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.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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10 Facts About Steve Martin On His 75th Birthday

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Is there anything Steve Martin can't do? In addition to being one of the world's most beloved comedians and actors, he's also a writer, a musician, a magician, and an art enthusiast. To celebrate his birthday (he turns 75 today), here are 10 things you might not have known about Steve Martin.

1. Steve Martin was a cheerleader.

As a yellleader (as he refers to it in a yearbook signature) at his high school in Garden Grove, California, Steve Martin tried to make up his own cheers, but “Die, you gravy-sucking pigs,” he later told Newsweek, did not go over so well.

2. Steve Martin's first job was at Disneyland.

Martin’s first-ever job was at Disneyland, which was located just 2 miles away from his home. He started out selling guidebooks, keeping $.02 for every book he sold. He graduated to the Magic Shop on Main Street, where he got his first taste of the gags that would later make his career. He also learned the rope tricks you see in ¡Three Amigos! from a rope wrangler over in Frontierland.

3. Steve Martin owes his writing job with the Smothers Brothers to an ex-girlfriend.

Thanks to a girlfriend who got a job dancing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Martin landed a gig writing for the show. He had absolutely no experience as a writer at the time. He shared an office with late Bob Einstein—Albert Brooks's brother, who is better known to some as Super Dave Osborne or Curb Your Enthusiasm's Marty Funkhauser—and won an Emmy for writing in 1969.

4. Steve Martin was a contestant on The Dating Game.

While he was writing for the Smothers Brothers, but before he was famous in his own right, Martin was on an episode of The Dating Game. (Spoiler alert: He wins. But did you have any doubt?)

5. Many people thought Steve Martin was a series regular on Saturday Night Live.

Martin hosted and did guest spots on Saturday Night Live so often in the 1970s and '80s that many people thought he was a series regular. He wasn't. Though at the moment, he holds the second highest record for number of guest hosting gigs on the show with 15. (Only Alec Baldwin has more, with 17.)

6. Steve Martin's father wrote a review of his son's first SNL appearance.

Steve Martin hosts a 1986 episode of Saturday Night Live.Yvonne Hemsey/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

After his first appearance on SNL, Martin’s father, the president of the Newport Beach Association of Realtors, wrote a review of his son’s performance in the company newsletter. “His performance did nothing to further his career,” the elder Martin wrote. Martin's dad also once told a newspaper, “I think Saturday Night Live is the most horrible thing on television.”

7. Steve Martin popularized the air quote.

If you find yourself making air quotes with your fingers more than you’d really like, you have Martin to thank. He popularized the gesture during his guest spots on SNL and stand-up performances.

8. Steve Martin quit stand-up comedy in the early 1980s.

Martin gave up stand-up comedy in 1981. “I still had a few obligations left but I knew that I could not continue,” he told NPR in 2009. “But I guess I could have continued if I had nothing to go to, but I did have something to go to, which was movies. And you know, the act had become so known that in order to go back, I would have had to create an entirely new show, and I wasn't up to it, especially when the opportunity for movies and writing movies came around.”

9. Steve Martin is a major art collector.

As an avid art collector, Martin owns works by Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, and Edward Hopper. He sold a Hopper for $26.9 million in 2006. Unfortunately, being rich and famous doesn’t mean Martin is immune to scams: In 2004, he spent about $850,000 on a piece believed to be by German-Dutch modernist painter Heinrich Campendonk. When Martin tried to sell the piece, “Landschaft mit Pferden” (or "Landscape With Horses") 15 months later, he was informed that it was a forgery. Though the painting still sold, it was at a huge loss.

10. Steve Martin is an accomplished bluegrass performer.

Many people already know this, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Martin is an extremely accomplished bluegrass performer. With the help of high school friend John McEuen, who later became a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Martin taught himself to play the banjo when he was 17. He's been picking away ever since. If you see him on stage these days, he’s likely strumming a banjo with his band, the Steep Canyon Rangers. As seen above, they make delightful videos.

This story has been updated for 2020.