Cast Away (2000) Poster



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To make himself look like an average out of shape middle aged man Tom Hanks didn't exercise and allowed himself to grow pudgy. Production was then halted for a year so he could lose fifty pounds and grow out his hair for his time spent on the deserted island. During this hiatus, Robert Zemeckis used the same crew to film What Lies Beneath (2000).
Actual lines of dialogue were written for Wilson the Volleyball, to help Hanks have a more natural interaction with the inanimate object.
To see the island that Cast Away was filmed on, put -17.609277,177.0397 into Google Maps and zoom in all the way on satellite mode. The beach that Tom Hanks writes HELP on and sees from the peak is the eastern most part of Monuriki, Fiji.
One of the three volleyballs used in the film was sold in an auction for $18,400.
Some crew members were left on the island for a few days to survive and learn some skills. They used some of their survival techniques in the movie for the character of Chuck. They were: having trouble lighting a fire, opening a coconut, talking to a volleyball, collecting packages washed up on the beach, and catching fish.
Contrary to popular belief, FedEx did not pay the filmmakers anything for their presence in the movie. The director has made this clear in a number of interviews. While FedEx was very concerned when they heard about the project, they had no objections to the finished script and offered support during filming, with the company later stating that the movie was very good for FedEx business in general and in overseas markets in particular.
Most of the nighttime scenes on the island (except the creation of fire scene) were shot during the daytime. The darkness and night sky effects were added in post-production.
Virtually all the sound, including dialog, in the scenes on the island - about an hour and a half of screen time - had to be replaced in post-production. Sound man William B. Kaplan made a valiant attempt at getting usable sound on the island, but the nearby surf made it impossible, given that many of the scenes needed to be very quiet.
An early draft of the script had Chuck having two different personalities talking to each other, Good Chuck and Bad Chuck.
During a Q&A session at USC, Robert Zemeckis was asked what was in the unopened package. He replied that it was a waterproof, solar-powered satellite phone. To hear him say it for yourself on the DVD, do this: Start at the Special Features Main Menu and enter the Video & Stills Galleries. When you see "Raft Escape" press left on your remote to highlight the "World Of Time" logo. "World On Time" is the slogan that was on the FedEx box Chuck delivered to the house at the end of the movie.
If you simply take the initial from Chuck's name and add it to his surname it reads 'C. Noland' or "see no land".
Fred Smith, founder and owner of FedEx, makes a cameo appearance in the film.
In the film, Chuck draws a picture of Kelly (Helen Hunt) on the wall of the cave. In the movie As Good as It Gets (1997), Simon Bishop tells Carol Connelly (also played by Hunt) 'you're the reason cavemen chiseled on walls'.
In the beginning of the film a FedEx truck delivering a package to the ranch house drives under a gateway arch that has the names "Dick" on the left and "Bettina" on the right incorporated into the arch. At the end of the film when Chuck goes out to return the package to occupant of the ranch house, the portion of the arch containing the name "Dick" has been ripped out-presumable due to the divorce action being initiated during the beginning of the film.
In the scene where Noland squats on the ground, contemplating an item that has washed up on shore, the shot is composed as an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), reportedly Tom Hanks' favorite film.
The production employed several local Fiji islanders in the surrounding archipelago, including the neighboring Mana Island about a mile away. The locals were allowed to keep some of the supplies and tools as tokens of their help.
Early in the movie Kelly gives Chuck a pocket watch for Christmas. She explains her grandfather used the watch on the Southern Pacific (Railroad). This is a foreshadow to Chuck's later dilemma where he is stranded in the South Pacific.
The scene in which Noland is talking with Stan by the fireplace of Stan's home is shot in 1 long take, with the camera rotating slowly around Noland (Hanks). The shot lasts 3 minutes and 46 seconds.
Some of the 'desert island' footage was shot on the mainland with a highway in the background that had to be removed.
The song Chuck sings after successfully creating the fire is "Light My Fire" by The Doors.
In the beginning of the movie, as the camera tilts down his fireplace,you can see the book "Sailing Alone Around the World" by Joshua Slocum.
The paper that Chuck writes his note to Bettina Peterson is stationery from "Arrington Ranch" (a cattle ranch resort) that is the actual house where Chuck leaves the letter.
Almost fifteen years after the film's release, Tom Hanks jokingly "reunited" with Wilson the volleyball at a New York Rangers hockey game.
When Bettina (Lari White) explains where each road leads at the intersection, she points toward the direction of her ranch and says "you'll find a whole lot of nothing all the way to Canada". Arlington Ranch, where they filmed the ranch scenes, is located in Canadian, TX.
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The intersection Chuck is standing in at the end of the film is Farm-to-Market Road 1268 and Farm-to-Market Road 48 in Mobeetie, Texas.
When Chuck is aboard the doomed Fed-Ex flight, he has his shoes off and loses them in the crash. Much later in the movie when Chuck is on a plane returning to his homeland he is shown wearing shoes, one of the first signs of his lifestyle transformation.
Several scenes are in reference to the The Prisoner (1967) episode "Many Happy Returns," in which Number Six, after building a makeshift raft to take him from the Village, washes ashore.
"Wilson" is obviously a reference to the manufacturer of the ball used in the movie. But other Wilsons have played an important role in Tom Hanks life and career. Hanks' wife is actress Rita Wilson. And in Hanks' first TV role, he played the part of Kip Wilson in Bosom Buddies (1980).
As Chuck's "welcome home party" is ending a coworker states that he has to "brief Chuck about his upcoming meetings". The actor that plays this coworker is Geoffrey Blake, the same actor that plays Jenny's boyfriend at the "Black Panther party" in 'Forrest Gump'.
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As Chuck attempts to paddle off the island the first time he is wearing his underwear on his head you can clearly see he is wearing "Calvin Klein's". Robert Zemeckis also directed "Back to the Future" where Marty McFly also wears "Calvin's".
The license plate on Chuck's car reads: KAZ 2AY.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

