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Get Shorty (1995) Poster

(1995)

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (3)  | Spoilers (2)
John Travolta initially declined an offer to be in this movie, but was convinced by Quentin Tarantino to do it.
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Elmore Leonard said that this is the best film adapted from one of his books.
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According to Elmore Leonard, Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), is based on Leonard's own dealings with Dustin Hoffman.
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Gene Hackman turned down this movie at first, because he doesn't usually do comedies. Barry Sonnenfeld said that's exactly the attitude he wanted from him on-set. Play it straight, and let the audience decide if it's funny.
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MGM didn't want to extensively use Elmore Leonard-inspired dialogue in the film, and pushed Barry Sonnenfeld and Scott Frank to make many passages more generic than the book's, but once John Travolta signed on to the film, he successfully pressured the studio to leave Frank's original draft (which had a lot of colorful dialogue) intact for filming. A specific example of this end result came during the sequence where Chili Palmer (John Travolta) goes to retrieve his coat from Ray "Bones" Barboni (Dennis Farina).
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Gene Hackman based Harry Zimm on an agent he used to know. He was the phoniest man he ever knew.
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According to Executive Producer and Director Barry Sonnenfeld, the other producers were considering John Travolta for the lead role, even before his Pulp Fiction (1994) comeback.
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A scene with Ben Stiller as the director of one of Harry's low-budget B-movies was cut from the film, because it didn't suit the flow of it. Even though Barry Sonnenfeld thought it was funny (maybe the funniest scene in the movie) it did nothing to advance the plot, so it had to go.
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Barry Sonnenfeld was very eager to work with Danny DeVito on this movie. Eventually, DeVito bought the book, and although he hadn't finished reading it, he said he got it. He wasn't referring to the novel. He was referring to the film rights.
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When Rene Russo first met with Barry Sonnenfeld and Danny DeVito at a restaurant, she had an allergic reaction to the sesame in her tuna sandwich. She broke out in hives and had to go the doctor, sure she hadn't gotten the part. Sonnenfeld felt sympathetic, and assured her the role was hers.
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When people in West Hollywood first saw the billboard with Danny DeVito dressed up as Napoléon Bonaparte credited with Martin Weir's name, they thought it was a real one, and DeVito might have changed his name. The film crew had to explain to residents it was just a prop in DeVito's latest movie.
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In the book, Harry Zimm tells Chili Palmer that he wanted to cast Gene Hackman as the lead in his new film. Hackman portrayed Harry Zimm in this movie.
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DIRECTOR CAMEO (Barry Sonnenfeld): A hotel doorman greeting David Paymer as he exits a limo.
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During the "stare" scene, Danny DeVito was allowed to do several different permutations on his lines. Barry Sonnenfeld just sat and let the camera roll for take after take.
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The scene where Chili (John Travolta) recites lines from Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958) while watching it in a theater, is one of the most engaging things Gene Hackman has ever seen in a film.
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MGM executives' first choice to direct was Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino directed another film based on an Elmore Leonard book, Jackie Brown (1997).
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Michael Keaton, Bruce Willis, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Dustin Hoffman all turned down the role of Chili Palmer. While Danny DeVito was Barry Sonnenfeld's first choice for the role of Chilli Palmer because of his natural charisma, he could not fit it into his schedule (he was directing Matilda (1996)) so he ended up playing the smaller role of Martin Weir instead.
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Almost every one of the magazine covers on the rack behind Chili Palmer (John Travolta) at the airport have Martin Weir (Danny DeVito) on the cover. Even the issue of Playboy Magazine lists an interview with Martin Weir on its cover.
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Harvey Keitel plays himself as Dennis Farina's character in the film-within-a-film. Both men played the role of Jack Crawford in the film adaptations of Thomas Harris' novel "Red Dragon" (Farina in Manhunter (1986), Keitel in Red Dragon (2002)).
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(At around one hour and nineteen minutes) A newspaper article is momentarily shown on-screen with the headline: "Horror Film Producer Questioned in Shooting". Although shown too quickly to read without pausing the scene, the second paragraph of the article reads, "At a morning press briefing, LAPD Sergeant Edward Randall disclosed that Wingate, owner of a Los Angeles Limousine Fleet and a sometime investor in Zimm (Gene Hackman)'s films was shot five times. Four wounds were in the chest area, a fifth in one of his feet. Sergeant Randall refused to disclose which foot."
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Samuel L. Jackson was the first choice for the role of Bo Catlett.
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John Travolta was paid three and a half million dollars for this film.
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Executive Producer and Director Barry Sonnenfeld hated this movie initially, because he thought it was all talk and no action. Positive audience response to the movie changed his mind.
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The original scene with Penny Marshall's cameo had her getting into her car and driving off when the shoot was finished, but she hadn't driven a car in many years, so it was changed that her assistant drives her off.
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Matthew McConaughey and Steve Buscemi were considered for the role of Ronnie Wingate.
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Featured uncredited appearances by Bette Midler (Doris) and Harvey Keitel.
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The title "Get Shorty" from both the film and the book title refers to Orson Welles' chauffeur George 'Shorty' Chirello. That in part was recited by John Travolta's character from Welles' film Touch of Evil (1958).
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Vito Scotti's last film.
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Contains a spoiler for Touch of Evil (1958).
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Although Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) is never explicitly referred to as being Jewish, throughout the film, he is shown wearing a necklace with a pendant in the shape of the Hebrew word "chai" (life).
