15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About I Spy

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.

Friends Cast Confirms Reunion Special is Coming to HBO Max

David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston in Friends.
David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston in Friends.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Could we be any more excited? After months of reports that the cast of Friends might be coming together for a reunion of sorts, it looks like it's officially a done deal.

According to Variety, all of the six original actors—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—have signed on for an unscripted special from HBO Max. While previous reports claimed each star would likely earn between $3 and $4 million for their appearances, it's now believed their paychecks will be "at least" $2.5 million apiece.

And to make everything even more real, the beloved actors behind the iconic series are personally confirming the news. All six stars took to Instagram quickly after the news dropped to share their excitement. "It's happening," they captioned the posts.

In a statement, HBO Max's chief content officer Kevin Reilly had this to say of the news:

"Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together—we are reuniting with David, Jennifer, Courteney, Matt, Lisa, and Matthew for an HBO Max special that will be programmed alongside the entire Friends library. I became aware of Friends when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation. It taps into an era when friends—and audiences—gathered together in real time, and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans."

The Friends reunion does not have a release date yet, but HBO Max is debuting this May.

Party Like a Hobbit at Chicago’s Lord of the Rings Pop-Up Bar

Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Replay Lincoln Park

One does not simply walk into Mordor, but one does simply walk into The Lord of the Rings pop-up bar in Chicago—as long as you’re at least 21 years old, of course.

Replay Lincoln Park, known for elaborate themed pop-ups for Game of Thrones, South Park, and other entertainment franchises, has transformed its premises into a magical reproduction of Middle-earth aptly called “The One Pop-Up to Rule Them All,” open now through March 23.

Inside, you’ll be able to crouch under an outcropping of tangled tree roots while one of the dreaded Nazgûl lurks above you, high-five a grimacing Gollum, and snap photos with all your favorite Lord of the Rings characters.

nazgul at the lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Nazgûl like to party, too.
Replay Lincoln Park

You might want to skip elevenses to make sure you have plenty of room for a Hobbit-approved feast during your visit. The menu, catered by Zizi’s Cafe, features items like Fried Po-tay-toes, Lord of the Wings, Beef Lembas, and Pippen’s Popcorn.

ent replica at chicago's replay lincoln park pop-up bar
Say hello to a friendly Ent while you munch on "Pippen's Popcorn."
Replay Lincoln Park

According to Thrillist, there will be three different counters in the bar, each with its own specialty drinks. Head to The Prancing Pony for a second breakfast shot (maple whiskey, bacon, and orange juice), or take a trip to Minas Tirith to toss back a palantir shot, made of silver tequila and passion fruit purée. If you’re in the mood for a little dark magic, you can trek over to Mordor and try a “my precious” shot, a fusion of dark rum, orange liquor, and Cajun seasoning.

lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Eye of Sauron is watching you order another round of Mordor shots.
Replay Lincoln Park

For those of you who are happy to accompany your Tolkien-obsessed friends to the pop-up but aren’t exactly tickled at the sight of a moss-covered Ent replica yourselves, take heart in this added bonus: Replay Lincoln Park also boasts more than 60 free arcade games and pinball machines.

[h/t Thrillist]

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