The 2002 movie Minority Report was a long-planned collaboration between actor Tom Cruise and director Steven Spielberg. Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story of the same name, the movie explores a future in which criminals are captured before they commit their crimes. Here are 15 things you might not have known about the first Hollywood movie to feature a completely digital production design, on its 15th anniversary.
1. IT WAS ORIGINALLY INTENDED AS A SEQUEL TO TOTAL RECALL.
Total Recall was another movie adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story. The Minority Report movie rights were held by cinematographer-turned-director Jan de Bont (Speed, Twister) at one point, who ended up getting a producer credit on the film without ever setting foot on set. Eventually Cruise approached Spielberg about an early version of the script, written for de Bont by Jon Cohen, which Spielberg hired Scott Frank to rewrite. When Cruise and Spielberg’s schedules were finally both clear at the same time, they went to work.
2. IT WAS INTENDED AS A FUTURISTIC VERSION OF THE FRENCH CONNECTION.
Spielberg and screenwriter Scott Frank met for months to talk about the story for Minority Report before the outlining stage even began. The general idea the two came up with was doing The French Connection, but set in the year 2050.
3. MERYL STREEP SIGNED UP TO PLAY DR. IRIS HINEMAN.
Streep's casting was reported in March of 2001, but she didn’t end up in the film at all (Lois Smith played the part). Matt Damon was offered the role of Danny Witwer, but couldn’t do it because of Ocean’s Eleven. Cate Blanchett was offered the part of the precog Agatha, Jenna Elfman was offered Lara Clarke, and Sir Ian McKellen could have been Lamar Burgess.
4. STEVEN SPIELBERG TOLD TOM CRUISE NOT TO TAKE A SALARY.
At the time, Spielberg claimed that he had not taken a salary on a movie in 18 years. And he wanted Cruise to do the same. Instead, the two reportedly agreed to receiving no upfront money in exchange for approximately 15 percent of the box office apiece. (The film made more than $358 million worldwide.)
5. SPIELBERG WANTED TO GET DIRTY.
Spielberg told his longtime cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, that he wanted Minority Report to be the “ugliest, dirtiest movie” he had ever made. This was partially achieved by Kaminski’s “bleach bypass” approach to post-production, which pulled “about 40 percent” of the color out of the final images, but more color was added to the lights. The bleached-out feature gave the film deep shadows and bright highlights.
6. A THINK TANK WAS ORGANIZED TO HELP IMAGINE THE FUTURE.
In order to determine what the world might be like in the year 2054, Spielberg brought together 23 futurists for a brainstorming session. He wanted a reality-based future instead of a science fiction-informed one. All 23 of the participants believed that privacy was going to be a thing of the past. An 80-page “2054 bible” was on hand to keep the movie’s universe consistent.
7. TIM BLAKE NELSON WAS TOLD TO USE A BOSTON ACCENT.
The Oklahoma-born Nelson (Gideon) was thrown a little bit when Spielberg and Cruise went through his rehearsed lines and made some last-minute changes, including the addition of a Boston accent. "It seemed so arbitrary," Nelson told The A.V. Club, "but it was really a brilliant piece of direction because everything suddenly started to click. Not only did it click in terms of pushing me to an extreme that he would appreciate and would work for his movie but every single change they made suddenly made sense rhythmically."
8. THE PRECOGS WERE NAMED AFTER FAMOUS AUTHORS.
Arthur, Agatha, and Dashiell were named for the mystery writers Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Dashiell Hammett.
9. THE CAR FACTORY SCENE WAS BASED ON AN UNFILMED SCENE IN A HITCHCOCK MOVIE.
10. CRUISE DID HIS OWN BATHTUB STUNTS.
Cruise's John Anderton managed to make an air bubble in the tub because of the actor playing him, not from CGI, which Spielberg was prepared to use. Cruise wanted to do it naturally.
11. COLIN FARRELL NEEDED 36 TAKES TO NAIL ONE LINE.
“I’m sure you all understand the fundamental paradox of Precrime methodology” was the one Witwer line that gave Farrell trouble. The actor’s defense was that it was the morning after his birthday. "And I got worse as we went along," Farrell told IGN.
12. A FOURTH OF THE BUDGET WAS FINANCED BY PRODUCT PLACEMENT.
Toyota paid $5 million to get a futuristic Lexus called the Mag-Lev in Minority Report. Nokia shelled out $2 million for the characters to wear Nokia headsets. The Gap, Pepsi, American Express, and Reebok got in on the sci-fi action, too.
13. CAMERON DIAZ AND CAMERON CROWE MADE CAMEOS ON THE TRAIN.
After Spielberg made a cameo in Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky (which starred Cruise and Cameron Diaz), Crowe returned the favor. Originally Crowe was going to be a futuristic bum, but his role was changed to a businessman reading the newspaper. Diaz played a businesswoman talking on her cell phone right behind Crowe.
14. PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON WAS ALSO ON THAT TRAIN.
But even Anderson couldn’t find himself in the movie.
15. JOHN WILLIAMS SCORED THE FILM, BUT CAME TO THE PROJECT RATHER LATE.
Typically, longtime collaborators John Williams and Steven Spielberg begin discussing and working on the score for a project in the very early stages of production. In the case of Minority Report, Williams didn't come aboard until the film was mostly shot. Which ended up working out well for Williams, as he was able to experience the many twists and turns of the film before creating its music, and create an emotional arc to complement that. His noir-style composition for Minority Report was meant to end on a hopeful note for the future. "That surprises a lot of people," Williams said. "We've been in a dark, futuristic mode and then, unexpectedly, there's this lyricism reflecting a sense of innocence and hope."