15 Infamous Facts About ¡Three Amigos!

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Directed by John Landis with a script by Steve Martin, Randy Newman, and Lorne Michaels, the film follows a goofy group of silent movie cowboys who are mistaken for real heroes by a small Mexican village. To this day, ¡Three Amigos! is one of the most infamous (which we all know means "more than famous") films of the 1980s. It was named one of the Top 100 comedies by both Time Out and Bravo, and is celebrated as a unique collaboration between some of the greatest comedians of all time. There's a lot to learn about "those darn amigos," so here's a plethora of facts about the comedy classic.

1. STEVE MARTIN LEARNED THE ROPE TRICKS HE DID IN THE MOVIE WHILE WORKING AT DISNEYLAND AS A TEENAGER.

Martin worked there part-time from age 10 to 18, first selling guidebooks then hawking spinning lassos in Frontierland, according to D3. "The ropes were hard to sell," Martin explained. "I had to wear a Western costume, cowboy shirt, hat. I did a little bit of that in ¡Three Amigos!"

2. ALL BUT ONE OF THE MOVIES, ACTORS, AND INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS MENTIONED IN THE FILM ARE FAKE.

The film is full of fake movie references, from Harry Flugleman (played by Joe Mantegna), the amigos’ fictional producer, to fake films like Amigos! Amigos! Amigos! and Little Neddy Grab Your Gun. There’s only one scene where a real star of the silent film era is mentioned: When he’s bragging to some of the Santo Poco villagers about his film career, Ned Nederlander (Martin Short) name drops actress Dorothy Gish, telling the confused villagers about the time Gish visited him on set. Today, that name would probably go over about as well with audiences as it did for the fictional villagers. Though she’s largely forgotten today, Dorothy Gish was an actress and director from the silent movie era, as well as the less famous sister of Oscar-nominated actress Lillian Gish.

3. RANDY NEWMAN PLAYED THE SINGING BUSH.

Well, technically, the Singing Bush was played by a bush, but Newman provided its voice. His voice was digitally altered for the role. In an interview with Movies.com, director John Landis explained that he’d considered several different ways of portraying the singing bush—including animating it, or somehow showing its lips moving—but ultimately decided to make the bush more naturalistic, and just let Newman’s singing take over the scene.

4. IT WAS MARTIN SHORT'S FIRST MOVIE ROLE.

Short had been doing sketch comedy—including on Saturday Night Live and SCTV—for years before he landed the part, but ¡Three Amigos! was his breakout film role. He went on to work with Steve Martin in two more films: Father of the Bride (1991) and Father of the Bride Part II (1995).

5. THE ACTOR WHO PLAYED EL GUAPO WAS IN A 1970 MOVIE CALLED TRES AMIGOS.

The Spanish language adventure comedy is largely forgotten today, but Alfonso Arau not only went on to play “El Guapo” in ¡Three Amigos!, he also appeared as the villain, Herrera, in Sam Peckinpah’s classic Western The Wild Bunch (1969).

6. JOHN LANDIS'S FAVORITE MOMENT WHILE SHOOTING WAS AN ARGUMENT WITH CHEVY CHASE.

Landis told Movies.com, “Probably the funniest moment for me when shooting was when I had the Three Amigos on horseback in the desert and I was shooting while they were wearing those ridiculous outfits and after having been shooting for three weeks, Chevy objected to a line of dialogue and he said, 'I don't think I should say this.' And, remember, Chevy plays a character named Dusty Bottoms. So I said, 'Well, why not?' He said, 'Because my character would have to be a moron to say this.' All I could think was, What movie has Chevy been making? So I said, 'OK, I'll give it to Marty because it's a laugh.' Then Chevy said, 'I'll say it!' It's one of my favorite moments with an actor.”

