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Sleepy Hollow (1999) Poster

(1999)

Trivia

Jump to: Director Trademark (3) | Spoilers (11)
Star Johnny Depp adopted Goldeneye, the horse that played Gunpowder, Ichabod Crane's horse in the film, when he heard it was going to be put down.
Johnny Depp did all of his own stunts for the final scene where he is dragged by the horse - he had bullet-proof clothing underneath his wardrobe.
Historically, Ichabod Crane was a very unattractive man. Johnny Depp wanted to add prosthetics to his face to make himself look ugly, but Tim Burton wanted to base the character on Crane's more unattractive personality traits - his reported squeamishness and eccentricity.
The cast and crew often said "The feeling one had walking around Sleepy Hollow's sets, and in particular the town at Lime Tree, was almost as if you were walking around the inside of Tim Burton's head."
Director Tim Burton included scenes in homage to Disney's animated version of the Sleepy Hollow tale (featured in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)). These include the scene in which Ichabod Crane crosses the covered bridge and hears the frogs underneath croaking "Ichabod" and "Headless Horseman," the following chase sequence where Ichabod is run down and unhorsed, apparently by the Horseman, and the moment in the climactic chase scene in which Ichabod runs into a tree limb, and, thrown through the air, ends up landing on the Horseman's horse backwards.
Christopher Walken's character speaks no words throughout the film. He makes a few wordless shouted commands to his horse and shhhh admonishments to witnesses.
Tim Burton and the crew of the movie built the small town Sleepy Hollow complete with rooms, floors, and stairs. The town was dismantled after filming was completed.
Washington Irving claimed that Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel were real people.
Although the headless horsemen in the book is physically not allowed to cross the bridge, as it is known as a safe haven for the characters, in this version he can cross it freely.
At the start of filming the three-way axe battle with Ray Park, Johnny Depp, and Casper Van Dien, Van Dien broke the index finger of his left hand. Although it was extremely painful, he carried on without telling anyone as he didn't want his part cut short.
Casper Van Dien in real life has relatives named Van Tassel, the name of a prominent family in the Sleepy Hollow story.
In the novel, the Headless Horseman was a Hessian who lost his head due to a cannon blast in an unknown battle of the American Revolutionary War.
This is the first adaption of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" that doesn't involve the actor playing the headless horseman having to conceal his head in the cloak, thanks to advancement technology. The head of the actor was covered with a blue mask that was deleted by means of computer graphics. The collar was also created with CGI to match the flow of the robe.
The film was almost entirely shot with a blue filter so for the blood to appear red the liquid used had to be bright orange.
A mechanical horse, an updated model of one used in earlier films, was used for studio shots. The mechanical horse was originally developed for riding scenes with Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet (1944).
Michael Gough came out of retirement to play Notary Hardenbrook.
The Western Wood was built on a sound stage, so everything, including the weather and light, could be controlled.
The final chase sequence on the coach in the Western Wood took three weeks to film.
Tim Burton says the movie was inspired by the Gothic horror films of Mario Bava and Hammer Productions. Burton brought a Hammer veteran Michael Gough out of retirement for a small role, and recruited Christopher Lee, a veteran of both Hammer and Bava's pictures, for a cameo.
The Windmill was too large to be constructed on a sound stage because it was over five stories high. The sails alone weighed over 2 tons.
This and Bringing Out the Dead (1999) were the last movies to be released on the LaserDisc format.
Tim Burton says he envisioned Johnny Depp's Ichabod Crane as the sort of character Peter Cushing and Vincent Price used to regularly play in, respectively, Hammer horror films and the adaptations Roger Corman of Edgar Allan Poe's work.
The town Sleepy Hollow was created from the ground up in three months. At the time of filming, it was the largest set built in England and was put up in record time. The last set that held this record was built for Billy Elliot (2000).
This film features three actors who played Sith Lords in the Star Wars prequels: Ray Park (Darth Maul), Christopher Lee (Darth Tyrannus), and Ian McDiarmid (Darth Sidious). Park's face is never seen, as he is one of the stunt doubles for the Headless Hessian. The Hessian's other stunt double, Rob Inch, doubled for Jedi Knights in Star Wars and fought a duel against Park in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).
Christopher Walken, who plays the Headless Horseman, played a schoolteacher in The Dead Zone (1983), in the beginning of which he tells his class to read "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
Ichabod Crane faints a total of five times during the movie. He is induced into unconsciousness by Katrina's medicine after his violent meeting with the Horseman. Katrina, by comparison, faints only twice.
Winona Ryder was offered the role of Katrina Van Tassel, but turned it down.
Johnny Depp initially found the idea of Christina Ricci being his love interest in the film to be rather odd, seeing as he's known her since she was nine years old.
The Horseman's horse is named Daredevil, the same name of Brom Bones' (Brom Van Brunt's) horse in Washington Irving's original short story; the horse was purchased in Seville, Spain.
The last live-action film of Michael Gough.
Brom Bones' prank attack on Ichabod follows the actual attack in the book faithfully.
The idea of Headless Horsemen actually dates back to the Middle Ages in Europe, largely in Celtic and German folklore. While Washington Irving's horseman can be considered the most famous, most areas of the United States during the time of the story's publishing had their own stories of headless horsemen. Irving's is said to be inspired by the headless body of a Hessian Jägers (renowned sharpshooters and horsemen) who was found in Sleepy Hollow. The real Van Tassels buried him in Old Dutch Burying Ground in an unmarked grave.
While Tim Burton admired Andrew Kevin Walker's original script, he hired the famed playwright and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Tom Stoppard as script doctor. Stoppard did an uncredited re-write to tone down the violence of Walker's script.
The production notes on the DVD reveal that Johnny Depp based his characterization on the late Roddy McDowall (Fright Night (1985)), Angela Lansbury (The Mirror Crack'd (1980)) and Basil Rathbone (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) and others).
Casper Van Dien gained 30 pounds for his role of Brom.
Reunites Johnny Depp with Christopher Walken after Nick of Time (1995).
While commonly known as Brom Bones, his full name is Abraham Van Brunt.
Liam Neeson, Brad Pitt and Daniel Day-Lewis were all considered for the role of Ichabod Crane.
Marlon Brando was sought as The Hessian Horseman.
The gown of patterned gray muslin worn by Jessica Oyelowo (Sarah) is the same costume worn by Billie Piper (Fanny Price) during the play rehearsal scene in Mansfield Park (2007), and by Thandie Newton (Sally Hemings) in Jefferson in Paris (1995). Sally's gown is made from the fabric selected by Thomas Jefferson and Mrs. Cosway.
Christopher Lee receives prominent billing in the opening credits. However, his only scene occurs before the opening credits.
There are three people that are also in the Harry Potter movies: Miranda Richardson who played Rita Skeeter, Michael Gambon who played Albus Dumbledore, and Richard Griffiths who played Uncle Vernon
This was originally to be a Kevin Yagher directorial project. Tim Burton later took over the project, with Yagher remaining on with co-producing credits among others.
Ichabod Crane is a schoolteacher in the novel, not a policeman.
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According to Tim Burton, the opening shots of Peter Van Garrett were shot by Conrad L. Hall, who was a friend of the film's director of photography, Emmanuel Lubezki.
Johnny Depp and Sir Christopher Lee both stared in Tim Burton's version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005 as Willy Wonka and Mr. Wonka respectively.
Johnny Depp's third collaboration with Tim Burton.
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Johnny Depp described the character of Ichabod Crane as "being so tight, he couldn't fit a pin up his ass".
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In the original story, a cannonball took the Hessian's head.
The horse that Ichabod Crane rides provided a lot of amusement for the cast and crew because it was extremely flatulent.
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The object used by Ichabod to show Katrina the power of optical illusions is a thaumatrope. Thaumatropes are two pictures draw in the two faces of a circle of paper or carton (look-a-like the two sides of a coin). When this one is twisted up and down quickly, the pictures pretend becoming one.
Although Tim Burton claims the windmill scene was a reference to Frankenstein (1931), which he lovingly quoted in Frankenweenie (1984), a stronger link can be made to Will Hay's Oh, Mr. Porter! (1937) which also featured a windmill but not a headless horseman.
Johnny Depp's second film with Christina Ricci - she had previously had a small part in Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998).
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Producer Edward Small had tried to set up a version in 1939.
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Director Trademark 

