Boogie Nights Julianne Moore Mark Wahlberg

Funky Facts

10 Things You Might Not Know About Boogie Nights

Flashback with Boogie Nights this month on IFC.

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Boogie Nights might be considered a classic now, but when the script first hit Hollywood, no one knew what to make of it. Paul Thomas Anderson had one film under his belt (the gambling drama Hard Eight), which, while critically acclaimed, wasn’t exactly a hit. When this magnum opus full of porn, sex and drugs made the rounds, it left more than a few execs and actors scratching their heads. So how did Boogie Nights go from a risky script to one of the great films of its time? Here are ten facts that might help explain how it all went down. Can you dig it?


10. Being Good At Acting Bad Isn’t Easy.

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema

Before shooting on the film began, director Paul Thomas Anderson gathered the entire cast, and warned them that acting badly during the porno scenes would be hard for such a talented group. He made it a challenge, pitting them against each other to see who could act the worst, and eventually declared Julianne Moore the winner of the unofficial contest. But really, doesn’t Julianne Moore win every acting contest?


9. Leo Decided He’d Rather Go Down With The Ship, Than Go Down On, Well, Y’Know…

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Leonardo DiCaprio was Paul Thomas Anderson’s first choice to play Dirk Diggler, but turned the part down to star in a little movie called Titanic. Fortunately, he was coming off of The Basketball Diaries with Mark Wahlberg, and suggested his friend for the part. While things seemed to work out for the both of them, Leo did admit in 2010 that “my biggest regret is Boogie Nights. I’m a huge fan of Paul Thomas Anderson, but the first time I met him for that role I hadn’t really seen much of his previous work. Now I love that movie.”


8. Even P.T. Anderson’s Spelling Errors Are Genius.

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema

T.T. Rodriguez, played by Luis Guzman, gets a happy ending of sorts in the movie, opening up a nightclub with his brothers. Unfortunately, they appear to have misspelled their own name on the club’s sign, which reads “Rodriquz.” This error, it turns out, was because Anderson misspelled the word in the screenplay, and everyone just went along with it. The director found the mess up funny, and decided to just roll with it.


7. Sam Jackson Didn’t Want No Mother F’in Part In No Mother F’in Movie About Porn.

LucasFilm

LucasFilm

Samuel L. Jackson, who had just worked with Anderson in Hard Eight, was offered the part of Buck Swope, but didn’t get it, according to the director. In fact, his exact quote upon reading the script was,”what the hell is this?” He promptly passed, and the role went to Don Cheadle who delivered a career-making performance.


6. Burt Reynolds and P.T. Anderson Hated Each Other More Than Smokey And The Bandit.

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema

Burt Reynolds and P.T. Anderson didn’t see eye to eye very often. In fact, Burt used an Irish accent on the first day of shooting for no clear reason, and once threw a punch at the director. Reynolds actually told GQ, “Personality-wise, we didn’t fit…I think mostly because he was young and full of himself. Every shot we did, it was like the first time. I remember the first shot we did in Boogie Nights, where I drive the car to Grauman’s Theater. After he said, ‘Isn’t that amazing?’ And I named five pictures that had the same kind of shot. It wasn’t original. But if you have to steal, steal from the best.” After he saw a cut of the film, Reynolds tried to fire his agent for talking him into doing it. He would go on to receive an Oscar nomination for his work in the film, and then never star in anything worthwhile again.


5. P.T. Anderson Loves A Good Star Wars Reference.

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema

The character of Buck Swope, played by Don Cheadle in the film, had a dream, and that was to sell stereo equipment. But what most fans didn’t notice was that he also dreamed of Star Wars, at least when it came to audio equipment. At one point in the film, he requests “the TK-421 special modification.” TK-421 is the name of the Stormtrooper ambushed by Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in the 1977 classic.


4. Even “The Touch” Composer Was Shocked When Dirk and Reed Performed His Song.

Count Vince DiCola, the composer of “The Touch,” among those who were shocked to see his anthem, first recorded for 1986’s Transformers: The Movie, turn up in an R-rated movie about the world of porn. In a DVD extra for the kid’s cartoon, he talks about the surprise, saying the first thing he did was call Stan Bush, who sang the original version, to have a laugh.


3. Julianne Moore Doesn’t Need Direction.

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema

Anderson says he only gave Julianne Moore one piece of direction throughout the entire shoot. During an intense scene Moore shares with Heather Graham, acting as a surrogate mother while snorting copious amounts of cocaine, she repeats the line, “too many things,” over and over again. He wanted her to say it one more time. That’s it. Otherwise, he was so impressed with her performance, he left her alone.


2. Alfred Molina Is Unflappable, Even When You Set Off Fireworks.

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema

Alfred Molina wore an earpiece blasting “Sister Christian” during his climatic scene in the film. As a result, unlike the other actors in the scene, he never flinches as fireworks are being set off just behind him.


1. Boogie Nights Originated Because P.T. Anderson Watched A Lot Of Porn.

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema

Boogie Nights began as a short film called “The Dirk Diggler Story” that Paul Thomas Anderson made when he was just 17 as a spoof of the porn films he was admittedly watching a lot of at the time. He later adapted it into a mockumentary style feature script, in the vein of Spinal Tap, before completely reworking it into the classic film we can’t stop watching today.

Want more Boogie Nights? See what it would look like as a kung-fu flick below. 

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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Nick Kroll and John Mulaney To Host Spirit Awards

The Spirit Awards Air February 25 LIVE on IFC.

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The 2017 Spirit Awards have finally found their frontmen: Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. And it’s no wonder. Just marvel in their splendid chemistry back when they appeared on Comedy Bang! Bang!:

The pair are prolific within the performing arts community: television (Kroll in The League and The Kroll Show, Mulaney as a writer of IFC’s own Documentary Now!), theater (including Broadway’s current Oh Hello Show), and stand-up comedy. In fact, it’s entirely possible that emceeing an awards show is one of the few remaining line items on their professional bucket lists.

It’s important to caveat this announcement, however. Unlike the bigger and more ubiquitously known awards shows, the Spirit Awards are not, well…boring. (We’re talking to you, Oscar.)

They’re funny. They’re honest. They have quality to match the red-carpet fanfare. And that’s alarmingly special. Last year’s show included some legitimately historic moments, like when transgender actress Mya Taylor won best supporting female, or Kate McKinnon’s hilarious and timely parody of Carol. See more highlights here to get the flavor of the Spirit Awards and read all about Film Independent to dig deeper.

The 2017 Spirit Awards air live February 25 at 5P ET exclusively on IFC.

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