7. SEVERAL FILMS THAT CAME OUT AFTER ¡THREE AMIGOS! SHARED ITS PREMISE.

Like ¡Three Amigos!, films like Galaxy Quest (1999) and Tropic Thunder (2008) have featured movie stars accidentally ending up in real danger. Vulture outlined the many similarities between Tropic Thunder and ¡Three Amigos!, which include everything from similar catchphrases and movie star cameos (Tom Cruise plays Jewish film producer Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder while Joe Mantegna plays Jewish film producer Harry Flugleman in ¡Three Amigos!) to characters eating bats when they’re short on food. Galaxy Quest meanwhile featured a group of washed up sci-fi stars who end up cavorting with real aliens.

Referring to the spate of movies that borrow from the ¡Three Amigos! premise, John Landis said, “They completely ripped it off! The first Pixar movie about the ants, A Bug's Life, took the same plot. It's amazing how often the plot has been used. If Galaxy Quest weren't so funny, it would probably bother me more.”

8. WHILE PROMOTING THE FILM ON DAVID LETTERMAN, STEVE MARTIN INTRODUCED A SERIES OF THREE AMIGOS SOUVENIRS OF INCREASING RIDICULOUSNESS.

These included: Three Amigos rubber cement, holy water (“blessed by the Three Amigos”), turkey basters (in sizes ranging from “Martin Short” to “Steve Martin”), the “Egg McMigo” breakfast sandwich, and Three Amigos contraceptive foam.

9. STEVE MARTIN DEVELOPED TINNITUS WHILE SHOOTING THE FILM.

While shooting a pistol fight in the film, Steve Martin developed tinnitus—a constant ringing in the ears which sometimes fades over time. In Martin’s case, the condition turned out to be permanent: regarding his experience with tinnitus, he explains, “You just get used to it. Or you go insane.”

10. ROGER EBERT GAVE IT ONE STAR.

He called it "too confident, too relaxed, too clever to be really funny," and complained that the performers were underutilized—particularly Chevy Chase who “hardly seems in the movie at all." He also argued that the film lacked the energy of Landis’s earlier comedy, Animal House.

11. IT TOOK SIX YEARS TO GET THE FILM INTO PRODUCTION.

It was originally going to be called The Three Caballeros. Steve Martin, who came up with the original idea, was talking about it in interviews as early as 1980, but it took a long time to find a director willing to make it.

12. FRAN DRESCHER WAS IN THE ORIGINAL FILM, BUT WAS CUT BECAUSE OF TIME ISSUES.

Before she was The Nanny, Drescher had a small part in ¡Three Amigos! as a shallow movie star in the Hollywood segment of the film. Though the film was eventually re-released with deleted scenes, Drescher’s footage didn’t appear—it seems to have been lost entirely over the years.

13. STEVEN SPIELBERG ALMOST DIRECTED THE FILM.

Spielberg considered making the film in the early 1980s with Martin, Robin Williams, and Bill Murray as the leads. Ultimately, he decided to make E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) instead.

14. JOHN BELUSHI, DAN AYKROYD, AND RICK MORANIS WERE ALL CONSIDERED FOR AMIGOS PARTS, TOO.

Martin had initially imagined co-starring in the film alongside Belushi and Aykroyd. It’s unclear what happened—perhaps the film just took too long to make it into production. Next, Spielberg had expressed interest in casting Murray and Williams alongside Martin, but when he dropped out of the project, the idea went with him. Finally, Landis considered casting Rick Moranis as the third amigo—but only if his first choice, Martin Short, was unavailable. Splitsider notes that many of these actors were collaborating with each other around this time: Moranis, Murray, and Aykroyd all appeared in 1984’s Ghostbusters together, while Belushi and Aykroyd famously co-starred in 1980's The Blues Brothers and 1981's Neighbors.

15. A NOVELIZATION OF THE FILM WAS PUBLISHED, WRITTEN BY LEONORE FLEISCHER.

It was an official adaptation of the original screenplay, and was even promoted in the film’s credits. Fleischer has written a number of film novelizations, mostly for classroom use, including the novelization of the Academy Award-winning 1988 film Rain Man.

