The Game (1997) Poster



Jump to: Director Trademark (1) | Spoilers (5)
Deborah Kara Unger fractured a bone in her foot and jumped into a dumpster infested with real rats while working on this film.
David Fincher originally planned to make The Game before Se7en. But once Brad Pitt became available for the latter, Fincher shelved this film until Se7en's filming was done.
Jodie Foster was originally signed to play Michael Douglas's sibling in the film. However, Foster changed her mind and wanted to appear as Douglas's daughter instead. Douglas and director David Fincher were very opposed to this change so the part went to Sean Penn instead. Foster promptly sued PolyGram to the tune of $54.5 million - even though her Egg Pictures was one of the film's production companies. The matter was fortunately settled out of court. Douglas - who is a personal friend of Foster - said that it didn't seem right for him to play Foster's father, given that there is only 18 years age difference between the two. Ironically, Douglas HAS already played Foster's father - he did so in the Disney film Napoleon and Samantha (1972) at the start of both of their careers.
Nicholas's "San Francisco" home was actually the historic Filoli Mansion, 25 miles south of San Francisco in Woodside, California. The plain gravel forecourt of the mansion was made to look more like a wrap-around driveway by the addition of the fountain, which was constructed of lightweight foam. The interior shots of the kitchen were made in the original time-worn kitchen, which is displayed on tours but no longer used. The kitchen's state of repair is not good, which partially accounts for the very dim lighting used in the kitchen scenes. The scenes in which the walls were defaced with graffiti was done by tacking up lightweight graffiti-painted foamcore boards over the wood paneling. All of the scenes at the mansion were completed in one day.
Among the tests that Nicholas is asked to take when he interviews at CRS is the MMPI. This is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory which is one of the most commonly used personality tests in mental health. The test is used by trained professionals to assist in identifying personality structure and psychopathology.
David Fincher claimed in an interview, in UK film magazine Empire, that there is a can of haggis in every scene of the movie. This was done as a joke, because "Haggis" is the nickname of cinematographer Harris Savides.
In searching for a perfect engine sound for Nicholas' 7 series BMW, one member of the sound editing team located in Sausalito, CA actually borrowed his high school friend's Dinan modified BMW 540 for half day.
Conrad's use of the pseudonym Seymour Butts and Nicholas' response of, "'Under the Bleachers' by Seymour Butts", is a reference to the joke series "A Book Never Written" featured in Boys' Life (the official magazine of the Boy Scouts of America).
Jeff Bridges was offered the role of Conrad Van Orton after Jodie Foster dropped out of the part and it was rewritten as a male character.
"The Game" is essentially a modern retelling of Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol". Both tell the story of a rich lonely man who on a holiday (birthday or Christmas) view scenes representing the past present and future leading to him reevaluating his life and changing for the better.
Jonathan Mostow was originally set to direct the film in 1993 with Kyle MacLachlan as Nicholas Van Orton and Bridget Fonda as Christine.
Nicholas Van Orton celebrates his 48th birthday in the film, however on the film's US release (12 September 1997), Michael Douglas was actually only 13 days from his 53rd birthday - (born 25 September 1944).
The hands which appear under the door in the bathroom were the hands of DP Harris Savides.
One of the CRS paramedic actors in the movie was a real paramedic in San Francisco. He got called in last minute to shoot a scene just as his 12-hour shift on the actual ambulance ended, so he showed up wearing his work uniform. The wardrobe department gave him the CRS Paramedic uniform and he changed into it, leaving his work uniform on the bed.

After filming, he returned to his assigned room and found that his personal uniform was missing. Apparently, the wardrobe department thought it was one of theirs and took it for cleaning. He had to wait for nearly an hour while they located and returned his uniform so he could change back into it and go home.
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Andrew Kevin Walker was one of the uncredited writers.
When Mr. van Orton went to Christine's house there was a cable repair service van outside, which initials are "CRS"
Tommy Flanagan and Mark Boone later worked together in the hit show Sons of Anarchy.
When Nicholas Van Orton enters his suite at the Hotel Nikko, adult film star Tony Tedeschi is briefly visible on television.
Michael Douglas produced Face/off that very same year starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. Tommy Flanagan in this film also appeared in that film as well. Sean Penn worked with Travolta and Cage before.
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The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Sean Penn, Michael Douglas and Spike Jonze; and two Oscar nominees: Armin Mueller-Stahl and Carroll Baker.
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Both Michael Douglas and Sean Penn worked with Oliver Stone before they worked with each other.
Reunites Peter Donat and Michael Douglas after their appearances in The China Syndrome (1979) and The War of the Roses (1989).
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In the first restaurant scene where Nicholas meets Conrad, the waitress who spills the iced tea is in fact Christine (Deborah Unger) who becomes an integral part of "The Game" and her connection with Nicholas. The spilling of the tea is a hint to the upcoming chaos involving these characters.
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Two actors from this film, Armin Mueller-Stahl and James Rebhorn, were involved with some adaptation of Reginald Rose's play "12 Angry Men". In fact, both played the exact same character, the Juror #4: Mueller-Stahl in 12 Angry Men (1997) while Rebhorn was part of the 2004 Broadway revival.
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Director Trademark 

David Fincher: [Actors walking into focus]


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The Criterion laserdisc and the SE DVD feature an alternate ending where Nicholas Van Orton comes out of the hotel, declines a taxi and just walks away.
The scene in which Nicholas wakes up in a crypt in Mexico is an homage to the film Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), in which protagonist Bennie is buried alive in a Mexican cemetery and must claw his way out of a shallow grave. Nicholas' kidnappers even re-dress him in the same suit that Bennie wears through the duration of that film.
Spike Jonze: the paramedic who shines a light in Van Orton's eyes after his fall.
In the final climactic scene, one of the paramedics is played by Spike Jonze, a fellow director of music videos prior to embarking on a feature film career. In the Spike Jonze-directed Being John Malkovich (1999), David Fincher has a cameo in the documentary section.
Michael Massee: One of the paramedics helping Nicholas after his fall.

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