The Manchurian Candidate (2004) Poster


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Entertainment Weekly reported that Meryl Streep watched political talk shows to prepare for her role: "anything with Peggy Noonan, Karen Hughes... it's hard to get more hyperbolic than that." She didn't watch the original film until after filming wrapped.
In developing his character, Liev Schreiber watched footage of Robert F. Kennedy.
Liev Schreiber was handpicked by Paramount Pictures boss Sherry Lansing for the title role.
The "Manchurian" part of the title is because in the original version the brainwashing agent were Chinese communists.
Though many assume Meryl Streep to have based her performance upon Hillary Rodham Clinton, Streep has cited Peggy Noonan, Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney as her inspiration.
The movie opens with Marco's and Shaw's fellow soldiers playing a card game; this is a reference to The Manchurian Candidate (1962), in which cards play a very important role in the plot.
When Raymond Shaw is talking with Ben in his election HQ office, he says, "...when we were in Kuwait..." but slurs the word to sound very much like "Korea". The original movie had the soldiers serving in (and abducted from) Korea.
Jane Fonda turned down the role of Eleanor Shaw because she didn't want her Hollywood comeback to be as a villainess.
In Rosie's bathroom there is a poster for a theatrical production of "Othello" featuring José Ferrer, the father of Miguel Ferrer who plays Colonel Garret in this film.
Tina Sinatra who was instrumental in deciding to remake the film, inherited the production rights from her father, Frank Sinatra who played Bennett Marco in the 1962 version.
Brian De Palma was (briefly) considered to direct this film, a suggestion made by one of De Palma's former representatives. However, the idea was ultimately nixed by producer Scott Rudin.
Screenwriter Daniel Pyne was paid over $1 million for his initial draft of this screenplay.
One of Major Marco's evaluation papers is clearly dated "2008".
When Shaw's Secret Service agent plants the rifle at the rally site for Marco, the spoken word piece "Kinky Sex Makes the World Go Round" by Dead Kennedys can be heard. The piece is about the U.S. "Secretary of War" calling Britain's Prime Minister suggesting "it's time to start another war", and suggesting that both countries give their soldiers, and young people who might be drafted, drugs to ensure compliance.
Before this movie's release, Paramount set up two official websites: one site with movie information, and one site that appeared to be a promotional tool for the (fictional) Manchurian Global Corporation depicted in the movie. The corporation website gave no indication of its connection to the movie except a few references to its sponsorship of Dr. Atticus Noyle's Alzheimer's research. Similar advertisements for fictional medical procedures and clinics were also produced as parts of the advertising campaigns for Gattaca (1997), Godsend (2004), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). Besides these films listed, Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) also has a advertising campaign featuring "Regenerator", a fictional product developed by the Umbrella Corporation.
The second Frank Sinatra film to be given a major remake in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The first was Ocean's Eleven (2001). That film and this one actually have family connections. George Clooney became close friends with Brad Pitt during the making of that film. This film features Jon Voight, father of Angelina Jolie, with whom Pitt has been involved since 2005. Also appearing in this film is Clooney's cousin Miguel Ferrer. His mother, Rosemary Clooney, was sister to George's father Nick Clooney.
Production Assistant Chris Rodriguez's photo is used on the front page of the newspaper that Kimberly Elise picks up on the train, under the caption, "Muslim Yale student murdered by angry mob."
The radio chatter audio near the end of the film as Ben returns to the beach is actually a recording of a Norfolk Southern train defect detector. If one listens carefully you can even hear it state, "NS (Norfolk Southern) detector milepost 79.8 one no defect." The actual detector likely reported 79.8 track one but the word track would spoil the illusion. It is interesting because these automatic reports only transmit two or three miles to inform the train crew of defects in their train. It is not likely they would be heard on a remote island.
Neil Jordan was also briefly considered to direct this remake.
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There is a brief shot of Worldwide Plaza (49th-50th Streets & 8th Ave, NYC), the office complex on the site of the second (1925-1966) Madison Square Garden, where, in the original movie, the assassination takes place (the inside and outside of the old Garden are shown in the original movie).
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When Ben and Rosie are in her "cousin's" apartment, there are pictures of Kenneth Utt beneath the poster of a play.
On the wall of Senator Jordan's office is a poster for the Vietnam POW / MIA "You are not forgotten" campaign (the black on white silhouette).
The marching band shown in a few parts of the movie is the East Ramapo Marching Band from New York.


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

If the letters in Noyle's last name are rearranged, they spell Yen Lo, the name of the Chinese character in the same role in The Manchurian Candidate (1962).

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