Rent (2005) Poster



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Taye Diggs (Benny), Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Angel), Jesse L. Martin (Collins), Idina Menzel (Maureen), Adam Pascal (Roger), and Anthony Rapp (Mark) are all from the Original Broadway Cast of "Rent" in 1996 and are playing their original roles.
Taye Diggs (Benny) and Idina Menzel (Maureen) fell in love while performing as part of the original Broadway cast and were married for 10 years, before separating in 2013.
At the very end of the credits, 'Thank you, Jonathan Larson' comes onto the screen. This could be seen as a reference to the showing of Rent after Jonathan Larson died. Jonathan Larson died the night before the show began previews off-Broadway, and the entire cast elected to perform a run-through of just the songs to all of Jonathan's family and friends in tribute of Jonathan's most prestigious work. At the end of the performance, the entire audience sat silent for what seemed like forever until a young male voice in the back of the house yelled that line.
The New Year's Eve sequence was turned into an actual party for the cast and the celebrating was real.
Jesse L. Martin's character of Det. Green on the NBC show Law & Order (1990) was wounded in the line of duty to allow Martin to take several months off to film Rent.
During "The Tango Maureen", the eyebrow lift and jacket toss were added because the actors were having fun during rehearsals and the director liked it.
Idina Menzel sang "Over The Moon" live, rather than lip-syncing it.
One of Jonathan Larson's girlfriends dumped him for a girl the way Maureen dumped Mark for Joanne.
The guitar riff Roger plays throughout the show is based on "Musetta's Waltz" from La Boheme.
Rosario Dawson has said she choreographed an elaborate routine for her audition song, "Out Tonight." During her actual screen test, she was so nervous she could barely move. Convinced she'd blown her audition, she left the room disappointed. Director Chris Columbus was so impressed, however, he ran after her and cast her on the spot.
The oft-quoted line "Merry Christmas, bitches!" was improvised by Jesse L. Martin. Director Chris Columbus said on the DVD commentary that Martin changed the line on every take.
Daphne Rubin-Vega and Fredi Walker-Browne, the original Broadway Mimi and Joanne, are the only two lead cast members not to reprise their roles for this film. By the time the film went into production, nearly ten years after its first performance, Walker, by her own admission, was too old to play Joanne. Rubin-Vega was pregnant at the time of filming, and was also nearly fifteen years older than the nineteen-year-old Mimi.
Jennifer Hudson auditioned for the role of Joanne but lost to Tracie Thoms. She then was cast as Effie White in Dreamgirls (2006), for which she won an Oscar.
During "Today 4 U" Angel jumps up onto the table. Wilson Jermaine Heredia did two takes of that jump; the first take is in the movie, but on the second take he slammed his knees into the table.
Tracie Thoms first told Jesse L. Martin of her casting in Rent in between filming of their scenes in Law & Order: Mammon (2005). In an interview, she stated, "I'm like, 'Hey Jesse, it looks like we're gonna be spending a lot of time together.' And he's like, 'We are?' I'm like, 'Yeah. I'm Joanne.' (imitates Jesse gasping) 'ACTION!'"
The characters of Ali, Gordon, Pam, and Sue in the Life support meeting are named after writer Jonathan Larson's friends who died of AIDS. The real "Ali" was Alison Gertz, a young woman who contracted HIV in the early 1980s and became well-known later in the decade as an AIDS activist, and is the subject of Something to Live for: The Alison Gertz Story (1992), starring Molly Ringwald as her.
In "What You Own", when Mark and Roger are on the roof, you can briefly see the side of the building. If you look closely, "ANGEL" is spray-painted on the side of the building. This was purely coincidental.
Chris Columbus said that Idina Menzel sang "Over The Moon" at least 7 times while shooting.
The stage musical "Rent" won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1996. Only nine musicals have won the Pulitzer Prize in drama - one per decade from the 1930s to the 1990s. They are as follows: Of Thee I Sing (1972) from the 1930s, South Pacific (1958) from the 1940s, Fiorello from the 1950s, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) from the 1960s, A Chorus Line (1985) from the 1970s, Sunday in the Park with George from the 1980s, Rent (2005) from the 1990s, Next to Normal in 2010, and Hamilton in 2016.
Anthony Rapp kept the famous scarf he wore as Mark in the original Broadway show. It could not be used in the film, however, because the white was too bright for the camera. Instead he wears a navy and light gray scarf.
Since the first half of the movie takes place in the winter and it was filmed in San Francisco and New York during the spring and summer, all of the visible breath, except in "I'll Cover You", coming from the mouths of the actors was put in digitally after production. In "I'll Cover You" it was actually the actors breath coming from their mouths.
Several character names are updated from Giacomo Puccini's opera La Boheme. Marcello the painter became Mark the filmmaker; Rudolfo the poet became Roger the musician; Colline the philosopher became Tom Collins. Benoit the landlord became Benny married-to-the-daughter-of-the-landlord, Musetta became Maureen, and Alcindoro the rich elderly man became Joanne the young female lawyer. Schaunard the musician became Angel. Mimi the young downstairs neighbor has the same name in both shows. Joanne also shares the role of Marcello with Mark. Mark represents Marcello as the best friend of Rodolfo/Roger, and Joanne represents Marcello as the jealous lover of Musetta/Maureen.
As Roger comes down the stairs after "One Song Glory," there is graffiti on the wall that reads "April Lives".
The original Broadway production of "Rent" opened at the Nederlander Theater on April 29, 1996, ran for 5123 performances, making it the ninth longest running show on Broadway (February 2013), and won the 1996 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book and Score. Taye Diggs, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal recreated their stage roles in the movie version. Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Idina Menzel all received nominations for the 1996 Tony Awards for Best Actor, Actress, and Featured Actress in a Musical, respectively. Wilson Jermaine Heredia was the only member of the original cast to win a Tony, winning the 1996 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.
