DID YOU READ

15 Things We Bet You Didn’t Know About Payback

PAYBACK, Lucy Liu, Mel Gibson, 1999. (c) Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

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There was nearly as much action and intrigue behind the scenes of this 1999 Mel Gibson flick as there was in the movie. Check out these 15 little-known facts about Payback.

1. Payback is based on the novel The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake.

The Hunter (written by Westlake under the pseudonym “Richard Stark”) was previously adapted for the screen in 1967 as Point Blank, directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin.


2. Payback is Brian Helgeland’s directorial debut.

Before making Payback, Helgeland had primarily been known as a screenwriter—he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for 1997’s L.A. Confidential.


3. Mel Gibson and Helgeland met on set of the film Conspiracy Theory, which Helgeland wrote.

Helgeland showed Gibson the first 30 pages of the script for Payback and Gibson—acting on behalf of his production company, Icon Productions—guaranteed to make the movie if Helgeland could start shooting within 12 weeks.


4. Maria Bello was cast after Helgeland saw an audition she did for a completely different movie.

Helgeland was having difficulty finding an actress to play the Rosie character, so he took a look at a random group of Warner Brothers casting tapes. He came across the audition tape Bello made for a Superman movie that was never green-lit and liked it so much that he sought her out to play Rosie.


5. Helgeland was inspired by gritty crime dramas from the 1970s.

He used films like The Getaway, Dirty Harry, and Charley Varrick for visual references. In fact, the restaurant that Stegman takes Val to is named Varrick’s as a nod to Charley Varrick.


6. Albert Brooks and Ted Danson auditioned to play Val Resnick.

Gregg Henry (Scandal, The Killing) was ultimately cast.


7. Helgeland originally storyboarded the entire movie—only to scrap his plans.

Instead, he elected to block every shot on set each day to lend a more spontaneous and gritty feel to the film.


8. All of the film’s exteriors were shot in Chicago.

But all of the interiors were shot in Los Angeles.

9. Helgeland wanted to shoot the film in black and white.

But the studio wouldn’t let him. Instead, a bleach bypass process was done in post-production in order to filter down the film’s color tones to make it more reminiscent of a black and white movie.


10. All of the cars used in the film were from 1989 or earlier.

This gave the movie a throwback feel. Additionally, all of the phones are rotary phones. Helgeland didn’t want viewers to be able to pin down the era in which the film took place.


11. Helgeland was fired as director before the film wrapped production.

He and the studio disagreed over the original ending of Payback, and when a consensus couldn’t be achieved, Helgeland was fired. A new director was brought in to reshoot—these new scenes make up about 30 percent of the theatrical cut.


12. The studio couldn’t have had worse timing with Helgeland’s firing.

Helgeland got the axe just three days after winning his Academy Award for L.A. Confidential.


13. The original version didn’t have a voiceover.

Nor did it include Kris Kristofferson’s character, and it had a completely different ending.


14. The image of Mel Gibson from the film’s theatrical poster is from Helgeland’s original ending.

It doesn’t actually appear in the film’s theatrical release.


15. In 2007, Helgeland was able to re-cut the film into his original vision.

It was released as Payback: Straight Up—The Director’s Cut.

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Very NSFW

The Brockmire Premiere Is All Truth

Watch The First Episode of Brockmire Right Now for Free

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At long last, the Brockmire pre-premiere has arrived. Which means you can watch it right now—on IFC.com, at Funny Or Die, on IFC’s Apple TV and mobile apps, on Youtube, on Facebook, on the AMC apps, and right here. So grab some headphones and get watching.

No seriously, get headphones.

Because whether he’s giving a play-by-play or ruminating on the world around him, Jim Brockmire calls it like he sees it. And how he sees it is very NSFW. His take on life is actually quite refreshing, even to the point of being profoundly sage. For proof just look at these pearls of unconventional wisdom from the premiere…

Brockmire On The Internet

“If I need porn I just buy a nudie mag, like my father and his father before him.”

Brockmire On Sex-Ed

“Kids, a strap-on is a belt with d— on it that mommies use to f— daddies.”
Brockmire-Strap-On

Brockmire On The Perfect High

“Somewhere between 10 cups of coffee and very low-grade cocaine.”
Brockmire-Perfect-High

Brockmire On The Tardiness of Spring

“Old man winter’s reaching his hand inside your coat to give that thing one more squeeze.”

Brockmire On Keeping Perspective

“I thought I hit rock bottom in a handicap restroom in Bangkok where a Thai lady-boy snorted crank off my johnson while a sunburnt German watched us on the toilet”
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Brockmire On Humanity

“If you want to look directly into the gaping maw of oblivion, don’t look up to the heavens. Just look in the mirror.”
Jules-never-seen

See these nuggets and more in the first episode of Brockmire, and see the whole season beginning April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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