The Definitive Guide to All the Cats in Cats

James Corden, Laurie Davidson, and Francesca Hayward star in Tom Hooper's Cats (2019).
James Corden, Laurie Davidson, and Francesca Hayward star in Tom Hooper's Cats (2019).
Universal Pictures

Regardless of whether you were impressed, confused, or downright frightened by the trailer for Tom Hooper’s upcoming film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Cats, it’s safe to say that the star-studded cast and “digital fur technology” generated strong reactions all around. And, if you didn’t grow up listening to the soundtrack or watching performers in the 1998 film version purr and prance in furry, feline bodysuits, your shock is completely understandable.

Cats is light on plot, heavy on characters, and sprinkled with words that T.S. Eliot made up for his 1939 poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the basis for the musical. To familiarize yourself with all the eccentrically named cats—and find out who’s portraying them in the film—here’s a comprehensive list of every "romantical, pedantical, critical, parasitical, allegorical, metaphorical, statistical, and mystical" cat you’ll meet.

Admetus

admetus cats film 1998
Really Useful Films

Played by: Eric Underwood

Admetus is a ginger and white chorus cat with no spoken lines, but plenty of strong dancing sequences—perfect for former Royal Ballet soloist Eric Underwood. Though some musical productions have renamed Admetus as Plato (both names are mentioned in “The Naming of Cats”), the film will feature them as two separate characters.

Alonzo

Played by: Bluey Robinson

Alonzo is another chorus cat, identifiable by the black patches of fur on his face and the black-and-white stripes on his head. Apart from his ensemble appearances, he has intermittent solo lines and also assists Munkustrap during the fight against Macavity. Since singer/songwriter Bluey Robinson will portray him in the film, it’s possible that Alonzo will dance less than he has in stage productions.

Asparagus, the Theatre Cat

Played by: Sir Ian McKellen

Nicknamed “Gus,” this elderly, trembling tabby has an impressive acting history, which he recounts at length during his song (along with a few disparaging comments about how the theater isn’t what it once was, and kittens these days aren’t properly trained). Who better to play one of the Jellicles’ most well-respected thespians than one of the humans' most well-respected thespians, Sir Ian McKellen?

Bombalurina

Played by: Taylor Swift

Though Bombalurina is only mentioned by name once (in “The Naming of Cats”), she’s pretty hard to miss: the slinky, red-coated cat helps introduce Jennyanydots, the Rum Tum Tugger, Grizabella, Bustopher Jones, and Macavity. She most often sings with Demeter, her duet partner for “Macavity the Mystery Cat.”

Bustopher Jones

Played by: James Corden

Known as “the Brummell of cats,” this black-and-white, epicurean dandy frequents gentlemen’s clubs, wears white spats, and weighs a whopping 25 pounds. Jones’s genial manner endears him to just about everyone—not unlike James Corden.

Cassandra

cassandra in 1998's cats film
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Played by: Mette Towley

With her sleek brown coat and her regal, mysterious manner, Cassandra seems like she might’ve been worshipped by ancient Egyptians in a past life. You might recognize Mette Towley, a member of Pharrell’s dance group, The Baes, from her appearances in 2019’s Hustlers and Rihanna’s “Lemon” music video—and you can be sure that she’ll uphold Cassandra’s legacy as one of the most eye-catching chorus cats.

Coricopat and Tantomile

Played by: Jaih Betote and Zizi Strallen

These striped twin tabby cats always move in unison and boast psychic abilities. Though the roles are sometimes cut from theatrical productions, we’ll get to see them in the film, played by hip hop dancer Jaih Betote and Zizi Strallen, best known for her work as Mary Poppins in the recent West End revival.

Demeter

demeter in 1998's cats film
Really Useful Films

Played by: Daniela Norman

This multicolored, slightly skittish cat usually duets with Bombalurina, and together they perform “Macavity the Mystery Cat” in full. It’s often implied that Demeter has a complicated romantic past with Macavity, who tries to abduct her during his attack. British ballet dancer Daniela Norman will star opposite Taylor Swift’s Bombalurina in the film, and you can also see her in Netflix’s upcoming ballet drama series Tiny Pretty Things.

