10 Surprising Facts About Lady Bird

Merie Wallace, A24
Merie Wallace, A24

Audiences and critics alike have gone wild for Lady Bird, writer-director Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age tale about a teenager (Saoirse Ronan) chafing against the restrictions of school, family, and life in Sacramento, “the mid-west of California.” Here are 10 hella tight facts about the film, which is nominated for five Oscars.

1. GRETA GERWIG WORE A PROM DRESS ON-SET.

A still from 'Lady Bird' (2017)
Merie Wallace, A24

Greta Gerwig got into the high school spirit of things by wearing a prom dress to shoot Lady Bird’s prom scenes. Gerwig described the pink prom dress Lady Bird wears as “a little tip of the hat for Pretty in Pink.”

2. THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE SCRIPT WAS A MONSTER.

Gerwig began writing Lady Bird in December 2013, eventually landing on a first draft that was a whopping 350 pages long. (If filmed at that length, it would have been more than five hours long.)

3. ITS STAR IS GAGA OVER BRIDESMAIDS.

Lady Bird star Saoirse Ronan is a well-documented superfan of Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids. We’re talking “Bridesmaids-themed birthday party” territory.

4. GERWIG BARED HER SOUL TO JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, ALANIS MORISSETTE, AND DAVE MATTHEWS.

Saoirse Ronan and Greta Gerwig on the set of 'Lady Bird' (2017)
Merie Wallace, A24

In order to secure the rights to early ’00 staples “Cry Me a River,” “Hand in My Pocket,” and “Crash Into Me,” Gerwig wrote personal letters to Justin Timberlake (“You were the soundtrack to my adolescence. Your rise corresponded exactly with my very awkward puberty”), Alanis Morissette (“I saw the film DOGMA because I read that you played God, which seemed totally fitting to me”), and Dave Matthews (“The song ‘Crash Into Me’ was and is the most romantic song ever”).

5. LUCAS HEDGES KEPT HIS CHARACTER’S PUKA SHELL NECKLACE.

Lucas Hedges, who plays Lady Bird’s theater kid paramour Danny, was outfitted in baggy khakis and a puka shell necklace typical of Lady Bird’s 2002 setting. After Hedges was done filming, he kept the necklace.

6. JOHN HUGHES, STEPHEN SONDHEIM, AND HOWARD ZINN WERE AMONG THE REQUIRED HOMEWORK.

Ronan, Hedges and Timothée Chalamet (who plays bad boy Kyle) got research packets of movies, books, and songs from Gerwig to help them relate to their characters. In Hedges's: “Seasons of Love” from Rent, Aimee Mann’s “Save Me” from Magnolia, and Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and Sunday in the Park with George. For Chalamet: Howard Zinn's A People’s History of the United States, The Internet Does Not Exist (per Gerwig, “an essay collection that warns of the dangers of a networked world”), and Eric Rohmer’s My Night at Maud’s. Ronan got Joan Didion books, Paper Moon, and John Hughes’s Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles.

7. SAOIRSE RONAN’S ACNE PLAYED A PIVOTAL ROLE.

Saoirse Ronan stars in 'Lady Bird' (2017)
Merie Wallace, A24

Jacqueline Knowlton, the head of Lady Bird’s makeup department, suggested that Ronan’s acne not be covered up. “I thought it was a really good opportunity to let a teenager’s face in a movie actually look like a teenager’s face in real life,” Ronan said.

8. GERWIG IS ONE OF ONLY FIVE WOMEN IN HISTORY TO RECEIVE AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR BEST DIRECTOR.

Greta Gerwig is only the fifth woman in the Oscars’ 90-year history to be nominated for Best Director. The only other female directors to receive the nod are: Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties in 1977, Jane Campion for The Piano in 1994, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation in 2004, and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010. So far, Bigelow is the only woman to walk home with the golden statuette.

9. THERE WERE ON-SET DANCE PARTIES.

The Lady Bird set had all the normal accouterments: craft services tables, trailers … and dance parties. “We would cry, we would laugh,” Ronan told W Magazine. “We'd have dance parties when we rehearsed. Lucas [Hedges] and I went over to [Gerwig’s] apartment one time and I can't even remember what we played, but we just danced for so long that we got really emotional. She'd play a lot of music on set. It was great. It's good having music around because it subconsciously makes people sort of move to the same beat.”

10. IT PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE LEGACY OF ELAINE STRITCH.

Ronan’s performance of “Everybody Says Don’t” in the scene where Lady Bird auditions for her school musical was inspired by late Broadway legend Elaine Stritch’s rendition of the song. While looking for inspiration for the performance, Ronan told Vulture that she came across “a still photograph of her leaning up against the piano and she’s like half-talking, half-singing the song. She sounded like a real dame, a real broad, and I thought, 'Okay, that’s what I’m gonna do.'"

