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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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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…