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Escape from L.A. (1996) Poster

Trivia

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Kurt Russell practiced playing basketball between scenes as he wanted to make all of his shots legitimately in the basketball scene later on. He made all of those shots purely on his own talent, even the full-court one.
At the beginning of the film, Kurt Russell wears his costume from the original film, which still fits after fifteen years.
Kurt Russell's first and only writing credit.
According to an interview with John Carpenter, Kurt Russell not only came up with, but wrote the entire ending of the movie.
This film was caught in development hell for over ten years. A script for the film was first commissioned in 1985, but John Carpenter thought it was "too light, too campy". It remained dormant until Carpenter and Kurt Russell got together with frequent collaborator Debra Hill. It was Russell's persistence that got the film made. Snake Plissken was his favorite character, a character he loved, and wanted to play again.
There are several references to Snake Plissken and the city of Cleveland. This is an in-joke reference to a friend of John Carpenter's who knew a guy from Cleveland named Snake Plissken; this is supposedly where Carpenter got the name for the character, when he was writing Escape from New York (1981)
Bruce Campbell has a cameo in the film as the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills. Campbell and Kurt Russell share the same stunt double, named John Casino. He had been doubling for both of them for several years before this film, and still does it for them to this day. Both were also in Sky High (2005), but they had no scenes together.
The movie was a notorious failure on release, making around 25 million dollars (just half its budget) at the U.S. box-office. Many reviews criticized the film for being too violent, or for being too similar to the original film.
John Carpenter later reflected: "Escape from L.A. is better than the first movie. Ten times better. It's got more to it. It's more mature. It's got a lot more to it. I think some people didn't like it because they felt it was a remake, not a sequel... I suppose it's the old question of whether you like Rio Bravo (1959) or El Dorado (1967) better? They're essentially the same movie. They both had their strengths and weaknesses. I don't know-you never know why a movie's going to make it or not. People didn't want to see Escape that time, but they really didn't want to see The Thing (1982)... You just wait. You've got to give me a little while. People will say, you know, what was wrong with me?"
John Carpenter and Kurt Russell had talked about making another Snake Plissken movie in 1986, and it was a difficult decision for them to make about making a sequel, and talked about it for years, and when the Los Angeles earthquake struck on January 17, 1994, they decided to do "Escape From L.A." which would be about earthquakes, floods, mudslides, drive-by shootings, and they wanted the darkness of Los Angeles to be in it.
Steve Buscemi took the part in this film to help fund his directorial debut, Trees Lounge (1996).
This is the only sequel John Carpenter ever directed. Although he co-wrote Halloween II (1981) with frequent collaborator Debra Hill, he turned down the chance to direct it, citing it as just being "more of the same." Oddly enough, when this movie was originally released, it was criticized for being too similar to it's predecessor, Escape from New York (1981).
On opening weekend, August 10, 1996, there was a region wide power outage when the western electric grid experienced a blackout affecting seven western states. Such a wide spread power outage would be similar to the capabilities of the "Sword of Damocles" electromagnetic pulse. Many theaters lost power during the movie, some soon after Snake Plisskin activates the world EMP code or some experienced city wide power outages when they exited the movie.
The film is known for having rather poorly produced CGI. This was due to the fact that the employees at the visual effects house, Buena Vista Visual Effects had never dealt with computer graphics before, and didn't really know how to achieve them properly.
(Wyatt Russell): The orphan in the cap, with whom Snake Plissken makes eye contact, while being escorted down the hallway, was played by Kurt Russell's son.
Happy Kingdom was supposed to be Disneyland, but Disney didn't give them permission.
Sometimes Kurt Russell wore a slightly transparent eye patch to avoid getting headaches.
White Zombie contributed the track "The One" written specifically for the soundtrack to Escape From L.A.. White Zombie's frontman Rob Zombie later went on to direct a remake of John Carpenter's Halloween (1978).
Kurt Russell was the only cast member from the original film to appear in the sequel.
The character of the President was Kurt Russell's idea. He based him on televangelist Pat Robertson.
Filmed on the Paramount backlot.
This Happy Kingdom set was actually the town square from Back to the Future (1985) at Universal.
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The building Plissken crashes into is the "black tower" at Universal. It's where movie executives work. John Carpenter recalled, "I've had my own fights over there, and have always wanted to take something through it."
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Kurt Russell was 45 when he made this film. He worked out for several months to get back into Plissken shape.
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Kate Hudson auditioned for the role of Utopia.
Snake's line to Malloy near the end of the movie, "Got a smoke?" is the same line that Napoleon Wilson says repeatedly in John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).
John Carpenter was able to lower Hershe's voice by an octave and a half in post-production.
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Kurt Russell contacted Goldie Hawn to play the role of Utopia originally, but she was unable to play the role, as she was hospitalized at the time, with a particularly bad case of trichomoniasis.