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Warren Beatty turned down the role of Chili Palmer.
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Even though he turned down the Chili Palmer role, Michael Keaton did another film based on the Elmore Leonard novel "Rum Punch". The movie was Jackie Brown (1997) and the role was A.T.F. Agent Ray Nicolette, which was originally made for John Travolta, due to the fact that Quentin Tarantino was directing, and that he worked with him before on Pulp Fiction (1994). Travolta turned it down, due to Face/Off (1997), and Keaton got the part. Keaton reprised the role in Out of Sight (1998), another Elmore Leonard adaptation.
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Harvey Keitel plays himself filming a movie where he portrays Ray Barboni, a man who is set up by Chili Palmer (John Travolta) to get arrested. In the sequel, Be Cool (2005), Harvey Keitel plays Nick Carr, who is similarly set up by Chili Palmer to get arrested.
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Rene Russo and Delroy Lindo appeared in Ransom (1996).
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Dennis Farina (Ray "Bones" Barboni) and author Elmore Leonard died within about a month of each other in 2013.
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Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo) gives his address as "8151 Wonderland Avenue", which is the real address of Wonderland Avenue Elementary School.
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In the exterior scene at LAX, professional tennis player Todd Martin can be seen carrying his racquets & glancing back towards the camera. He was returning from his Finals appearance at the Australian Open.
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Dennis Farina (Ray "Bones" Barboni) and Alex Rocco (Jimmy Capp) shared a scene together, and shared a birthday together as well. What makes this extra special is that both are one of few people in the business who shared their birthday on February 29.
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The exterior for Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman)'s office is at the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Whitley Avenue in Hollywood, California.
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John Goodman turned down the role of Bear.
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Quentin Tarantino had been planning to direct a prequel to Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994), called "The Vega Brothers". Michael Madsen played Mr. Blonde (Vic Vega) in Reservoir Dogs (1992) and John Travolta played Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction (1994). Madsen and Travolta became too old to reprise their iconic roles, so Tarantino abandoned the project. Gene Hackman co-starred with "The Vega Brothers". Hackman with Madsen in Wyatt Earp (1994), incidentally, Madsen turned down being Vincent Vega to be in Wyatt Earp (1994), and Hackman with Travolta in this movie.
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Gene Hackman and James Gandolfini appeared in Crimson Tide (1995). Coincidentally, in Crimson Tide (1995), Hackman's character has a pet dog named Bear, same as Gandolfini's character's name in this movie.
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When this movie received its premiere in 1999, Radio Times' Adrian Turner reviewed it as "Film of the Week". Among what Turner wrote in his review was, "Released in the wake of Pulp Fiction (1994), Get Shorty was an attempt to cash in on the success of Quentin Tarantino. Hence the plot is almost nonexistent. Indeed it seems to be little more than a series of vignettes, as Director Barry Sonnenfeld's mordant sense of humor makes light of the violence. But unlike Tarantino, he doesn't let it run on forever. There are no sliced ears or bloodbaths here." John Travolta also starred in Pulp Fiction (1994), written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.
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Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito previously played DC Comics villains. Hackman as Lex Luthor in Superman (1978), Superman II (1980), and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), and DeVito as The Penguin (Oswald Cobblepot) in Batman Returns (1992).
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James Gandolfini and Gene Hackman later appeared in The Mexican (2001).
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The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Gene Hackman; and five Oscar nominees: John Travolta, David Paymer, Danny DeVito, Harvey Keitel and Bette Midler.
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John Travolta and Harvey Keitel previously appeared in Pulp Fiction (1994).
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Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito and Delroy Lindo later appeared in Heist (2001).
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Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley), Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter), and DeVito (Taxi) were all part of hit TV sitcoms during the 1970s for the same network - ABC..
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
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John Travolta and James Gandolfini later appeared in A Civil Action (1998) and The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009).
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The "Cadillac of Mini-vans," the Oldsmobile Silhouette was produced from 1989-2004. It was one of the last models in the Oldsmobile stable when it went out of business.
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The manager at Vesuvio's who tells Chili that Ray Barboni has his coat is played by Vito Scotti. Vito also played the baker, Nazarine in "The Godfather", who made Connie's wedding cake.
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Ray Bones played by Dennis Farina was also on Miami Vice as crime boss Lombard. Martin Ferraro play Tommy Carlo - Travolta's side kick. Ferraro also plays Izzy on Miami Vice.
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Cameo 

Ernest 'Chili' Palmer: Elmore Leonard's friend, namesake of the main character, as one of Ray "Bones" Barboni's friends.
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Penny Marshall: Played the director of the movie-within-a-movie.
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Harvey Keitel: Played Ray Barboni (Dennis Farina's character) in the movie-within-a-movie.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

As a nod to his short but memorable role in The Godfather (1972), Alex Rocco (Jimmy Capp, Ray Bones' boss) is only seen in this film receiving a body massage in a similar manner as the character he played, Moe Green, in his final scene in The Godfather (1972), before he is assassinated.
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Regarding Orson Welles, Chili (John Travolta) says "Sometimes you do your best work when you got a gun to your head." Later in the movie, he does indeed do some great work when he has a gun pointed at him, the second time right up against his head.
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