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Ladder 49 (2004) Poster

(2004)

Trivia

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More than 2,000 real-life firefighters showed up at casting in Baltimore, some from as far away as North Carolina. For the filming of the two funeral scenes, more than 800 real-life firefighters and fire trucks from up and down the East Coast, from as far as Massachusetts, made the trek to participate. The website www.firehouse.com coordinated the participation of the firefighters and fire vehicles for those scenes.
Joaquin Phoenix was so afraid of heights before shooting this film that he could not even slide down the 20-foot fire pole. After he finished training he hung off the side of a 20-story building by a single repelling rope.
Jacinda Barrett (playing Linda Morrison, wife of the lead), is the daughter of a 33-year career firefighter. She has stated that the movie feels like it is about her real life.
As part of a preparation for the movie, Joaquin Phoenix trained for a month at a fire academy and spent another month with the men of Baltimore's Truck 10. He became an "honorary member" and had the same tattoo as the men of the company, a bumble bee wearing a fire helmet with an ax.
The filming of the big warehouse scene caused something of a panic in Baltimore. The fire was visible from I-95 and the Baltimore Beltway, so Good Samaritans kept calling the fire department to report it. So many people called that the fire department ended up calling radio stations to confess that the scene was being filmed and to request that people stop tying up the emergency lines.
The firefighters Joaquin Phoenix trained with nicknamed him "Hollywood". Only after Phoenix earned their respect, they started calling him by his actual name.
The scene in which John Travolta talks to Joaquin Phoenix while drinking liquor was improvised by Travolta. The scene originally had Mike Kennedy talking straight to Jack Morrison, but Travolta thought it would be funny to start drinking right in the middle of it.
Joaquin Phoenix was nearly seriously burned in the scene where the factory floor collapses. If you slow down the DVD as he is sliding down the floor you will see a ball of fire caught between the floor and his chest. Luckily the crew awaited him with a fire extinguisher as he fell to pads below.
Mark Yant (Lt. Yant) is an actual firefighter with the Baltimore City Fire Department and personally trained the cast and crew at the Fire Academy during the production of the film.
At the beginning of the film, the Third Alarm assignment to the large warehouse fire was given the location of Newgate and Newkirk Streets, which is the exact location of that very building that was burning.
Looney's Pub is an actual Baltimore watering hole, located in the Canton neighborhood. It has become a favorite of local film crews since the film was made.
Every fire scene in the film depicts an actual firefighting incident somewhere in the USA. The scene where Jack Morrison is rescuing the civilian trapped on the 20th story ledge was an incident in New York City, where an acquaintance of Tim Guinee (Tony Corrigan) was rescued by firefighters in the same exact manner.
The original script, written before the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001, set the events in New York.
Costume designer 'Renee Kalfus' designed rubber air tanks as a substitute for the real 30 pound tanks for scenes where the firefighters did not need to use the real tanks.
While heading to the fire on Christmas Eve, you can see the name Seagrave on the fire truck's nose. Seagrave is the name of one of the fire victims in another fire fighter themed movie, "Backdraft".
Martin O'Malley, who plays the Mayor, is the real Mayor of Baltimore and spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.
Stephen Lang was initially a top candidate for the supporting role of Captain, he was in the midst of playing a fire captain in Jim Simpson's "The Guys" in the Flea Theatre. However he lost out once John Travolta expressed interest in the project.
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Despite the fact that this was filmed in the standard spherical format, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits.
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On the first day of training for the film Joaquin Phoenix was the only one to show up in firemen gear this is dvd footage
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The Seagrave fire truck was made in Clintonville, WI. This company also made the truck seen in Backdraft
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The real Fire Chief (Chief Goodwin) can be seen in some of the scenes in the movie he can be seen dancing with his wife at the wedding reception, standing by Travolta when everyone is singing "Fire," in a funeral scene and in a medals ceremony scene. That station, where the movie starts with Travolta as a captain before he becomes Chief happens to be the station where Goodwin was once a captain himself.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Firefighter Jack Morrison was born on 22 April 1971 and died 18 May 2003. You can see the dates on his picture in his funeral service.

See also

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

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