Rewind Time With This Blockbuster-Themed Party Game

Recapture that '90s vibe with this Blockbuster-themed movie trivia game.
Recapture that '90s vibe with this Blockbuster-themed movie trivia game.
Big Potato Games/Hot Topic

With only one Blockbuster location left in the world, the good old days of wandering video rental store aisles and getting chewed out for late fees are definitely a thing of the past—but like so many relics from the '90s, the pull of nostalgia has ensured that Blockbuster (or at least the brand) won't disappear for good. Now the video store is back in the form of a party game from Big Potato Games that is designed to test the movie knowledge of you and up to 11 friends.

Marketing itself as “a movie game for anyone who has ever seen a movie,” the Blockbuster party game consists of two parts. In part one, players from each team compete head-to-head to name as many movies as they can that fit under specific categories (e.g., movies with Tom Cruise, famous trilogies, movies with planes). In the second half, two teams face off against each other to test their skills at a game of movie-related charades. The catch? Players can only describe movies in one of three randomly chosen ways: acting out scenes, rattling off a famous quote, or describing the films with one word.

The real selling point of the whole package is that Big Potato fit all the game cards and buzzer into a box that is virtually identical to the old-school Blockbuster VHS rental cases, right down to its distinct color scheme and shape. All it's missing is the membership card. 

The Blockbuster board game costs $24 at Hot Topic. That’s a fair price for getting the chance to rewind time.

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15 Clever Breaking Bad Easter Eggs Hiding in Better Call Saul

Patrick Fabian, Rhea Seehorn, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael Mando, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tony Dalton in Better Call Saul.
Patrick Fabian, Rhea Seehorn, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael Mando, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tony Dalton in Better Call Saul.
James Minchin/AMC

As evidenced by Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan and his cohorts have an eye for detail that’s nearly unrivaled. If anything, Better Call Saul—which is originally set several years before the events of Breaking Bad—only proves the point. The series, which is about to kick off its fifth season, focuses on Jimmy McGill (soon to become Saul Goodman) and is full of references to its progenitor, some of which are pure fun, and some of which add a deeper meaning to what we already know. Here are 15 clever Breaking Bad Easter eggs hiding in Better Call Saul.

**Warning: Plenty of spoilers ahead for both series.**

1. Being Kevin Costner

In a throwaway moment in Breaking Bad, Saul mentions to Walt that he once convinced a woman he was Kevin Costner (“If you’re committed enough, you can make any story work”), and in the finale of the first season of Better Call Saul, we see the exact moment he was referring to. In case we thought that Saul was just making the story up for the sake of a pep talk, here’s the proof otherwise.

2. Neighborhood mainstay

If the diner where Jimmy first meets with the Kettlemans looked familiar to you, it’s for good reason. Loyola’s Diner featured in Breaking Bad as a mainstay of Mike’s—he met with Jesse there, as well as Lydia. It’s also, incidentally, a very real restaurant in Albuquerque. And while we’re on the subject of Mike and food, he’s been shown to be fond of pimento cheese sandwiches in both series.

3. Address unknown

David Costabile as Gale Boetticher in 'Breaking Bad'
Ursula Coyote, AMC

In Better Call Saul, it’s shown that Jimmy's office is at 160 Juan Tabo Boulevard (which is a real nail salon). Those of you with a head for directions might also recall that that’s the same street that the ill-fated chemist Gale Boetticher lives on, at 6353 Juan Tabo Boulevard. Breaking Bad fans were thrilled when the karaoke-loving chemist appeared in Season 4 of Better Call Saul (with hopefully more to come).

4. The Ignacio connection

Michael Mando as Nacho Varga in Better Call Saul
Michael Mando as Nacho Varga in Better Call Saul.
Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

When he’s kidnapped by Walt and Jesse after refusing to help a busted Badger, Saul spits out a variety of nonsense in an attempt to stay alive. He also drops a name: Ignacio. So who is he talking about? As we learn in Better Call Saul, this refers to Nacho, who’s become one of the secondary leads on the show. “Nacho” is a nickname, short for Ignacio, which makes sense as a connection given how closely he’s been working with Jimmy/Saul.

5. Cheap tricks

Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in 'Better Call Saul'
Michele K. Short, AMC/Sony Pictures

There’s another callback to the first time that Walt, Jesse, and Saul meet. Despite still having his hands tied behind his back, when Saul agrees to help Walt and Jesse, he tells them to each put a dollar in his pocket in order to secure attorney-client privilege. It seems that Saul got that idea from Kim, who, when she decides to help Jimmy after discovering he’s falsified evidence, tells him to give her a dollar for exactly the same reason.

