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The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004) Poster

Trivia

The real Blake Edwards hailed Geoffrey Rush's performance as the best he'd ever seen, and said that in some shots he thought he was seeing the real Sellers.
Peter Sellers did not give a pony to his son Michael as shown in the film. He gave it to his younger daughter by Britt Ekland several years later. The change was made in order to compress events for dramatic purposes. According to the screenwriter, the horse disappeared after a couple of weeks, and when his daughter wanted to know where it was, he replied that he had given it to Princess Margaret.
Not only were scenes with Peter Sellers' fourth wife, Lynne Frederick, cut from the final print, but no direct mention of his third wife or fiancé Liza Minnelli is made. Their short engagement ended, when she pulled off his toupée as a joke.
Rob Brydon played Dustin Hoffman in a deleted scene, which took place at the 1980 Academy Awards and involved Sellers losing the Oscar for Best Actor (for his performance in Being There (1979)) to Hoffman (for his performance in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)), During his acceptance speech Hoffman declared, "I refuse to believe that I beat Peter Sellers". Though the Academy Awards scene was deleted, the framing scene of Sellers watching it on television, is still in the movie. It has merely been re-edited, so what's playing on the television has been changed to the scene from Being There (1979) that he filmed. The look on Sellers' face as he watches, was originally his expression while rewinding the tape of Hoffman saying, "I beat Peter Sellers" and playing it over and over again. Stephen Hopkins says on the DVD commentary, that the scene was altered because his dramatic point got lost in the exposition of showing Sellers' losing the Oscar.
In the original concept, the screenwriters wanted Peter Sellers to comment on himself through his own characters as they sat around the War Room set from Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). The idea was dropped, because it would have been prohibitively expensive in royalties. As an alternative, they decided to have Sellers speak about himself through the characters, from family and colleagues.
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Won the most Emmys for a made-for-television movie without winning for the Outstanding Made for Television Movie award. It won nine Emmy Awards for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie, Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special, Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie, Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special, Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special, Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special, Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie--Geoffrey Rush.
Geoffrey Rush was only one year younger than Peter Sellers was when he died, and here, plays him over the course of thirty years.
Lance Ellington portrays his father, Ray Ellington.
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The director who Peter Sellers calls Joe on Casino Royale (1967) is Joe McGrath, who also directed The Goon Show (1968).
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Robin Williams was the original choice for the role of Peter Sellers, but he was too busy with other projects. Williams said it would have been a great honor to play Sellers.
In one shot of a cinema marquee, a poster for The Blockhouse (1973) is visible, advertising Sellers as one of "Eight men trapped in a bunker." Below Sellers' name appear those of six of Sellers' seven co-stars. The missing name? Peter Vaughan, who plays Sellers' father in this film.
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The meeting between Peter Sellers and Stanley Kubrick, in the hotel hallway, is an homage to The Shining (1980), one of Kubrick's most iconic films, as it has the same tracking shots, color palette and camera angles of the famous tricycle sequence through the hallways of the Overlook Hotel.
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The car, on which Michael Sellers paints a "racing stripe", is a 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental. Only 207 were ever built.
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Nigel Havers, who plays David Niven, owns the film rights to Niven's memoir, "The Moon's a Balloon."
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The cast includes two Oscar winners: Geoffrey Rush and Charlize Theron; and three Oscar nominees: Emily Watson, John Lithgow, and Stanley Tucci.
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Geoffrey Rush initially turned down the film, feeling he didn't possess the mental capacity to play Peter Sellers. However, after finishing Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), he changed his mind, and decided to do the film, feeling that the previous film had put him in the right mindset.
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Although the scenes featuring Emilia Fox's performance as Peter Sellers' fourth wife Lynne Frederick were left out of the final cut, Fox is still visible in the background of the scene showing the filming of a scene from Being There (1979). She is the blonde woman standing behind the cameraman and crew behind Peter Sellers (Geoffrey Rush). In a deleted scene on the DVD, there is a continuation of this scene. After the take is over, Lynne tries to talk to Sellers, but he remains in character as the simpleton Chance.
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The characters who come to haunt Peter Sellers in his dream (while he is being resuscitated in the hospital) are Mr. Robinson (The Ladykillers (1955)), Grand Duchess Gloriana XII (The Mouse That Roared (1959)), Aldo Vanucci (After the Fox (1966)), Lionel Meadows (Never Let Go (1960)), President Merkin Muffley and Dr. Strangelove (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)), and Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Pink Panther series). The voice of Fred Kite (I'm All Right Jack (1959)) is also heard, but the character does not appear.
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After Britt tells Peter in the bathroom that she's pregnant, Peter spins the toilet paper and it doesn't stop rolling out. This same gag happens in Peter Sellers' film The Party (1968).
The cartoon character of Peter Sellers in the opening animated title sequence went through over forty changes until the final character was settled upon. The character was based on Geoffrey Rush's performance/performances of Sellers and was created by Irish animator Paul Donnellon of VooDooDog.
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The photo behind the Casting Agent, who's hiring him for Big Time Operators (1957), has a picture of her and Cesar Romero behind her. Romero did several films in Britain in the early 1950s. Also recognizable in a wall photo, is Margaret Rutherford.
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Steve Coogan was at one point considered to play Peter Sellers.
Michael Sellers had a turbulent relationship with his father, but he always tried to defend his legacy. When the film was released, Michael scolded director Stephen Hopkins. He didn't enjoy the way his father was portrayed as clinically insane in the book, upon which the film is based. He described the book as "four hundred pages of rubbish." This forced Hopkins to go to Cannes in an attempt to appease Michael.
Scenes were filmed with Emilia Fox as Lynne Frederick, Peter Sellers' fourth wife, but these were omitted from the final print. However, they are featured on the DVD.
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The motorcycle, Peter Sellers gives to Sarah Sellers as a gift, is a 1959 Triumph Bonneville, the first year of production of that iconic motorcycle.
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Peter Vaughan, who plays Sellers' father in the film, co-starred with Sellers in The Blockhouse (1973).
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Although it's not mentioned, Peter Sellers was working with Kim Novak and Dean Martin on Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) when he was stricken with his first heart attack. Wilder replaced him with Ray Walston. The movie was such a big flop, that United Artists did not want to release it directly itself. It was picked up by United Artists' subsidiary, Lopert Films, which usually dealt with foreign films of limited or strictly art-house appeal.
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When Peter Sellers is in the car having sex with Sophia Loren's body double, the song being played is "Goodness Gracious Me". This particular song was performed as a duet between the real-life Sellers and Loren, and was a hit in late 1960 throughout Europe.
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The voice of the waiter who Peter tells to "stick his fresh fruit up his arse" is based on Malcolm McDowell's performance as Alex in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971). Kubrick directed Sellers in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).
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Sacha Baron Cohen and Kevin Spacey were considered to play Peter Sellers at early stages.
Reunites Geoffrey Rush and Mackenzie Crook, who appeared in the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise.
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