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Traffic (2000) Poster

(2000)

Trivia

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When a critic commented that it seemed unrealistic that the daughter's high school record was almost perfect when she was taking drugs, screenwriter Stephen Gaghan pointed out that the high school record in the movie was his and that he had been abusing drugs at the time.
To prepare for the scenes in which they were high, the teens had to have peppermint dust blown into their face to make their eyes and noses red.
Benicio Del Toro is one of only five actors to have won an Academy Award for a part spoken mainly in a foreign language (most of Del Toro's dialog is in Spanish). Sophia Loren, Robert De Niro, Marion Cotillard and Roberto Benigni are the other four.
Michael Douglas originally declined the role of Robert Wakefield, and it was offered to Harrison Ford, who accepted. Ford worked with director Steven Soderbergh to improve the character, but then decided not to do the movie. Douglas liked the change in the character so much, he accepted the revamped part.
After filming one day, actor James Brolin returned to his car to find two youths attempting to break in. Still in his general's uniform, he frightened away the would-be thieves, who mistook him for a real military officer.
The scene where Michael Douglas takes his trip to the California border crossing to discuss drug interdiction was actually shot at the Tijuana crossing. The video and sound quality is so low in part because it was never supposed to be part of the movie. Douglas started asking, out of character, Rudy M. Camacho about drug trafficking on the border. Camacho was, at the time, the actual Customs chief in charge of the California border crossings. Steven Soderbergh began filming it with a hand-held camera, praying that Camacho wouldn't address the actor as "Mr. Douglas".
Catherine Zeta-Jones was pregnant during filming, and the role was adjusted to suit her condition. Originally, her character was already a mother of two instead of six months pregnant.
To achieve a distinctive look for each different vignette in the story, Steven Soderbergh used three different film stocks (and post-production techniques), each with their own color treatment and grain for the print. The "Wakefield" story features a colder, bluer tone to match the sad, depressive emotion. The "Ayala" story is bright, shiny, and saturated in primary colors, especially red, to match the glitzy surface of Helena's life. The "Mexican" story appears grainy, rough, and hot to go with the rugged Mexican landscape and congested cities.
The film has 135 speaking parts and was shot in over 110 locations in eight different cities.
Every scene that takes place in Tijuana is shot with a hand-held camera.
The only two story arcs to ever come close are Catherine Zeta-Jones and Benicio Del Toro's when their characters pass each other on the street in Mexico, and when Judge Wakefield (Michael Douglas) has a meeting with General Salazar and Javier Rodriguez (Del Toro) is sitting in the room.
Director Steven Soderbergh is known as being first camera on many of his films, as a result, he was operating the camera for most of the shooting.
The scenes that take place in the White House were shot on the set of the television series The West Wing (1999), which is a near-exact replica (albeit wider, to allow for free movement of the cameras) of the actual interiors of the White House's West Wing.
Theatrical film debut for Topher Grace, who had previously been well known for his work on television.
On the first day of production of Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) - Steven Soderbergh's first film - the producers of that movie sent a telegram to Soderbergh. They teased him good-naturedly, telling him they'd heard reports he "couldn't direct traffic". Twelve years later, Soderbergh won an Oscar - for directing "Traffic".
Writer Stephen Gaghan originally planned to set the Wakefield family storylines in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. During his research, he determined that Cincinnati's bad neighborhoods looked worse than Louisville's, and would serve the finished film better, so he moved the Wakefields' stories to Ohio.
During the party scene where Bowman ODs, the teens were snorting dried milk. Corey Spears (Bowman) snorted so much that he became ill.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas were engaged before filming began; they married soon after. They do not appear in any scenes together.
Al Pacino was also asked to play Judge Wakefield but couldn't fit it into his schedule and Richard Gere was considered before Michael Douglas came on board.
During filming in Cincinnati Michael Douglas chased down a purse snatcher and held him until police officers got there to arrest him.
In the original theatrical release it was mentioned that Caroline and her friends went to a school called Cincinnati Country Day, a small prep school in Cincinnati. When CCD protested being associated with drug addiction, references to the name of the school were removed from the video version.
This is a remake of the British mini-series Traffik (1989), produced and shown by Channel Four.
When director Steven Soderbergh turned in his second and final cut for theatrical release, USA Films was concerned that the graphic drug content would earn the film an NC-17, and Soderberg was prepared to release it with that rating. Fortunately, the MPAA approved the film with an R.
