10 Winning Facts About Slumdog Millionaire

Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight Pictures

It's been 10 years since Slumdog Millionaire arrived in theaters, and chances are you’ve still got “Jai Ho” stuck in your head. That’s ok. A.R. Rahman crafts incredible music, and his work on Danny Boyle's Best Picture winner is particularly catchy. Dance your heart out.

Yet Slumdog Millionaire almost never made it into our lives—at least not to the global extent that it eventually achieved. In one of filmdom’s most surprising journeys, a movie about an exploited Indian orphan winning a game show and taking on the mob to be with the woman he loves struggled to get traction with studios before sweeping the Academy Awards and winning millions of hearts.

Use a lifeline: Here are 10 facts about the buzzer-beating epic on its 10th anniversary.

1. THEY DIDN’T GET THE ACTUAL HOST OF KAUN BANEGA CROREPATI, BUT THEY DID GET A WINNER.

Anil Kapoor and Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Danny Boyle originally wanted Shah Rukh Khan to play the part of the game show host Prem Kumar for obvious reasons. One, Khan is probably the most famous Indian actor of the modern era. Two, he hosted Kaun Banega Crorepati (India’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?) for a season. He turned the production down, so they hired Anil Kapoor who, like Khan, had once been a contestant on the dramatic game show where he won 5 million rupees.

2. IT WAS ALMOST RELEASED STRAIGHT-TO-DVD.

Warner Bros. shut down Warner Independent Pictures, the arm set to distribute Slumdog Millionaire, just as the movie was wrapping production, and there was serious consideration about scrapping a theatrical release in favor of the far cheaper home video purgatory of straight-to-DVD. Fox Searchlight saved it from the bargain bin, and, look at that, it went on to make a ton of money and earn a lot of award hardware. In other words, the movie itself went from abandoned rags to Oscar riches.

3. THEY LEFT A CHOREOGRAPHER’S NAME OFF THE CREDITS SO HE GOT AN OSCAR SHOUT-OUT.

If you enjoyed the end credits “Jai Ho” dance performance, you’ve got Longiness Fernandes to thank. You wouldn’t be blamed for not knowing that, though, because his name isn’t in the credits over which his dance routine plays out. To make up for the oversight, Boyle apologized and thanked Fernandes during his Oscar acceptance speech for Best Director.

4. IT WAS THE FIRST BEST PICTURE WINNER SHOT MOSTLY ON DIGITAL.

Boyle and cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle filmed some of the movie on 35mm, but a large portion of it was shot digitally in order to capture the raw immediacy and intimacy of the slums. Mantle and Boyle were both early adopters of digital camera technology, pushing it into the mainstream with zombie film 28 Days Later. It was also the first Best Picture winner since 1928 not to be shot on Kodak film (they used Fuji) and the first Best Picture winner to be sold as non-physical media to fans. A digital copy was included with DVD purchases.

5. COKE AND MERCEDES-BENZ WANTED THEIR LOGOS REMOVED FROM THE FILM.

Ayush Mahesh Khedekar in Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Getting permission to use brands in your movie can be a tricky proposition, especially when you’re associating global powerhouses with poverty and abuse. Boyle said that Coke refused to give permission for their logo to be used in a scene where a conman is clearly using Coke to lure boys away to lives of exploitation (Coke denies the production ever reached out). Mercedes-Benz, according to Boyle, was happy to see their product next to a mansion, but not “driving ‘round the slum!"

6. IT SHARES AWARD SWEEPS AND TOILET SCENES IN COMMON WITH SCHINDLER’S LIST.

As of 2017, Slumdog Millionaire and Schindler’s List are the only two movies to ever win Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTA Awards. They also both include sequences where a child drops into the waste of a pit toilet, so maybe we’ve found the key to dominating awards season.

7. IT WAS ON THE 2007 BLACK LIST.

Unlike the Hollywood Blacklist of the 1940s, the modern-day Black List—curated by Franklin Leonard—highlights the best-loved screenplays among studio and production executives that have yet to be produced. Simon Beaufoy’s script for Slumdog Millionaire was included in the 2007 version of the list alongside The Book of Eli, The Wolf of Wall Street, Selma, and many other notable films.

8. THE STORY EMERGED FROM THE “HOLE IN THE WALL" EXPERIMENTS.

Slumdog Millionaire was adapted from Vikas Swarup’s 2005 novel Q & A, which was inspired by Sugata Mitra’s social experiment involving an internet-connected computer and a group of children living in a slum teaching themselves how to use it.

“That got me fascinated, and I realized that there’s an innate ability in everyone to do something extraordinary, provided they are given an opportunity,” Swarup said. Mitra joked with Swarup that the movie’s title should have been Slumdog Nobel Laureate.

9. IT WAS NOMINATED FOR 10 OSCARS, BUT NONE OF THEM WERE FOR ACTING.

Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Fox Searchlight Pictures

    The soaring romance and thrilling interrogation drama that relies so heavily on the charisma and connectivity of its cast didn’t get a single acting nomination despite its otherwise dominance of the Oscars. Following An American in Paris, Braveheart, and others, it became the 11th movie to win Best Picture without garnering a single acting nomination. 

