16 Steely Facts About Zoolander
Zoolander will finally be getting a sequel next year, 15 years after it first debuted in theaters. The Ben Stiller co-written and directed comedy about a male model who becomes embroiled in an assassination plot has only increased in popularity since its original release. Here are some facts to enjoy in lieu of participating in a potentially dangerous gasoline fight.
1. DEREK ZOOLANDER MADE HIS DEBUT AT THE 1996 VH1 FASHION AWARDS.
Derek was initially played by Stiller to be a “Luke Perry-type” character, created with writer Drake Sather. Sather had seen Stiller in a parody of Beverly Hills, 90210 a few years earlier on The Ben Stiller Show.
2. THE MOVIE'S OPENING SEQUENCE WAS SHOT DURING THE 2000 VH1/VOGUE FASHION AWARDS.
Specifically, the scenes where Zoolander loses his “Model of the Year” title were filmed during the commercial breaks.
3. THE ROLE OF HANSEL WAS WRITTEN SPECIFICALLY FOR OWEN WILSON.
"Owen was the most important casting to me in the movie because I think he is one of the funniest people around–and the part was written for him," Stiller told Hollywood.com. "I don’t think [the movie] could have [been] made if he couldn’t do it."
4. WILSON WAS NERVOUS SHOOTING THE WALK-OFF SCENE.
The actor claims he isn’t comfortable acting in front of large audiences, nor was he confident in his dancing skills. "So to go out and have to do both those things standing in front of a lot of people was a little bit nerve-wracking," Wilson told The A.V. Club.
5. DAVID BOWIE WAS WRITTEN INTO THE SCRIPT, BUT STILLER HAD NO IDEA WHETHER OR NOT HE'D AGREE TO PLAY THE PART.
Stiller had Bowie in mind to be the judge of the walk-off scene because of his song “Fashion.” Fortunately, Bowie liked what he read.
6. MUGATU’S "DERELICTE" COLLECTION WAS BASED ON REALITY.
In 2008, On the Media reported how Zoolander "is hilarious and ridiculous but not entirely fictional. British designer John Galliano used clothing worn by the destitute as an inspiration for a line in 2000, a hobo chic look."
7. WILL FERRELL DYED HIS HAIR PLATINUM BLONDE THREE TIMES.
Ferrell (Mugatu) said that he had to wear a wig for half a season of Saturday Night Live in order to cover up his platinum hair.
8. JUSTIN THEROUX DID HIS OWN BREAKDANCING.
Theroux, who is co-writing Zoolander 2, was the Evil DJ in the original film. He had breakdanced at Stiller’s wedding to Christine Taylor (Matilda) in 2000, and Stiller asked if he'd show off his skills in Zoolander. Theroux's appearance in the film was inspired by Gary Oldman's character in True Romance.
9. OWEN WILSON DID NOT DO HIS OWN YO-YO STUNTS.
Steve Brown was Wilson’s yo-yo stunt double. In 2001, the same year the movie was released, Brown was named a National Yo-Yo Master.
10. THE ORGY SCENE INITIALLY EARNED THE MOVIE AN R RATING.
Stiller personally went before the MPAA’s 12-member appeals board after failing to get a PG-13 rating, despite re-cutting the scene five times. After getting rid of a goat that was originally in the scene, and convincing the board it was "more silly than sexy," according to the Los Angeles Times, Stiller succeeded in getting his desired rating.
11. BLUE STEEL ORIGINATED FROM STILLER’S OWN MIRROR ROUTINE.
Christine Taylor brought it to her husband's attention that whenever he would brush his hair in the mirror, he would squint his eyes a bit and make what we all now know to be the “Blue Steel” pose.
12. THE DERELICTE FASHION SHOW WAS FILMED IN AN ODD PLACE.
It was supposed to be set in a subway tunnel. It was actually shot in an abandoned power plant in Long Island City.
13. AUDIENCES ALMOST SAW MORE OF MUGATU THAN THEY MAY HAVE WANTED.
Ferrell was asked if he was game to wear pants with an ‘M’ for Mugatu cut out of the butt. He was. "We never actually got around to that, however," said costume designer David C. Robinson.
14. MUGATU WAS INSPIRED BY A MONSTER FROM STAR TREK.
An albino ape creature from the episode “A Private Little War” was known as The Mugato. Stiller frequently drops Star Trek references into his films.
15. THE MOVIE WAS BANNED IN MALAYSIA.
Malaysia's censorship board claimed the film was “definitely unsuitable” for public consumption after viewing the film and seeing that the plot revolves around Zoolander being brainwashed into murdering the Prime Minister of Malaysia. In 2012, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson met the actual Malaysian Prime Minister. There were no incidents.
16. THE WORLD TRADE CENTER WAS DIGITALLY REMOVED FROM THE MOVIE.
Zoolander came out on September 28, 2001, just a few weeks after 9/11. The film featured a shot of the Manhattan skyline, which Stiller decided to digitally alter in order to remove the Twin Towers from the shot. "I find it execrable that you have to alter a scene or two to fit the sensibility of the day," independent film producer Michael Mailer told The New York Times at the time.