17 Bankable Facts About 'The Color of Money'

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YouTube

Paul Newman won an Oscar for his second go-around as “Fast Eddie” Felson in 1986's The Color of Money, a one-time collaboration between the iconic film star and acclaimed director Martin Scorsese. A continuation of 1961’s The Hustler, The Color of Money examined Fast Eddie’s story 25 years later, where he convinces the green-but-talented pool player Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise) to let him help him become a real nine-ball hustler. When Vincent proves too strong-minded—and ego-driven—to ever throw a game in the name of a hustle, Eddie himself makes a triumphant return to the game he loves. Here are some facts about The Color of Money that don't roll funny.

1. IT WAS PAUL NEWMAN WHO APPROACHED MARTIN SCORSESE ABOUT THE FILM.

Walter Tevis had written the book The Hustler and its sequel, The Color of Money, yet Newman didn’t care for the adapted screenplay to the latter. So Newman went to Scorsese, as he was a fan of his work, particularly Raging Bull, which he felt had a similar tone to what The Color of Money should be.

2. NEWMAN ALMOST DROVE THE SCREENWRITER CRAZY.

Novelist Richard Price was brought on to work with Newman and Scorsese on the screenplay, which would feature its own interpretation of what happened to Fast Eddie after The Hustler. Price would work on a scene first, then give it to Scorsese, who would read it and give him notes. Using those notes, Price would rework the scenes and submit them to Newman, who gave the writer his own notes. Newman would at times tell the other two, “Guys, I think we’re missing an opportunity here.” "The minute I heard that I would groan, 'Oh, no, here we go again,'" Price told The New York Times. "Unfortunately, he was rarely wrong. But there were points when I thought, 'If I hear ''we're missing an opportunity" one more time, you're going to be missing a writer.'" It was estimated that Price had at least 36 script conferences with Newman.

3. 20TH CENTURY FOX DIDN’T WANT PAUL NEWMAN OR TOM CRUISE IN THE MOVIE.

Fox was “enthusiastic” ... until then-president Sherry Lansing left. The new bosses didn’t like the movie’s script or the two leads. Columbia also passed. Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, at Touchstone/Disney, saw the film's potential and greenlit the production.

4. SCORSESE AND NEWMAN HAD TO RISK SOME OF THEIR SALARIES.

The studio decided that a 50-day shooting schedule and a $14.5 million budget was sufficient for the film. They also worked out a deal where, if the movie eclipsed its set budget, Newman and Scorsese would be responsible for making up the difference, and put one-third of their respective salaries at risk. They ended up finishing the shoot one day early and $1.5 million under budget.

5. JACKIE GLEASON PASSED ON MAKING A CAMEO.

Gleason famously played Minnesota Fats in The Hustler, and his character played a big part in the book version of The Color of Money. "We desperately wanted the character to return,'' Newman told The New York Times, ''but every time we put him in, it seemed like we were trying to glue an arm on a man and make it stick.'' Added Scorsese: ''We finally presented a script to Gleason with Fats in. But he felt it was an afterthought.'' As such, Gleason passed.

6. THE CHARACTER OF JANELLE WAS CREATED AT THE LAST MINUTE.

Just before filming, Eddie’s love interest/bar owner Janelle (Helen Shaver) was added so that Eddie’s relationship with Vincent wouldn’t be misinterpreted.

7. JOHN TURTURRO’S AGENT DIDN’T WANT TURTURRO TO MAKE THE FILM.

John Turturro admitted that he wasn’t getting paid what he felt he was worth to play Julian, but he took the job anyway. During production, he showed his screenplay for Mac to Scorsese, who was complimentary and gave him advice. Mac found its way into theaters in 1992.

8. MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO WAS THE LAST PERSON TO AUDITION FOR CARMEN.

Mastrantonio believes she was the last person to audition for Scarface, too.

9. CRUISE AND NEWMAN HAD MET BEFORE FILMING.

The two met at Newman’s office years earlier, after Newman had seen Cruise in Taps. Newman said, “Hey, Killer.” Cruise responded by claiming he would have taken the Military Academy over if he had five more minutes. Newman called Cruise only by his last name on set.

10. THEY DIDN’T HAVE TIME FOR CRUISE TO LEARN EVERY POOL SHOT.

Cruise prepared for his role by shooting a lot of billiards, estimating that he had improved “200 percent” in a few weeks' time. Cruise performed all of his own pool stunts, except for when Vincent jumps two balls to make his desired shot. Scorsese figured it would take Cruise two days to figure out how to do it himself, but it would have cost precious time and money. Michael Sigel, a technical advisor on the film, performed the trick instead.