In the original big screen release, Caroline (Erika Christensen) states that she attends Cincinatti Country Day. Stephen Gaghan, (screenplay), attended a private school in Louisville, KY called Kentucky Country Day and was expelled the week before his graduation for driving a go-cart down the halls of the school.
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The film's soundtrack, except for the musical score, was recorded in mono.
Senator Harry Reid is shown speaking with Michael Douglas's character at the beginning of the movie. A script was written for the senator, but he didn't like it. Instead, he had the actor ask him the question and he responded as he would normally.
Four people won Oscars for this film. Their names were Steven, Stephen, Stephen and Benicio.
The same cartoon character makes appearances in all of the sub-plots: At the fun-house where Ruiz runs and is captured at the start, on a truck driving down the inner city street where Seth and Caroline are walking on their way to get drugs, and as the doll made of cocaine that Helena shows the dealers in Tijuana.
Benicio Del Toro would later give another acclaimed performance in the 2015 film Sicario which also focuses on the Mexican drug war.
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Helena Ayala's license plate is 2GAT123. The same California license plate also appears in Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), L.A. Story (1991), Go (1999), Pay It Forward (2000), Mulholland Drive (2001), Crazy/Beautiful (2001), Two and a Half Men (2003), and S.W.A.T. (2003).
In the movie, Michael Douglas's character lived in the suburb Indian Hill, which is a real neighborhood ten miles outside of Cincinnati. The scenes were actually filmed at a house in Hyde Park, an affluent suburb within city limits.
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Benicio Del Toro became the third Puerto Rican, and the second Puerto Rican male, to win an Oscar in his part. The first was José Ferrer, father of cast member Miguel Ferrer.
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Francisco "Frankie Flowers" Flores is the only character to have a significant presence in more than one storyline. He appears in both Mexico and Ayala.
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Kevin Costner was reportedly also offered the Judge Wakefield part.
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The hotel that Eduardo Ruiz was being kept at, The Hotel San Diego, was imploded in 2006 to make way for the expansion of the Federal Courthouse in San Diego.
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On the audio commentary by composer Cliff Martinez for the Criterion Collection DVD/Blu-ray release, Martinez introduces an unused, 3 minute alternate end cue during the credits.
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The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones; and four Oscar nominees: Amy Irving, Don Cheadle, Viola Davis and Albert Finney.
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The characters from Wakefield never meet any characters from Ayala. The only central link is Mexico.
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Benicio Del Toro became the second Puerto Rican male actor to win an Academy Award. The first was José Ferrer for Cyrano de Bergerac (1950). His son, Miguel Ferrer also appears in this film.
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Michael Douglas starred in Fatal Attraction (1987). Erika Christensen, who plays his daughter in this film, later starred in Swimfan (2002), a loose remake of Fatal Attraction.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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After Out of Sight (1998), Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney became regular collaborators. This film features Clooney's cousin, Miguel Ferrer.
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Michael Douglas appeared with Miguel Ferrer's former wife Leilani Sarelle in Basic Instinct. Also, Dennis Quaid (Arnie) later starred with Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone in Cold Creek Manor.
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"my parents are these people,I live with them" is the exact same line that's also used in the movie Cube.
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For the most part the film alternates from Mexico to Wakefield to Ayala in that order, although there are occasional variations.
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Michael Douglas's wife in the film, Amy Irving, played a young girl with psychic abilities in the film Fury in which his father Kirk Douglas starred.
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Jacob Vargas (Manolo) previously appeared with Jennifer Lopez in Selena (1997). Director Steven Soderbergh directed Lopez in Out of Sight (1998).
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Director Trademark 

Steven Soderbergh: [company named "Perennial"] The company where Montel Gordon (Don Cheadle) and Ray Castro (Luis Guzmán) go to apprehend Eduardo Ruiz (Miguel Ferrer) is called Perennial Storage. Also see The Limey (1999), Out of Sight (1998) and The Underneath (1995).
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