Tim Burton: [distorted female face] the Crone's Medusa-like appearance.
Tim Burton: [credits] The credits "follow" objects in most Burton movie openings. In this case it's the old man's written will, and then Crane's coach.
Tim Burton: [scarecrows]
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

It was only after being cast as the Headless Horseman that Christopher Walken admitted to Tim Burton that he actually did not know how to ride a horse.
The scarecrow when Peter Van Garrett gets his head cut off by the headless horseman is the opening pumpkin/scarecrow from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
In Washington Irving's original story, Ichabod Crane was a school teacher who came to Sleepy Hollow and ran afoul of its resident ghoul, the Headless Horseman. Ichabod was also a teacher in Andrew Kevin Walker's original screenplay for the film, but director Tim Burton brought in Tom Stoppard to re-write and re-structure the screenplay. Burton is a major fan of Mario Bava's Gothic horror films, and, as an homage to Bava's Kill Baby, Kill (1966), Burton adopted the basic plot of Bava picture: a skeptical investigator who places his faith in science and reason treks to an out-of-the-way hamlet plagued by a murderous ghost, only to have his skepticism of the supernatural forcibly broken down by the experience. The film includes numerous visual references to Bava's films, including a scene in which Ichabod dreams of seeing his mother's spike-pierced face after his father killed her - an image drawn from Bava's Black Sunday (1960), a film Burton was once slated to remake.
There are 18 decapitations in this film.
Michael Gambon wanted to keep his severed head and send it via proxy to interviews and dinner parties as a joke.
The dress worn by Katrina Anne Van Tassel (Christina Ricci) in the last shot of the movie has the same pattern as Michael Keaton's outfit in the climactic scene of Beetlejuice (1988) also directed by Tim Burton.
Crane's final line in the film "the Bronx is up, but the battery's down" is in reference to the song "New York, New York"
Christopher Walken often talked about Sleepy Hollow as his first movie with a kissing scene. This is incorrect as he already had some in The Deer Hunter (1978), The Dead Zone (1983), and A View to a Kill (1985).
In The 39 Steps (1935), the professor shoots Hannay in the chest, and it appears that he is dead. However, the bullet was stopped by a hymnbook in the breast pocket of the coat he was wearing. In "Sleepy Hollow", Ichabod is shot and saved in a similar manner; this time the bullet lodges in a book of magic spells.
Tim Burton's second rated R movie.
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Miranda Richardson (Lady Van Tassel) previously played Queen Elizabeth I in Black-Adder II (1986) and the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland (1999), both characters notorious for threats of beheading.

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