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Meet the Parents (2000) Poster

Trivia

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The MPAA would not allow the name "Focker" unless the filmmakers could find an actual person with that surname.
Robert De Niro wanted "Mr. Jinx" to appear in more scenes than he was supposed to because De Niro liked the cat so much. Apparently, De Niro would also play with the cat between filming scenes.
The role of Pam Byrnes was initially given to Naomi Watts. She ultimately lost the role to Teri Polo because the filmmakers did not think she was "sexy" enough.
At one time, Jim Carrey was slated to star as the lead and even contributed jokes to the screenplay, such as the main character being named "Focker."
Christopher Walken was the second choice to play Jack Byrnes.
This is the only film in the series in which Pam's sister, Deborah Byrnes, appears onscreen, though she is frequently mentioned in all of the films. Nicole DeHuff, the actress who played her, died in 2005.
Jack's Thai is extremely poor and he is constantly repeating the word "what," making it seem like it is a longer conversation than it is. Thais applauded Robert De Niro's effort, however.
According to the DVD commentary, the car chase scene was originally meant to be a spoof of Ronin (1998). When the filmmakers got to the location, they saw how quickly the lights changed, realized it would be a funnier joke, and rewrote the scene (the lights really did change from green to red as fast as they are shown in the movie).
Greg's MCAT scores are (out of 15): 14 Verbal reasoning, 13 Physical Sciences, 15 Biological Sciences, and an R on the Writing Sample (very high).
According to Teri Polo, in the scene where she and Ben Stiller are making out on her bed and he fondles her breast, she stuffed cookies into her bra as a gag.
Anthony Hopkins was considered for the role of Jack Byrnes.
When Jack first questions Greg about the circle of trust, he says that nineteen months in a Vietnamese prison made him a patient man. This is a reference to The Deer Hunter (1978), where Robert De Niro's character spends time in a Vietnamese POW (prisoner of war) prison.
The home video footage of Teri Polo during the opening credits was filmed by her ex-husband Anthony Moore.
Pam calls Gaylord's parents in Detroit, Michigan. However, in the sequel, they live in Florida. When the Byrnes first arrive to the Fockers' home in the sequel, Greg's dad states that they moved from Detroit.
Writer Jerry Stahl, whom Ben Stiller portrayed in Permanent Midnight (1998), co-wrote the "cat milking" scene in this movie.
Julia Stiles auditioned for the part of Pam, but dropped out due to filming 10 Things I Hate About You (1999).
John Hamburg, Ben Stiller's preferred screenwriter, did an uncredited rewrite during production.
Mr. Jinx is a Himalayan cat, a difficult breed to train. The trainers begged Jay Roach to choose another kind of cat, but he really liked the Himalayan's look.
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Ben Stiller hated his clothes in the film. Director Jay Roach said it was all part of the plan to keep Stiller as uncomfortable as Greg.
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Jack's knowledge of the NATO standard phonetic alphabet (Foxtrot, Oscar, Charlie, Kilo, Echo, Romeo, aka Focker) is all accurate.
When Greg says grace at the dinner table. It is actually the song "Day By Day", from the award winning musical Godspell.
Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor did an uncredited last script draft before shooting.
Ben Stiller flew out to Los Angeles to propose to Christine Taylor while shooting the film. She thought he was still in New York, and he surprised her at home with a path of candles and rose petals.
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The film inspired a cat toilet-training product called "Litter Kwitter," which sold over 750,000 units.
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Owen Wilson brought a lot of his own ideas to the film and improvised many of his lines.
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Westchester County Regional Airport in New York state was used to portray Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and New York City's LaGuardia Airport.
The scenes at the "Surf and Turf" restaurant were filmed at a Port Washington, NY restaurant called "Louie's." The car racing scenes between Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro were also filmed in downtown Port Washington. Also, the scene where Stiller and De Niro go shopping is in Port Washington at Salem Drugs.
Robert De Niro took this role as part of his new focus on comedy. He had previously just done Analyze This (1999).
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Director Jay Roach wanted the whole movie to feel like an "anxiety dream" for Greg.
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It was Ben Stiller's idea to make Greg a male nurse.
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Most of the movie was filmed without deciding how to say "Focker," so they had to go back and re-record it.
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Since cats are very temperamental, the filmmakers always had a back-up cat on set in case one would not cooperate.
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The costume designer put Jack in soft sweaters to contrast the tough guy-type Robert De Niro usually plays.
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The idea to use a lie detector test came from Robert De Niro while he was researching a role. He read up on polygraphs and presented his findings to director Jay Roach at a pre-shoot dinner. "At that point, there was no lie detector scene in the script," Roach told Entertainment Weekly. "But after hearing all this, I thought, 'Oh, this has to be in our movie.' Now it's become the central image of all the ads, the trailers, everything." Jack Byrnes being ex-CIA was always part of his characters since the beginning, however.
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Christina Ricci was considered for the role of Pam Byrnes.
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Greg tells the stewardess on the plane to "shut your pie hole;" Robert De Niro said the same thing several times in This Boy's Life (1993).
