry. I walked out after 45 minutes. The screen went dead every time that woman was on it."
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Set an all-time RAZZIE Award record with 13 nominations (one or more in all 11 categories of the 1996 Awards). Its seven "wins" tied it with Battlefield Earth (2000) as the third most dis-honored film in RAZZIE history (I Know Who Killed Me (2007) later held the dubious distinction with eight "wins". Which itself was then beaten by Jack and Jill (2011) with ten "wins".)
Joe Eszterhas came up with the idea for this script while on vacation at his home in Maui, Hawaii. Based on the idea he scribbled on a napkin, he was advanced $2 million to write the script and picked up an additional $1.7 million when the studio produced it into a film.
The name "Nomi Malone" came from Joe Eszterhas's wife's nickname, Nomi (her real name is Naomi). He chose "Malone" because he thought of Nomi as being "alone" in the world.
Sharon Stone, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah and Finola Hughes (who allegedly turned down the script because she thought it was sexist) were considered for the part of Cristal Connors.
This film is listed among the Top Ten Best Bad Films ever made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE MOVIE GUIDE.
Kyle MacLachlan used a body double.
Paul Verhoeven was insistent that actors not ad-lib or change lines as they were scripted. He had done numerous interviews with real-life dancers and showgirls, and used some of their lines directly in the screenplay. Three changes were allowed: The line "smiling beaver" was changed to "smiling snatch", the line "She's ginchy" was changed to "She's no butterfly", and the line "I wanna see the pimples on your ass" to "I wanna see your ass."
Nomi's mispronunciation of "Versace" as "Versayce" was suggested by Elizabeth Berkley.
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The cover image for this movie is a remake of a famous photograph by Slovak photographer Tono Stano.
In a (2015) sketch comedy act on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014), they reunited the Saved by the Bell (1989) cast. During the sketch, a reference is made towards Jessie's character about one day being a stripper. This is clearly a joke made on the fact that after the series, Elizabeth Berkley would go on to do this film.
The only interior scenes that were actually filmed in Las Vegas are the first ones in which Nomi plays slot machines and at the Forum Shops/Spago in Caesar's Palace.
In the original screenplay, Molly was described as a chubby Caucasian girl.
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Dylan McDermott turned down the role of Zack Carey.
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Was made into an off Broadway musical. Rena Riffel from the original movie performed in a few of the shows.
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Paul Verhoeven deferred 70% of his $6 million director's fee depending on if the film turned a profit.
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Joe Eszterhas took out a full-page advertisement in Variety in which he dubbed the film a morality tale and denounced the advertising of the film as "misguided", also writing "The movie shows that dancers in Vegas are often victimized, humiliated, used, verbally and physically raped by the men who are at the power centres of that world."
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Paul Verhoeven originally passed on the project as he didn't care for Joe Eszterhas's original script. Instead, he hoped to make a movie about the Crusades with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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In 2015 Paul Verhoeven said the film ruined Elizabeth Berkley's career. He said, "Showgirls certainly ruined the career of Elizabeth Berkley in a major way. It made my life more difficult, but not to the degree it did Elizabeth's. Hollywood turned their backs on her. If somebody has to be blamed, it should be me because I thought that it was interesting to portray somebody like that. I had hoped the end of the movie would explain why she acted that way, when it's revealed she has convictions linked with drugs, but that too turned out to be a big mistake. I asked Elizabeth to do all that - to be abrupt and to act in that way, but people have been attacking her about for that ever since. I did consider that people would think she had a borderline personality, but that was because her character had a history of drug abuse, so I tried to express that through her abruptness."
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Elizabeth Berkley was dropped by her agent after the film was released.
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Paul Verhoeven later said of the rape scene, "Nearly every character in the movie is a bad person except for one girl, Molly, and she is the one who gets raped. Molly is the only really genuinely supportive person and she is punished. The reason I did this was to show that Vegas is not a nice place and that is basically what the movie is all about. It is possible 'Showgirls' was lacking in closure. Even some of my closest collaborators felt that way and have said they thought the rape scene took the fun out of the movie."
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In 2000, the Golden Raspberries added some additional categories to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Elizabeth Berkley was nominated for Worst Actress of the Century which she lost to Madonna. She was also nominated for Worst New Star of the Decade which she lost to Pauly Shore. But this film won Worst Picture of the Decade, beating out Hudson Hawk (1991) and The Postman (1997).
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The song playing in the beginning from the car when Jeff opens the door is "Vision Thing" by Sisters Of Mercy.
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Smithee 

Paul Verhoeven: Credited as "Jan Jansen" in the edited TV version.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The rape scene, and the subsequent refusal of the Las Vegas big shots to punish those responsible, is based on a real incident that Joe Eszterhas learned of while he worked for Rolling Stone magazine.
The "Los Angeles" freeway sign at the end of the movie, was a hint at a sequel that Paul Verhoeven and Joe Eszterhas were already planning for with the working title "Bimbos: Nomi Does Hollywood", but was abandoned when this movie debuted. The sequel was to have Nomi going to Hollywood and taking on the movie business, an area that Eszterhas knew even more juicy stories about.
When Nomi is first seen on stage dancing at The Cheetah, the song playing is Prince's '319' (in reference to a room number). At the end of the movie when she goes to visit Cristal in her hospital room, Nomi is told by a nurse that Cristal is in room 319.
When Nomi goes to audition for Goddess, the director says she looks like Pollyanna. Coincidently, near the end of the film her real name is revealed by Zack to be Polly Ann.

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