The script was rumored to have been dumped on the doorstep of Keanu Reeves' house, a tactic that piqued his interest, and led to him accepting the role of Johnny.
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At one point, Johnny's brain implant is detected by a security scanner and is falsely reported as a device for counteracting dyslexia. Keanu Reeves does in fact suffer from the disorder in real life.
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During the scene in the back room of Crazy Bob's Computer Store, it sounds like Johnny asks for an "iPhone", twelve years before it was launched. While it would still be cute if the scriptwriter of a 90's cyberpunk movie had just made up a word, which would later become the name of a ubiquitous piece of information technology, what Johnny asks for is actually an "Eyephone", an early head-mounted interface designed by Jaron Lanier (in fact, Johnny calls it a "Thomson Eyephone", a reference to the fact that Lanier's patent was bought by Thomson Electronics).
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Robert Longo and William Gibson originally intended to make an art film on a small budget, but failed to get financing. Longo commented that the project "started out as an arty $1.5 million movie, and it became a $30 million movie, because we couldn't get a million and a half."
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While the film is based on William Gibson's short story "Johnny Mnemonic", it also draws heavily on his later novel "Virtual Light".
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Sony realized early on the potential for reaching their target demographic through Internet marketing, and its new technology division promoted the film with an online scavenger hunt offering $20,000 in prizes. One executive was quoted as remarking, "We see the Internet as turbo-charged word-of-mouth. Instead of one person telling another person something good is happening, it's one person telling millions!". The film's website facilitated further cross-promotion by selling Sony Signatures-issued Johnny Mnemonic merchandise such as a "hack your own brain" t-shirt and Pharmakom coffee cups. William Gibson was deployed to field questions about the videogame from fans online. The habitually reclusive novelist, who despite creating in cyberspace one of the core metaphors for the internet age, had never personally been on the Internet, likened the experience to "taking a shower with a raincoat on" and "trying to do philosophy in Morse code."
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The Japanese character seen above the "Internet-2021" title card at the beginning of the movie directly translates as "hackneyed, clichéd" in English.
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According to William Gibson, the movie was re-edited by the producers in order to make it more "mainstream". The Japanese release is said to be closer to the director's and Gibson's original vision.
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The character Molly Millions, from the original story, was changed to Jane for the film. They are very similar characters except that Molly had retractable razor blades under her fingernails and augmented vision. It is believed that the change was due to the "Molly" character being attached to the rights for any possible future Neuromancer film adaptation.
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Keanu Reeves plays a character holding data in his head that can kill him. In Cyberpunk 2077 (2020), you play a character with a deadly data chip in your head, containing the avatar of Johnny Silverhand, played by Mr. Keanu Reeves.
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William Gibson was very unhappy with what became of this adaptation of his own story. Despite being credited as the sole screenwriter, he has insisted for years that it wasn't his screenplay that was ultimately produced.
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The film was shot on-location in Canada, with Toronto and Montreal filling in for Newark, New Jersey and Beijing, China. Several local sites, including Toronto's Union Station, Montreal's skyline, and Jacques Cartier Bridge, feature prominently.
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The unbounded spread of the Internet in the early 1990s, and the consequent rapid growth of high technology culture, had made cyberpunk increasingly relevant, and this was a primary motivation for Sony Pictures' decision to fund the project in the tens of millions.
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Three music scores were created for the film. The first, composed by the band "Black Rain" at the request of Robert Longo, was not used in the film, and was subsequently released on a CD album. The second was composed by Mychael Danna, and is still featured in the Japanese version of the film. The third score was composed by Brad Fiedel at the request of Sony, and is featured in the internationally released version of the film.
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In the back room of Crazy Bob's Computer Shop, the prominent Asian characters on all the boxes are just Chinese and Japanese numerals.
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Johnny's wake up call at the beginning of the film says the date is Thursday, 17 January 2021. In actuality, January 17, 2021 was a Sunday.
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The bartender seen with the electronic prosthetic arm is a reference to Ratz, a bartender introduced early in William Gibson's Neuromancer.
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At one point, Christopher Lambert was in contention for the lead role.
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Val Kilmer was originally set to star, but left the project after he was offered the role of Batman in Batman Forever (1995). Kilmer later played Chris Shilerhis in Heat (1995), a role that Keanu Reeves was in early talks for, but ultimately turned down.
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The song "I See Through" was performed by Rollins Band and written by Henry Rollins, Melvin Gibb, Sim Cain, and Chris Haskett. Henry Rollins appears in the film as Spider.
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The film takes place in January 2021.
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B.J. Rack, one of the producers, is still credited, although he left the project due to creative differences with director Robert Longo.
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Johnny apparently takes a Concorde to Newark, New Jersey. In real life, the Concordes were retired in 2003.
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Henry Rollins' character is based on Mad Stan, a character he would later go on to voice in Batman Beyond (1999).
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In this film, Keanu Reeves plays a man who smuggles data from cyberspace. Four years later, he starred as a computer hacker who learns that he has been living in a computer program in The Matrix (1999).
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After finishing work on the film, Dina Meyer began working on her second feature film Dragonheart (1996).
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When Johnny got to Newark, he was speaking to a robot voice. The computer eye shot played homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
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The film has no company credits at the beginning of the film.
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Early in the development, Bono was in talks about supervising the soundtrack and possibly play Street Preacher.
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In Doctor Who: Time Heist (2014), there is a character in that episode played by Jonathan Bailey called Psi. Like Johnny, Psi has the ability to store data in his mind and also like Johnny, Psi has deleted all of his memories of his family.
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Anna Kalman was born on August 1, 1965 and died on September 3, 2015.
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