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Included among the "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," edited by Steven Schneider.
Steven Soderbergh was originally attached to direct.
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On July 18, 2005, a regularly scheduled American Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico was diverted back to Fort Lauderdale forty minutes into the flight, after a flight attendant found a crumpled napkin that read "Bomb, bomb, bomb...meet the parents." The airplane was met by a bomb squad of the local sheriff's office as well as the FBI, whose agents questioned the plane's 176 passengers about the note.
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Writer Jim Herzfeld's influence for Greg was Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967). Herzfeld used Benjamin to write a main character who was completely misunderstood.
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Greg's airplane rant was cut from the version shown on planes.
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Director Jay Roach was terrified to direct Meet the Parents (2000) and was nervous about attempting to sell the project to both Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. Stiller thought Roach was only pretending to be nervous. Roach swears he was not. "I don't think it was strategy," Roach told Entertainment Weekly. "I wanted them to know I was terrified. I'm really bad at faking."
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When Ben Stiller came on board, the script was retooled. Originally, it had been written for Jim Carrey so it contained more physical, knockabout comedy. Stiller's style is less physical so this element in the script was rewritten.
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The Victor Talbot's tuxedo store in the film is located in Greenvale, New York.
Teri Polo was cast for her sarcastic edge.
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The crew trained the cat in the movie to climb the side of the house, by calling it with a buzzer to get a treat.
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Meet the Parents (2000) is actually a remake of a 1992 Independent film of the same name. The 75 minute short film starred Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke, who also wrote the script. Glienna also directed on the film on a budget of about $100,000. Unable to find a distributor for their film, the filmmakers eventually sold the rights to Universal Studios.
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At one point in the film's development, Steven Spielberg was set to direct.
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The of original opening of Meet the Parents (2000) was too expensive to film. It featured Greg proposing to Pam during a Cubs game at Wrigley Field-and failing spectacularly. To save money (the film had a $55 million budget), they had Greg's failed proposal take place outside of a school instead.
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Look closely and you'll see that the car chase scene is largely comprised of close-ups of Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. The actors shot their scenes on separate nights.
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Ever the Method actor, Robert De Niro chose to keep his distance from Ben Stiller during the shoot to help him maintain an aloofness between the two men.
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Director Jay Roach tried to keep Ben Stiller off-balance by not letting him know if Robert De Niro liked his work.
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Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor did an uncredited rewrite of the screenplay. The poem that Robert De Niro reads about his deceased mother was one of their contributions as was the climactic airport sequence.
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Robert De Niro originally wanted to train the cat himself but then realized that would take up to about 6 months of his life. Instead, he would carry kibble in all his pockets which helped him enjoy a very co-operative relationship with the animal.
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The cat, "Mr. Jinx," was played by a cat named Mishka.
Director Jay Roach said that they were not making a comedy, they were making "a broken love story."
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In the first dinner scene when Jack asks Greg to say grace and Pam tells him that Greg is Jewish, Greg says, "It's not like I'm a rabbi." In that same year, Ben Stiller played a rabbi in the film Keping the Faith (2000).
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James Rebhorn and Tom McCarthy both also appeared in two espionage thrillers of 2009 that starred Clive Owen. Rebhorn was in The International (2009) and McCarthy was in Duplicity (2009).
The burglary alarm system at Jack's house is of a Magnum Alert MA1000e type.
Production designers built the full interior of the house inside a giant armory in Brooklyn, New York. They wanted a "tasteful, Republican" feel, so the colors are red, white, and blue.
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Earned back its initial budget of $55 million in just 11 days.
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Remained in the US top 10 box office for 11 weeks.
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The 7th highest grossing film of 2000.
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Although set in Chicago, none of the film was actually shot there.
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Blythe Danner said her character was inspired by the famous comedienne Gracie Allen.
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Cameo 

Spencer Breslin: one of Pam's students.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

When Greg is having his outburst on the plane, a man in the background to the left can be seen trying not to laugh.
In an early scene, Greg (Ben Stiller) and Jack (Robert De Niro) share differing opinions about the theme of the song "Puff the Magic Dragon." In the film's concluding scene, when Jack is watching Greg on his surveillance tapes, "Puff the Magic Dragon" is playing softly in the background.
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