    10. THE OPERA JAMAL AND SALIM WATCH MIRRORS THE MOVIE’S ROMANTIC SUBPLOT.

    Young Jamal and Salim spy a portion of Orfeo ed Euridice from under the bleachers at the Taj Mahal. The opera is based on the Greek myth of Orpheus, who journeys into the underworld to save his wife after she dies, propelled by an undying love. Its inclusion is a nod to the script’s similarities regarding Jamal’s (Dev Patel) quest to save Latika (Freida Pinto) from different gangland—or “underworld”—elements.

    Matt LeBlanc Says "Weird Things" Happened at the Peak of Friends's Popularity

    Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images
    Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

    Even though it went off the air in 2004, Friends continues find new generations of fans—so much so that there's even an unscripted reunion special in the works. With all the love surrounding the show, one can only imagine that the actors who played the six main characters have experienced the effects of its popularity—both good and bad.

    As reported by Digital Spy, Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, spoke during a pre-recorded interview on The Kelly Clarkson Show about "weird things" that happened while he was filming Friends. When pressed to give an example, LeBlanc recalled a time he saw his house, along with the homes of the five other cast members, on the news—while he was home.

    "I remember one time, it was during the week, I had been flipping channels and watching the news and for some reason, they had a split-screen on the TV, six quadrants," he told Clarkson. "Each was a live shot of each one of our houses, like a helicopter shot. I was watching it and there was no information or news, it was just showing [our] houses."

    Even though the actor found the situation bizarre, there was a very practical silver lining. “I remember looking closely at my house and thinking, 'F**k I need a new roof.' So the helicopter flies away and I get the ladder and I go up there,” LeBlanc added.

    [h/t Digital Spy]

    7 Timeless Facts About Paul Rudd

    Rich Fury, Getty Images
    Rich Fury, Getty Images

    Younger fans may know Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, one of the newest members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the actor has been a Hollywood mainstay for half his life.

    Rudd's breakout role came in 1995’s Clueless, where he played Josh, Alicia Silverstone's charming love interest in Amy Heckerling's beloved spin on Jane Austen's Emma. In the 2000s, Rudd became better known for his comedic work when he starred in movies like Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Anchorman (2004), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), and I Love You, Man (2009).

    It wasn’t until 2015 that Rudd stepped into the ever-growing world of superhero movies when he was cast as Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man, and became part of the MCU.

    Rudd has proven he can take on any part, serious or goofy. More amazingly, he never seems to age. But in honor of (what is allegedly) his 51st birthday on April 6, here are some things you might not have known about the star.

    1. Paul Rudd is technically Paul Rudnitzky.

    Though Paul Rudd was born in Passaic, New Jersey, both of his parents hail from London—his father was from Edgware and his mother from Surbiton. Both of his parents were descendants of Jewish immigrants who moved to England from from Russia and Poland. Rudd’s last name was actually Rudnitzky, but it was changed by his grandfather.

    2. Paul Rudd's parents are second cousins.

    In a 2017 episode of Finding Your Roots, Rudd learned that his parents were actually second cousins. Rudd responded to the discovery in typical comedic fashion: "Which explains why I have six nipples." He also wondered what that meant for his own family. "Does this make my son also my uncle?," he asked.

    3. Paul Rudd loved comic books as a kid.

    While Rudd did read Marvel Comics as a kid, he preferred Archie Comics and other funny stories. His English cousins would send him British comics, too, like Beano and Dandy, which he loved.

    4. Paul Rudd wanted to play Christian in Clueless. And Murray.

    Clueless would have been a completely different movie if Rudd had been cast as the suave Christian instead of the cute older step-brother-turned-love-interest Josh. But before he was cast as Cher’s beau, he initially wanted the role of the “ringa ding kid” Christian.

    "I thought Justin Walker’s character, Christian, was a really good part," Rudd told Entertainment Weekly in 2012. "It was a cool idea, something I’d never seen in a movie before—the cool gay kid. And then I asked to read for Donald Faison's part, because I thought he was kind of a funny hip-hop wannabe. I didn’t realize that the character was African-American.”

    5. Paul Rudd idolizes Paul Newman.

    In a 2008 interview for Role Models, which he both co-wrote and starred in, Rudd was asked about his real-life role model. He answered Paul Newman, saying he admired the legendary actor because he gave a lot to the world before leaving it.

    6. Before Paul Rudd was Ant-Man, he wanted to be Adam Ant.

    In a 2011 interview with Grantland, Rudd talked about his teenage obsession with '80s English rocker Adam Ant. "Puberty hit me like a Mack truck, and my hair went from straight to curly overnight," Rudd explained. "But it was an easier pill to swallow because Adam Ant had curly hair. I used to ask my mom to try and shave my head on the sides to give me a receding hairline because Adam Ant had one. I didn’t know what a receding hairline was. I just thought he looked cool. She said, 'Absolutely not,' but I was used to that."

    Ant wasn't the only musician Rudd tried to emulate. "[My mom] also shot me down when I asked if I could bleach just the top of my head like Howard Jones. Any other kid would’ve been like, 'F*** you, mom! I’m bleaching my hair.' I was too nice," he said.

    7. Romeo + Juliet wasn’t Paul Rudd's first go as a Shakespearean actor.

    Yet another one of Rudd's iconic '90s roles was in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, but it was far from the actor's first brush with Shakespeare. Rudd spent three years studying Jacobean theater in Oxford, England, and starred in a production of Twelfth Night. He was described by his director, Sir Nicholas Hytner, as having “emotional and intellectual volatility.” Hytner’s praise was a big deal, considering he was the director of London's National Theatre from 2003 until 2015.

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