Here are some behind-the-scenes tidbits about the 2002 buddy-spy comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson.
1. IT’S ADAPTED FROM A ‘60S TV SERIES OF THE SAME NAME.
The original TV show starred Robert Culp and Bill Cobsy.
2. MURPHY GOT INTO BOXING SHAPE WITHOUT A TRAINER.
The actor bulked up all on his own using a training regiment he knew from when his father and brothers trained as boxers growing up.
3. AND MURPHY DID ALL OF THE BOXING HIMSELF.
No stunt doubles were used for the scenes of Kelly Robinson in the ring.
4. A WORLD-CLASS BOXING TRAINER CHOREOGRAPHED THE FIGHT SCENES.
Fight coordinator Darrell Foster, champion boxer Sugar Ray Leonard’s trainer, was brought in to design the fight sequences. Foster is also well-known for working extensively with Will Smith, getting him into boxing shape for 2001’s Ali and training him for I Am Legend, Hancock, After Earth, and more.
5. THE VILLAIN WAS WRITTEN WITH MALCOLM MCDOWELL IN MIND.
The script described Gundars as “a Malcolm McDowell-type,” so the filmmakers got lucky when he agreed to take on the role.
6. INSPIRATION FOR THE SWITCHBLADE CAME FROM AN UNLIKELY PLACE.
Its warped, reflective invisibility cloak was based on funhouse mirrors.
7. THE ORIGINAL SWITCHBLADE DESIGN WAS MADE FROM TOYS.
First Assistant Director Richard Graves created the Switchblade prototype by piecing together parts from his son’s plastic jet model kits.
8. THE MOVIE WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO TAKE PLACE IN PRAGUE.
Instead, the movie shot on location in Budapest, Hungary, because the film’s producer, Andrew Vajna, lived there. She was eager to use her hometown as the setting because she had never seen it depicted in a Hollywood movie before.
9. CARLOS, THE POMPOUS SUPERSPY, WAS BASED ON A PARTICULAR HOLLYWOOD ACTOR.
The leather-clad and ponytailed spy was allegedly based on Steven Seagal.
10. GUNDARS’S LAIR WAS LOCATED IN A CENTURIES-OLD CASTLE.
Scenes of Malcolm McDowell’s character’s opulent residence were filmed in the 700-year old Buda Castle.
11. THE FILM ALSO SHOT AT A FAMOUS BUDAPEST HOTEL.
The 90-year old Hotel Gellert is known for its baths and spas, though they were recreated on a soundstage for the hotel scenes in the movie so as not to ruin them.
12. THE PRODUCTION EMPLOYED HUNDREDS OF LOCAL RESIDENTS AS EXTRAS.
Six hundred local Budapest actors were used for the party scene alone.
13 MURPHY CAME UP WITH THE IDEA TO SING “SEXUAL HEALING.”
When asked to choose a song for the scene where his character helps Alex try to seal the deal with his crush and fellow spy Rachel, Murphy chose the Marvin Gaye classic.
14. SOME GREENSCREEN TRICKERY HELPED THE FILM’S FINALE.
Because Budapest city officials wouldn’t allow the production to shoot the film’s finale on top of a bridge over the Danube River, the bridge tower was recreated on a soundstage. The surrounding city skyline was patched together using 360-degree photo plates taken on the actual bridge and added to the soundstage location in post-production.
15. THE ENDING WAS ADDED LATER.
They shot the ending in Monte Carlo after test audiences complained that they wanted to know what happened to Rachel after she double-crossed Alex and Kelly.