6. Old afflictions

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill and Mel Rodriguez as Marco Pasternak in 'Better Call Saul'
Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill and Mel Rodriguez as Marco Pasternak in Better Call Saul.
Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

In yet another reference to that fateful first meeting, we learn that Saul isn’t bluffing when he tells Walt and Jesse that he has bad knees. He says the same thing when cops apprehend him in the first season of Better Call Saul. As to why he’s got bad knees to begin with, it all comes from his time as “Slippin’ Jimmy,” when he used to stage falls in order to earn a little bit of money.

7. Car talk

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in 'Breaking Bad'
Ursula Coyote, AMC

Saul Goodman drives a white 1997 Cadillac DeVille with the vanity plate “LWYRUP.” Jimmy McGill’s ride is much more modest: a yellow Suzuki Esteem with a red door. That said, in the pilot of Better Call Saul, we very briefly see a white Cadillac DeVille—Jimmy parks his car next to it, in a truly blink-and-you-miss-it allusion to what’s to come. (Gus, notably, is driving the same blue Volvo in both shows.)

8. Home sweet home

In Better Call Saul, one of the retirement homes that Jimmy visits in his quest to find new clients for his growing elder law business is Casa Tranquila. If it sounds familiar, that's because it's a key location in Breaking Bad as the home of Hector Salamanca, and the place where he kills his longtime nemesis Gus Fring. It’s a nice touch to revisit the location, especially given the fact that Better Call Saul gives us the story as to how Hector wound up in a wheelchair in the first place.

9. What's your poison?

There’s also a nice bit of brand continuity with the made-up tequila Zafiro Añejo. Gus poisons a bottle to get back at Don Eladio in Breaking Bad, and we see the same blue bottle pop up in Better Call Saul when Jimmy and Kim scam a cocky stock broker named Ken. Ken, for his part, seems to be reaping a constant stream of bad karma, as he’s also in Breaking Bad as a victim of Heisenberg’s wrath. He swipes Walt’s parking spot—and has his car set on fire for his trouble.

10. The little piggy

Though Mike is hard as nails, he’s got a soft spot the size of Texas for his granddaughter Kaylee. He gifts her a pink pig plush in Better Call Saul, which crops up again in Breaking Bad under slightly less cute circumstances. He uses the doll as a distraction when an assassination attempt is made on his life.

11. Word games

Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring in 'Breaking Bad'
Ursula Coyote, AMC

The first letters of the episode titles of the second season of Better Call Saul are an anagram for “FRING’S BACK.” It’s a granular sort of trick that the creators have pulled off before: four of the episodes of season two of Breaking Bad spell out “Seven Thirty-Seven Down Over ABQ.” In the season finale, a 737 plane does indeed go down over Albuquerque, or ABQ.

12. Sentimental value

Given that Saul’s Breaking Bad office has a lot of strange objects in it, it’d be easy to miss the octagonal desk. As it turns out, the offices of Saul Goodman aren’t the desk’s first home: it’s seen in the background of Kim’s office in Better Call Saul. It’s retroactive, sure, but it’s still nice to know that Saul has some mementos around.

13. Movie night

Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in 'Better Call Saul'
Ursula Coyote, AMC/Sony Pictures Television

There’s also a little sentimental value in the name of Saul’s holding company, Ice Station Zebra Associates, which he uses to help Walt launder money in Breaking Bad. As we discover in Better Call Saul, Ice Station Zebra is Kim’s favorite movie, due to her father’s affection for it. Though Kim is physically absent from Breaking Bad, small details seem to tie back to her all the time.

14. Set dressing

Krazy-8, may he rest in peace, also shows up in Better Call Saul. The van that he drives has the logo for Tampico Furniture on it, and he’s wearing a uniform with the logo as well. Tampico is where Walt, as he recalls in Breaking Bad, bought Walter Jr.’s crib. Unfortunately, those fond memories aren’t quite enough to save Krazy-8’s skin.

15. Beware of bugs

Before Mike leaves Philly for Albuquerque, a bartender tells him to be mindful of tarantulas. The spider plays a key role in Breaking Bad later on, as a young boy’s pursuit of the bug puts him in Walt’s path—and Todd’s path, by proxy. Determined to make a good impression on Walt, and knowing that there can’t be any witnesses to what they’re doing, Todd shoots the boy in one of the most shocking and cold-blooded moments in the entire series.

An earlier version of this story ran in 2018.

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