Choreographer cameo: Keith Young is the man who catches the pool cue Idina Menzel throws in "Take Me or Leave Me."
At the end of "Light My Candle", Mimi says "They call me, they call me Mimi..." is translation of a line "Mi chiamano, mi chiamano Mimi" from the opera "La Boheme" by Giacomo Puccini.
After "Today 4 U" a couple of moments were added by the actors after the director called, "Cut." They are Tom Collins (Jesse L. Martin) making the "whipped" gesture and sound, and Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) hopping out of the screen when he says goodbye to Roger (Adam Pascal).
The 16mm street scenes, which are meant to look like they were shot by Anthony Rapp's character, Mark, were really shot by Jonathan Larson's friend, documentary filmmaker Eddie Rosenstein. The inspiration for Mark's character was both Ed Rosenstein and filmmaker Jonathan Burkhart.
Spike Lee was for a long time attached to direct. The song "Light My Candle" contains the line "I hear Spike Lee's shooting down the street;" this line remained unchanged in the movie's version of the song. Other rumored directors were Sam Mendes, Rob Marshall, and Baz Luhrmann.
During production, an Internet blog was set up on the film's official website. Blog entries were contributed by each of the principal cast members, Chris Columbus, and Julia McCallum. Occasionally, video updates would also be posted, which mostly featured footage (filmed by Anthony Rapp) of the actors on set.
A number of costumes in the film are based on those from the original stage production, including the striped sweater Mark wears during "La Vie Boheme", Collins' hat, Mimi's New Year's Eve outfit (which she actually wears during 'Out Tonight' in the stage production), Maureen's catsuit, and several of Angel's costumes, including the flowered skirt, the "Pussy Galore" costume and the Santa suit.
When Mimi buys drugs in the park, a couple of kids run by. One of the boys is Chris Columbus's (the director) son.
The phrase "I should tell you" is said/stated 27 times throughout the course of the movie.
During production, Chris Columbus lined up all of the emotional scenes in a row. While they were filming, the cast constantly made jokes to not get overwhelmed.
Although they do not appear in the theatrical release, the numbers for "Halloween" and the second half of "Goodbye Love" were shot. They appear on the DVD.
The MUTE posters on the wall of the loft are a reference to Adam Pascal's old band.
Producer Robert De Niro tried to persuade his longtime friend Martin Scorsese to direct, but the legendary filmmaker was unhappy with the drafts of the screenplay he read and departed the project.
The metal arch sculpture on Maureen's performance space during "Over the Moon" is an homage to the Broadway show. On the stage of the show, a similar metal sculpture is used throughout different scenes as a Christmas tree, a church steeple, and other various scenery pieces.
After "The Tango Maureen", when Joanne is talking to Maureen on the phone, the TV screen behind Tracie Thoms showed reflections of the crew. All those shots had to be sent to ILM to remove the reflections.
Chris Columbus's daughter Eleanor Columbus, along with Jonathan Larson's nephew Matt, appear in a flashback scene where Roger plays at a club. The scene is not in the movie, but you can see them in the "seasons of love" teaser.
Angel's last name is Schaunard, the same name as the character from 'La Boheme' that he is based on.
In order to film the beginning of the scene featuring "I'll Cover You", a fake subway entrance had to be built in the East Village. Tracie Thoms actually went back to try and find it, when it had already been dismantled.
Director Chris Columbus considered casting American Idol (2002) contestant and "Rent" (1996) Broadway replacement cast member Frenchie Davis as Joanne Jefferson, but decided upon Tracie Thoms for the role.
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Tracie Thoms auditioned for the Broadway production a number of times, but was never cast prior to this film. However, she reprised her role on Broadway in 2008, and appeared in the final run alongside Will Chase and Eden Espinosa.
Mark's mother is played by Randy Graff, wife of Rent's original musical director, Tim Weil.
Some of the names that are tagged on the walls are the names of WB studio tour guides.
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The word "to" is said/sung 55 times in "La Vie Boheme A & B"
According to her report from the doctor, April's last name is Ericsson.
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At 1:26:33, Mark is filming Maureen in a cat suit during New Year's Eve and says "Well you can take the girl out of Hicksville but not the Hicksville outta the girl.". Idina Menzel who plays Maureen is from Syosset, Long Island in real life. The neighboring town to Syosset is the town of Hicksville.
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During La Vie Boheme, the tattoos on Idina Menzel's butt are fake.
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Director Cameo 

Chris Columbus: the frustrated driver whose windshield is being washed.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The DVD release features an alternate ending based on the stage production, with all of the characters save for Angel are singing the finale on-stage. Angel eventually joins the group to finish the song.
The original draft of the script ended by revealing that all the action took place as a movie-within-a-movie, and as the final scene was being shot, the camera panned away from the production to reveal real homeless people and drug addicts on a real New York City street.
Originally during the "One Song Glory" number there was going to be one flashback of April lying dead in the bathtub, but it was hard to decide when to show it, so it was deleted.

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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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