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The Pledge (2001) Poster

(I) (2001)

Trivia

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The picture was a passion project for writer/director Sean Penn and actor Jack Nicholson. Unfortunately, the screenplay was turned down by every major studio in Hollywood. Producer Elie Samaha, and his studio Franchise Pictures, who specialized in picking up screenplays in turnaround, quickly pounced on the material and signed up Penn and Nicholson for a reduced fee. The pair agreed as long as Penn could have complete creative and casting control.
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Jack Nicholson's secretary in the movie, Jean, is played by director Sean Penn's mother, actress Eileen Ryan.
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The use of oranges and orange juice is the same as in the The Godfather (1972)-trilogy.
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This is an adaptation of a Friedrich Dürrenmatt novel that was based on a story he wrote for the 1958 German movie It Happened in Broad Daylight (1958) (which had a slightly different, not as dark ending). In that movie the murderer was played by Gert Fröbe who would six years later play Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond movie Goldfinger (1964).
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The photograph of Jack Nicholson's character as a younger man is the same one used in the Shining.
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Although the film is set in Reno, Nevada, none of the other place names in the film (such as Becker and Monash Counties) exist in Nevada.
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The child murders depicted in the film were loosely based on actual cases that had been worked by Det. Joe Depczynski, the film's technical advisor. However, the cases were not thought to be the work of a single killer, as the film depicted, nor did the real detective come to the same end that Det. Jerry Black did.
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The film is dedicated to Michael D. Haller and Jack Nitzsche, "our brothers in arms". Haller and Nitzsche were respectively the production designer and the composer of Sean Penn's first two films : The Indian Runner (1991) and The Crossing Guard (1995). Both passed away, Haller in 1998, Nitzsche in 2000.
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The name of the boat Jack Nicholson's character fishes from is called "Sweet Lorraine". Lorraine is the name of both Nicholson's sister and his daughter (with Rebecca Brousard).
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Was originally slated to film in Minnesota, but lost out to Canada for budget reasons.
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The recording of the gospel preacher yelling "Holy Ghost power!" on Duane's car radio is from one of the Tag Team Preacher scenes in The Apostle (1997).
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

According to Tom Noonan, additional scenes were supposed to be filmed that explain that Jackson was not the killer. But the production company had just experienced the failure of Battlefield Earth (2000) and demanded that the film finish under budget. The production was rushed and a few scenes were left unfilmed.

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