Panic Room (2002) Poster



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Nicole Kidman was originally cast in the role of Meg Altman and Hayden Panettiere was cast as her daughter, Sarah. Before filming began, Panettiere was replaced with Kristen Stewart, who beat out Daveigh Chase for the role, as director David Fincher found her "irritating". Then, only eighteen days into filming, Kidman had to leave the film as well, due to a recurring knee injury, suffered during the filming of Moulin Rouge! (2001). Fincher suggested that the studio close the production and collect the insurance, but the studio decided to go on. Jodie Foster was offered the role. She was due to be the president of the Cannes Film Festival jury but withdrew to work with Fincher, with whom she was originally supposed to work on The Game (1997) in the role now played by Sean Penn. Foster had only nine days to prepare for the role. Kidman left a small mark in the film nevertheless, however, as the voice of the girlfriend of Foster's husband in the movie, heard answering the phone when Foster's character calls him in a desperate attempt for help.
Because the sets had been designed with Nicole Kidman in mind, who is much taller than Jodie Foster, the green safety lasers on the panic room door ended up exactly at the level of Foster's eyes, constantly blinding her as she entered and exited the room.
According to David Fincher, Kristen Stewart grew more than three inches during filming of this project. She was smaller than Jodie Foster when the production started and towered over her when the final shots were done.
Though Panic Room is not technically a remake, it somewhat mirrors the plot and characters of Wait Until Dark (1967). The antagonists are three criminals: one who has compassion like Burnham, another who is a hardened criminal like Junior, and one who is a ruthless psychotic like Raoul. The three men charade their way into a blind woman's brownstone apartment in search of a doll filled with heroin, but realize they have drastically underestimated her wits once they initiate a game of cat and mouse with her.
Having just made a film with 150 locations in the shape of Fight Club (1999), David Fincher was keen to tackle something a lot simpler for his next film.
Originally David Fincher planned to make the film in pitch darkness but this proved too impractical.
All of the indoor scenes were shot entirely in the sequence in which they appear in the finished film.
Shot over a period of 120 days, the longest shoot in Jodie Foster's career.
The shot of Sarah's medical bag sliding along the floor outside the panic room took 103 takes.
Columbia Pictures paid David Koepp a record $4,000,000 for his screenplay.
Jodie Foster was pregnant with her second child during filming. Because of this, reshoots had to be made in the autumn of 2001 after she had given birth, as principal photography took longer than planned.
Jared Leto did all of his own stunts.
Fincher stated he wanted the film to look and feel as realistic as possible. This lead to an increase in the films budget and a longer than planned filming schedule. The apartment was built in whole and the panic room was built and modeled after real life panic rooms. The real life set and action lead to several minor injuries to the actors during filming as Fincher insisted on doing several scenes without CGI.
A rather disturbing shot that was never filmed involved Raoul's mangled fingers being seen inside the panic room door, and falling out when it opened.
Writer David Koepp got the idea for the film from an article in The New York Times about "safe rooms" and getting stuck inside an elevator in his own brownstone.
The phone number that Meg dials to order pizza from Patsy's Pizza is mentioned to be 579-3000. The area code for Manhattan is 212; the number 212-579-3000 is, in reality, for Patsy's Pizzeria.
Nicole Kidman replacement Jodie Foster substantially altered the tone of the film. Beforehand director David Fincher saw his heroine as a glacial Hitchcock/ Grace Kelly role model. With Foster in the lead, however, the part instantly became much grittier, more political.
During the opening credits, the phrase "Face Your Fears" flashes across one of the teletrons.
Darius Khondji quit the production after several weeks as cinematographer to be replaced by Conrad W. Hall. Director David Fincher later admitted that he micro-managed Khondji and didn't allow him to fully take part in the decision-making process.
It took Arthur Max and his production design team 15 weeks to construct the four story apartment set at a cost of $6 million.
