Summer of Sam (1999) Poster



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The scene in which Vinny and Dionna argue in the cemetery was improvised. Spike Lee told Leguizamo to spit in Mira Sorvino's face without her knowledge.
Spike Lee was facing a lot of negative feedback from the family members of the victims who didn't want a film being made which might glorify the killer in some sorts. As a result, the script had to be changed which focused more on the community than the killer himself. "Son of Sam" was rumored to be the original working title.
According to Mira Sorvino, she hated filming the club orgy scene and considered it "demoralizing".
In the script, Richie was the lead character and Vinny was a secondary character. But Spike Lee enjoyed John Leguizamo's improvising so much that he ended up giving him more screen time. The scene where Vinny pours coffee on Gloria was one of many improvisations by Leguizamo.
The "I am the monster" letters read in the film are word-for-word recreations of those that the real Son of Sam wrote to Jimmy Breslin.
During shooting of the film, unhappy community members left racist and anti-Spike Lee messages near or around the production equipment.
The wall at the beach club which Vinny and the guys hang out at has an Italian flag painted on it. This flag was painted there by the filmmakers before shooting and remains there to this day. The community is actually more Irish/German than Italian.
Two minutes of film were cut, mostly from the club orgy scene, to get an R rating instead of an NC-17.
Danny Aiello was originally supposed to play the role of Eddie.
Michael Imperioli was originally meant to play Richie, but he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with The Sopranos (1999). He appears only briefly in the film as "Midnight".
Leonardo DiCaprio and Benicio Del Toro were originally considered for the lead roles.
The word "fuck" is said 326 times in this 142-minute film, an average of 2.29 times per minute.
In the beginning of the movie, Vinny and the gang go to a disco called Virgo. There is actually no nightclub there, but the outside was painted to make it look so. The Virgo sign remains painted on the same building to this day.
Sarah Michelle Gellar was originally cast as Ruby.
Idina Menzel was cast as Richie's girlfriend. Her scenes were cut before final release.
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When Joey and Brian go to CBGB to search for Richie, there is a band playing called "L.E.S Stitches". They are an actual punk band started in the early 90's in NYC.
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Director Cameo 

Spike Lee: a news reporter.


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Adrien Brody's nose was broken during the final, climatic fight scene in which his character Richie is brutally beaten by his friends.

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