Grizabella, the Glamour Cat

Played by: Jennifer Hudson

This aging starlet is now decrepit, depressed, and shamefully rejected by the rest of the Jellicles—think Sunset Boulevard’s Norma Desmond with more self-awareness and very raggedy fur. Even if the Cats original cast recording wasn’t the soundtrack for your childhood road trips, you might have heard Grizabella’s song “Memory;” it’s been covered by Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Barry Manilow, Glee’s Chris Colfer, and more. American Idol alum (and general ballad-belting powerhouse) Jennifer Hudson will bring her Academy Award-winning talents to the role of Grizabella in the film.

Growltiger and Griddlebone

Played by: Ray Winstone and Melissa Madden Gray

Growltiger, a rough-riding sea captain cat, and Griddlebone, his fluffy white lover, appear during “Growltiger’s Last Stand,” during which Gus reminisces about having played the part of Growltiger in a stage production long ago. The characters have been left out of some productions, including the 1998 film, but Hooper’s version will feature them, where they'll be played by British actor Ray Winstone and Australian performer Melissa Madden Gray (whose stage name, fittingly, is Meow Meow).

Jellylorum

Played by: Freya Rowley

Named after T.S. Eliot’s own cat, Jellylorum is a maternal calico who cares for Gus and also helps introduce Jennyanydots and Bustopher Jones. Though sometimes portrayed as older and more mature than some of the other cats, Freya Rowley (who performed as Tantomile on the UK tour of Cats) will likely bring a younger energy to the character.

Jennyanydots, the Old Gumbie Cat

Played by: Rebel Wilson

Jennyanydots is a goofy old tabby cat who lazes around all day and spends her nights teaching the basement vermin various household skills, etiquette, and performing arts. Under her tutelage, the mice learn to crochet, the cockroaches become helpful boy scouts, and the beetles form a tap-dancing troupe. Rebel Wilson is a perfect match for such a multifaceted, eccentric, and amusing gumbie cat (whatever gumbie is).

Macavity, the Mystery Cat

Played by: Idris Elba

The show’s main antagonist is a tall, thin criminal cat with sunken eyes and dusty ginger fur. While the Jellicles are plainly terrified of this “monster of depravity,” they also seem eerily impressed by his ability to elude capture and conviction. Historically, Macavity hasn’t done any speaking, singing, or dancing—he only shows up briefly to kidnap Old Deuteronomy during a rousing cat fight—but here’s hoping that Hooper has broadened the role for the film so we get to hear at least a good growl or two from Idris Elba.

Mr. Mistoffelees

Played by: Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson, who played Shakespeare in TNT’s Will, will take on the role of Mr. Mistoffelees, an affable tuxedo cat who peppers his magic tricks with plenty of high leaps and pizzazz. He’s generally beloved by the rest of the cats, and he also saves the day by conjuring Old Deuteronomy from wherever Macavity had hidden him.

Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer

Played by: Danny Collins and Naoimh Morgan

These two roguish calicos describe themselves as “knockabout clowns, quick-change comedians, tightrope walkers, and acrobats.” They’re also partners in petty crime, notorious for smashing vases, stealing pearls, and generally wreaking havoc upon their posh family in Victoria Grove. British dancer Danny Collins will join Naoimh Morgan—who actually played Rumpleteazer in the Cats international tour—to bring the spirited rascals to life in the film.

Munkustrap

Played by: Robert Fairchild

Without Munkustrap, viewers would have little hope of understanding what’s actually happening in this vaguely plotted musical. Though there’s no song to introduce him, the striking, silver cat is still arguably the most important character: He describes the function of the Jellicle Ball, narrates the action as it unfolds, and leads the charge against Macavity’s attack. It takes a certified musical theater machine to play such an integral part, and Hooper has surely found that in Robert Fairchild, former New York City Ballet principal dancer and Tony Award nominee for An American in Paris.

Old Deuteronomy

Played by: Dame Judi Dench

In the gender-swapped role of our dreams, Dame Judi Dench will play Old Deuteronomy, the revered (usually male) town elder who chooses one lucky kitty at the annual Jellicle Ball to ascend to cat heaven, the Heaviside Layer, and be born again. It isn’t Dench’s first time in the junkyard: She was preparing to appear as both Jennyanydots and Grizabella in the original 1981 West End production of Cats when she snapped her Achilles tendon and had to pull out.