The opening credits were created by a collaboration between title design company The Picture Mill and special effects company ComputerCafe. It took them one year to complete.
David Fincher agreed that the film's production was an arduous one, remarking it as a "logistical nightmare." The lighting issue during the filming process was particularly difficult due to the complexity of the security cameras used in the mansion that send surveillance images to the television in the panic room.
According to David Fincher, the crew were finding feathers (from Burnham's drilling through the pillow scene) all over the sets for 6 months.
Howard Shore, the composer chose this film after scoring the music to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). He wanted to take on a smaller project after such a mammoth undertaking, but many people felt Panic Room (2002) was one of Shore's darkest, most brooding thrillers.
David Prior, who produced the film's DVD noted that this was "the most elaborate, complex DVD I have yet produced." According to Prior, director David Fincher originally conceived the film as a low-budget B-film. But during the process it evolved into a "gargantuan undertaking that tested the endurance and tenacity of everyone involved."
The movie had been in production for 18 days when Jodie Foster came on board.
Denzel Washington was considered for the part of Burnham.
The photos of Sarah that Meg puts around her room are real childhood pictures of Kristen Stewart and her family.
Patrick Bauchau spent his first day on set getting beaten up.
Darius Khondji left the project after just two weeks into principal photography. He was still credited as co-D.O.P in the opening credits.
Outside of the opening and closing scenes, everything else in the film is either set within the walls of the panic room or Meg's house.
Despite being released in 2002, a year after the 9/11 attacks, the world trade centre towers can be carefully spotted in the opening credits sequence.
Mel Gibson was originally considered for the part of the ex-husband.
The house, which is located at 38 West 94th street in NYC was only used for exterior shots. The house is still there and fans can visit to check it out. It is not currently on the market but if it was it is estimated to cost $7,287,881.
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Despite being remembered as a decent David Fincher film, Panic Room has yet to receive a blu-ray release.
David Koepp wrote the first draft of the script in six days.
Though set in New York, the film was primarily shot in Los Angeles.
After Nicole Kidman was forced to leave the production, other actresses had to be considered. Among them was Angelina Jolie who was deemed to be too young.
The cellular phone used by Jodie Foster in this movie is a Nokia 8890. The silver slide phone is often mistaken as the phone used in The Matrix (1999).
Forest Whitaker's character was initially imagined by screenwriter David Koepp as an unpleasant white-collar compulsive gambler, in Koepp's own words someone like "Humphrey Bogart in one of his less pleasant roles."
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David Fincher directed three actors on this film who have previously directed movies of their own: Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam.
Considered casting possibilities: Sandra Bullock (Meg), Daveigh Chase (Sarah), Maynard James Keenan (Raoul), and Adam Goldberg (Junior).
Howard Shore did the music for Panic Room. He also did the music for The Silence of the Lambs, which also starred Jodie Foster.
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One of the few films released on the short lived super bit DVD format
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Early in the movie, Sarah is wearing a T-shirt with the image of Sid Vicious, formerly of the punk rock group the Sex Pistols.
As of 2016 has not been released on blu ray
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David Fincher and Jared Leto second film together.
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Paul Schulze and Mel Rodriguez (Officers Keeney and Morales) share a birthday, June 12th
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Nicole Kidman: As the voice of Stephen Altman's girlfriend.
Andrew Kevin Walker: screenwriter of Se7en (1995) as the sleepy neighbor.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In a previous draft of the script, the final battle is completely different. As Sarah is being held hostage in the panic room with Raoul and Burnham, Meg gets out of the house, enters the next door house, adjacent to hers, breaks into the panic room through the dividing wall with the sledge hammer and fights with Raoul after Burnham gets the bonds and runs down the stairs. Raoul is killed by the panic room door slamming on his head, and Burnham is shot and killed by the police in the foyer of the house as he is fleeing.
When Jared Leto is lit on fire this is really him not a stunt person, in behind the scenes footage you see the crew lighting Leto's arm on fire with a fire proof suit.
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