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15 Things You May Not Have Known About Lock Up

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Photo courtesy Lionsgate/Everett Collection

Join us for Happy Hour Thurs, July 10. The day's special: Lock Up at 4:30p.

1. Gateway Prison Is Real… Kind of

“Gateway Prison” in the movie is actually Rahway State Prison in New Jersey. (These days, it goes by East Jersey State Prison.) The production team visited eight different maximum-security prisons around the U.S. before settling on Rahway. Besides Lock Up, the prison has appeared in The Hurricane, Malcolm X, He Got Game, Rounders, and Ocean’s Eleven.


2. The Extras Were Actual Inmates

The extras in the film were actual inmates at Rahway State Prison.


3. Being an Extra Came with Perks

Each morning, director John Flynn had the producers hand-select 200 of the prison’s 1900 inmates to work from 7:30 a.m to 5 p.m. each day. The production reportedly provided the lucky inmates with donuts and coffee each day—luxuries they weren’t normally allowed.


4. Director John Flynn Has Prison (Movie) History

Flynn made a career out directing gritty, no-nonsense dramas, including the 1991 Steven Seagal action flick Out For Justice. But perhaps his most praiseworthy film is one he never got credit for. Flynn served as an uncredited assistant director on another prison-escape drama, 1963’s The Great Escape, starring Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, and more.


5. The Guards Were Real, Too

Most of the guards in the film were actual guards of the prison as well.


6. And They Got Were Compensated

The guards received the standard SAG pay-rate for extras at $93 per day.


7. As Were the Prisoners, Although Not as Much

The prisoner extras received a minimum wage of $26 per day.


8. Stallone Has Been to a Lot of Fake Jails

Stallone knows his way around a prison set. Including Lock Up, he has starred in 10 movies where incarceration plays a key role, including Victory, First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Over the Top, Rambo III, Tango & Cash, Demolition Man, Judge Dredd, and Escape Plan.


9. Stallone Doesn’t Need to Stinking Body Doubles

There were no body doubles during the muddy football scene. Stallone himself was repeatedly tackled by real prison extras while shooting the scene.


10. Eclipse’s Touchdown Dance Was a Tribute to the Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals fans will recognize the dance that Eclipse (played by actor Frank McRae) does after scoring a touchdown in the football scene as the “Ickey Shuffle,” the touchdown celebration made famous by former Bengals fullback Ickey Woods.


11. Frank McRae Had NFL History

McRae was a solid choice for the football scene – he’d actually spent a short stint as an NFL defensive tackle, playing six games for the Chicago Bears during the 1967 season.


12. Danny Trejo Is in the Movie

Danny Trejo makes an appearance as one of the gang members led by the character Chink Weber (played by actor Sonny Landham).


13. “Maybelline” Is an Original 1965 Ford Mustang GT.

It was from the first year of the legendary car’s production.


14. Lock Up Is the First Starring film Role for Tom Sizemore

He plays fellow convict Dallas. The same year he appeared in a brief background part in director Kathryn Bigelow’s film Blue Steel.


15. Composer Bill Conti Also Scored Rocky

Most notably the much-imitated theme, “Gonna Fly Now.”

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