Plato and Socrates

Played by: Larry and Laurent Bourgeois (Les Twins)

Though Plato is a chorus cat mentioned in “The Naming of Cats” and included in some stage productions, Socrates was created specifically for Hooper’s film to make room for both halves of Les Twins, also known as Larry and Laurent Bourgeois. The French hip hop duo gained mainstream recognition after Beyoncé featured them in her 2018 Coachella set and subsequent Netflix concert film Homecoming.

Rum Tum Tugger

Played by: Jason Derulo

The Rum Tum Tugger is a perpetually fickle feline with a lot of rock-n’-roll flair and a pair of hips that he seems to have stolen from Mick Jagger himself. In addition to his own song, Tugger also sings “Mr. Mistoffelees” and features in a few other numbers. With Jason Derulo taking on the role for the film, there’s a good chance we’ll see a modernized, moonwalking version of this swoon-worthy cat.

Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat

Played by: Steven McRae

Skimbleshanks is a charming Scottish cat who looks like a friendly tiger and ensures that all is in order on the night trains, which includes everything from patrolling for mice to reminding the guard to ask passengers how they like their tea. With his flaming red hair and graceful precision, Royal Ballet principal dancer Steven McRae definitely has a couple things in common with his character.

Syllabub/Sillabub/Jemima

Played by: Jonadette Carpio

This kitten’s name varies from production to production, but she’s usually characterized by her playful, innocent manner and her willingness to accept Grizabella when the other Jellicles try to shun her. Jonadette Carpio, Philippines native and member of the all-female Krump crew Buckness Personified, will bring her street dance background to the role in the film.

Victoria

Played by: Francesca Hayward

Though lithe, light-footed Victoria doesn’t sing any lines of her own in the original musical, her gleaming white coat and balletic dance solos still make her a standout—so it’s only fitting that Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward will bring her to life in the film, where the role has been expanded into a main character. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Taylor Swift even collaborated on a new song called “Beautiful Ghosts” that Hayward will sing in the movie.

Miscellaneous Chorus Cats

Because theater companies vary in size and scope, certain chorus cats are sometimes omitted from productions—or members of the ensemble just aren’t assigned specific characters. At this point, Bill Bailey, Carbucketty, Electra, Etcetera, Peter, Pouncival, Quaxo, Rumpus Cat, Tumblebrutus, and Victor are all chorus cat names that haven’t been given to anybody in the film, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see extra cats in the shadows. According to Dance Spirit, Corey John Snide and Kolton Krause, who played Coricopat and Tumblebrutus on Broadway, respectively, have both been cast as ensemble members in Hooper’s film.

Star Wars Fan Re-Edits The Mandalorian Into a 1980s Sitcom

Disney
Disney

If you only know The Mandalorian from the memes, you may be surprised to learn that it's a serious space Western—and Baby Yoda isn't the lead character. But while there may be dark themes and intense action sequences, at its heart The Mandalorian is really about an overworked dad learning to bond with his small green son. Now, as Geek.com reports, a fan has given the Star Wars show the warm-and-fuzzy treatment it deserves.

The video below, created by Gareth Wood, reimagines the series The Mandalorian as a classic sitcom. From the VHS tape static to the upbeat theme song, the re-edit transports the show to the long, long ago time of the 1980s. The lead actors—including Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers, and Nick Nolte—are all featured, but Baby Yoda is the rightful star.

When The Mandalorian premiered on Disney+ on November 12, a character that appears to belong to Yoda's species and is simply known as "The Child" instantly took on a life beyond the show. Baby Yoda has developed a mythic status, thanks to quotes from celebrities like Werner Herzog, who was moved to tears by the puppet, and Laura Dern, who claimed she saw Baby Yoda at a basketball game. The character is so popular that fans couldn't wait for the official merchandise to arrive to start making Baby Yoda swag of their own.

Wood's creation is the latest piece of Mandalorian content to go viral. You can watch the full video below.

[h/t Geek.com]

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