Originally Posted by Call Me Roy
Extreme Measures reminds me of Hugh Grant. And HE reminds me I saw Nine Months in the theatre and NEVER AGAIN.
I saw that theatrically too. I remember the bit with Hugh Grant and Tom Arnold fending off that aggressive Barney knockoff being funny, but I better remember the teaser for Strange Days playing beforehand.
I've been listening to the audiobook for The Friedkin Connection. Highly recommended. Billy's a fascinating guy whose storytelling is amplified by his amusing Chicago accent. Among other things, you'll learn:
He loves going on tangents about film history. They're delightful.
Owing to his documentary origins, he hates auditions and usually casts on looks and demeanor.
Friedkin has a strong connection to Jaws, having worked with Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, cinematographer Bill Butler, and Richard Zanuck in his early career.
Sonny Bono seemed like a decent guy back in the day. Cher was basically Bridget Fonda's character in Jackie Brown in the 60's.
Alfred Hitchcock is a genius, but a condescending jackass whose disdains Friedkin's casual work attire.
Robert Shaw caught Friedkin shooting hoops and derided basketball as "a sissy game." The next day, Shaw gets high on pride and challenges him to a free throw challenge, loses, then calls for a ping-pong showdown. He loses to Friedkin, a youth ping-pong champion, again. Basically, Shaw was just playing himself when he was Quint.
I'm on the rather epic French Connection chapter right now. It's small potatoes compared to some of his later shoots, but I hadn't realized how intense production was on this. One of the writers of Point Blank wrote an unused draft of the script.
Hackman was boorish even then and really had to be pushed by Friedkin to tap into Popeye's mentality. Friedkin also didn't see the character in him at first. We all know Peter Boyle turned it down, but JACKIE GLEASON was the first choice. Fox hated him over Gigot, the film that sank his career in the industry for over a decade after his success in The Hustler. Then writer Jimmy Breslin, not an actor, was close to casting, shot it down, and Hackman came on. Insane he turned out as iconic as he did.
The transportation head that got them the coverage they needed to do the train parts of the car chase asked for $40,000 and a one-way ticket to Jamaica because he would get fired for what he let them do.
At the time of casting, Roy Scheider was playing a chain-smoking nun in an off-Broadway play.
Fernando Rey was cast by accident.
Friedkin hated the gunshot effects Fox had in their library. With the sound mixers, they recorded new ones with a shotgun. The head of Fox flips out on him for disturbing the lot with the noise. Friedkin tells him the stock sounds suck. And then the guy flips...
God... DAMN YOU! I RECORDED THOSE GUNSHOTS MYSELF, FOR BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID! THEY'RE GOOD ENOUGH FOR BUTCH CASSIDY, BUT NOT BILL FRIEDKIN!?!?!??!
I can't wait to get further into this and revisit his work. I highly recommend going with the audio version as well.
I'm also reminded that The French Connection is one of less than a dozen Best Picture winners that actually was the best thing released that year.