A FedEx commercial during the 2003 Super Bowl telecast featured the final scene of the film where Chuck returns the package to its sender. In this version the woman answers the door; when Chuck asks what was in the box, the woman replies, "Just a satellite phone, GPS locator, fishing rod, water purifier, and some seeds. Just silly stuff."
Alan Silvestri wrote 24 minutes of score (including over seven minutes for the final credits) for a 143-minute film. Aside from the Russian chorus and the Elvis song from the beginning, there is not one single note of written musical score in the film until Noland leaves the island (1 hour and 43 minutes into the movie). Only then does the musical score come in: an oboe, piano and strings are all that Silvestri uses. Every musical cue is a variation on the same melody, which is heard in full at the end.
At the end of the film, when Chuck Noland is delivering the unopened package to the artist who sent it, the song playing in his car is Elvis' "Return to Sender".
On the plane ride home, Chuck is offered a cup of ice, and Dr. Pepper. An obvious reference and nod to the previous Zemeckis/Hanks project Forrest Gump (1994).
The moment before Chuck removes his tooth in the cave, he tells Wilson his dentist in Memphis is called "Dr. James Spalding". In the German version anyway, the German voice of Noland says "Dr. James Volley", maybe because only a few in Germany are familiar with the American label "Spalding". In the Hungarian version the dentist is called "Dr. James Speedo".
The film's theatrical trailer controversially revealed Chuck's escape from the island and his reunion with Kelly. Robert Zemeckis's previous film What Lies Beneath (2000) was similarly criticized for revealing plot twists in the trailer. Zemeckis responded by saying "We know from studying the marketing of movies, people really want to know exactly every thing that they are going to see before they go see the movie. It's just one of those things. To me, being a movie lover and film student and a film scholar and a director, I don't. What I relate it to is McDonald's. The reason McDonald's is a tremendous success is that you don't have any surprises. You know exactly what it is going to taste like. Everybody knows the menu."
Near the end of the movie, Kelly explains to Chuck that during his absence, the NFL team Houston Oilers became the Tennessee Titans and narrowly lost the Superbowl by 1 yard. This is in reference to Superbowl XXXIV (played on January 30, 2000 in Atlanta) where the Titans played the St. Louis Rams and lost 23-16. The final play of the game involved Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson receiving a pass from Titans quarterback Steve McNair but then being tackled 1 yard short of the end-zone by Rams linebacker Mike D. Jones. Tennessee could have potentially tied the game (with an extra point) or won it (on a 2-point conversion). This play has now been widely known as "The Tackle" and remains both the closest regulation end to a Super Bowl and (as of 2012) the last time the Tennessee Titans played in one.

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