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President of Paramount Pictures Sherry Lansing was a fan of Escape from New York (1981), and wanted John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, and Debra Hill to make the sequel in the same vein as the original.
During the hijacking, Utopia is wearing a big pin on her suit that says "True Love Waits", according to the virginity pledge of the TLW program.
John Carpenter based many themes and ideas in the movie on Seven Samurai (1954).
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The movie was filmed almost entirely at night. In fact, the production went seventy days without a daylight shoot.
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To get into character as a transgendered woman, Pam Grier would put a sock in her pants during shooting.
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The car Eddie is cruising around in is a 1959 Cadillac Series 62, in production from 1940 to 1964.
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One whole sequence was inspired by the flying monkeys attack in The Wizard of Oz (1939).
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Neighbors started complaining about the noise while this scene was being shot on the Universal Studios lot. To compromise, John Carpenter agreed not to fire any guns after midnight.
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It took over 150 computer-generated effects to create one underwater sequence.
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The gunfire was added optically.
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The scene where Snake and Eddie are on the Queen Mary walking toward their meeting with Hershe was filmed aboard the actual Queen Mary in Long Beach, in one of the ship's gutted and abandoned boiler rooms. The meeting itself was not filmed on board; the room may have been meant to resemble the ship's Second Class swimming pool, located on E Deck aft, which was destroyed in the 1968-71 conversion.
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The filmmakers brought in two hundred crashed cars from a demolition yard, for one sequence.
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Jeff Bridges was originally considered to play Snake Plissken in Escape from New York (1981), but wasn't interested and turned it down, and it went to his good friend Kurt Russell. He later worked with John Carpenter on Starman (1984), for which he got an Oscar nomination.
When developing the sequel, John Carpenter and Kurt Russell felt Los Angeles was right for Snake Plissken to get in and out of.
Filming began on December 11, 1995.
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During the climactic battle scene, as Steve Buscemi's (RT89) character is hanging off the helicopter, several stores are visible in the matte shot behind him. One of the prominent buildings is clearly marked "Miniatures", a reference to the filmmaking technique.
Production Designer Lawrence G. Paull used 29,000 pounds of rubble, to create Sunset Boulevard.
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Kurt Russell trained with famed martial arts trainer Thomas Jeffery to prepare for the role. Russell credits his signature kick he used in the Escape movies to Jeffery.
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A scene from the film was played in open court during a murder trial in 2001. Actor/stuntman Wayne Montanio, who briefly appeared in the film, was on trial for the 1997 murder of his younger brother. An eyewitness, placing Wayne at the scene of the crime, identified him via the playback of the scene.
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Pam Grier acquired her role in the film by stuffing a giant sock in her pants and doing what she called "The brother-man walk" around the studio.
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Kurt Russell's Russell terrier Schindler supplied the growling effects, dropped an octave, for the film's climactic escape scene.
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Shirley Walker composed Batman: The Animated Series. John Carpenter ex-wife, Adrienne Barbeau provided the voice of Catwoman in that series.
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Plissken's new costume was inspired by the Stealth Bomber. Costume Designer Robin Bush said, "We actually invented a fabric."
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Features many co-star attendees of the most densely packed (UK non-Award), celebrity event "Save the Rose Theatre" campaigns, public PR day, May 1989. (See artist entries).
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Lawrence G. Paull placed piles of rubble in strategic locations, to block the Los Angeles skyline.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The Plutoxin 7 virus hoax was originally going to be part of the first movie, but was never used.
During the final escape, when Cuervo Jones fires the rocket at the helicopter, just after it's hit, you can see it narrowly avoid crashing into the Matterhorn at Disneyland which resembles the Paramount Pictures logo.
The Plutoxin 7 being revealed as flu, is a nod to John Carpenter and Kurt Russell's earlier film Big Trouble in Little China (1986), in which Kurt Russell was sick with flu, during production on the film.
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On the internet website Imagine Casting, a member of the website had made up the plot of the abandoned third film "Escape from Earth": The film would take place after Snake Plissken shut down all of the electricity on Earth, and the plot would follow Snake, as he sets out to rescue a NASA scientist from a violent gang, and stop the gang and the President of the United States from discovering the whereabouts of the NASA scientist's creation, an electromagnetic proof space vehicle and use the space vehicle to get off to Earth and go to a colony on Mars. The sequel was never made, due to the negative reception of this film, and its failure at the box-office.
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The film could've had three possible endings: In the first, the Plutoxin 7 virus was no hoax, and the virus kills Snake. A second ending would have seen the President have the real remote control UNIT, and Snake have a map to the Star Eddie's remote control unit all along. The President would then shut down Cuba and Mexico. The third ending would eliminate Snake's usage of the hologram, after switching the real remote control unit with Eddie's. Snake would ultimately be shot and killed as a result.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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