11. YOU KNOW THE PERSON THAT VOICES THE OPENING UNCREDITED VOICEOVER.

Scorsese himself spoke of the game of nine-ball.

12. TOP POOL PLAYERS AND ONE STOOGE APPEARED IN THE FILM.

Steve Mizerak, a famous pool player as far as back as a 1978 Bud Light ad, portrayed Eddie’s first opponent in Atlantic City. Jimmy Mataya, better known as “Pretty Boy Floyd,” played Julian’s friend in the Green Room. Keith McCready portrayed Grady Seasons. The Stooges frontman Iggy Pop also appeared as a pool player.

13. THE POOL CUE USED WASN’T A BALABUSHKA.

Eddie and Vincent were both lying to themselves; their cue was a Joss N7 model.

14. SCORSESE GOT THE IDEA FOR GOODFELLAS WHILE SHOOTING THE COLOR OF MONEY.

In a rare moment of downtime, "I read a review of [Nicholas Pileggi's] Wiseguy when I was directing The Color of Money, and it said something about this character Henry Hill having access to many different levels of organized crime because he was somewhat of an outsider," Scorsese told Rolling Stone. "He looked a little nicer. He was able to be a better frontman and speak a little better. I thought that was interesting, because you could get a cross section of the layers of organized crime—from his point of view, of course. So I got the book, started reading it and was fascinated by the narrative ability of it."

15. DAVID GEFFEN WAS UPSET OVER THE SOUNDTRACK.

Robbie Robertson put the soundtrack together, which is best known for featuring Eric Clapton and Robertson’s “It’s in the Way That You Use It” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London.” Geffen would not allow Robertson permission to use his own voice at any point on the album, because he felt that the singer’s first solo record was being delayed on account of his work on the soundtrack. The Band performer still managed to get music from the likes of Clapton, Don Henley, B.B. King, Robert Palmer, and Willie Dixon.

16. INTEREST IN POOL INCREASED FOLLOWING THE FILM'S RELEASE.

Sales of cue sticks in Southern California were reported to have increased by 25 percent a month after the film's release. Pool table sales increased, too. A similar bump in popularity occurred when The Hustler was first released.

17. THE VIDEO GAME ‘DOOM’ GOT ITS NAME FROM THE FILM.

id software found the perfect title for their first-person shooter classic from the scene between Vincent and Moselle (Bruce A. Young). When Vincent was asked what’s in his pool cue case, he asked, “Here?” He then opened the case and said his influential one-word response.

“Doom.”

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

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Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

SIGN UP TODAY: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping Newsletter!

Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

10 Facts About David Fincher's The Social Network for Its 10th Anniversary

Jesse Eisenberg stars in David Fincher's The Social Network (2010).
Jesse Eisenberg stars in David Fincher's The Social Network (2010).
Merrick Morton/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Social Network—a movie made when Facebook was less than seven years old and the social media era was relatively new—seemed destined to age poorly. But in the decade since its premiere in October 2010, the film’s depiction of the website and its young founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is more relevant than ever.

Even if you haven’t logged onto Facebook in years, the film offers plenty to love, from David Fincher’s detailed direction to Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar-winning script. In honor of its 10-year anniversary, here are 10 facts about The Social Network.

1. Aaron Sorkin started writing the script for The Social Network before the book it's based on was published.

Aaron Sorkin makes a cameo in The Social Network (2010).Merrick Morton, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Social Network is officially an adaptation of The Accidental Billionaires, Ben Mezrich's 2009 book detailing the founding of Facebook. But according to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, he had already completed 80 percent of the script by the time he read the book. The project came to him in the form of a 14-page book proposal the publisher was shopping around to filmmakers ahead of the title's release. “I said yes on page three," Sorkin told Deadline in 2011. "That’s the fastest I’ve ever said yes to anything."

Instead of waiting for The Accidental Billionaires to be completed and published, Sorkin started working on the script immediately, doing his own first-hand research for much of the process instead of referring to the book.

2. Shia LaBeouf turned down the role of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.

When Transformers star Shia LaBeouf turned down the role of The Social Network’s lead character, Jesse Eisenberg was hired to play Mark Zuckerberg instead. Superbad's Jonah Hill was another star who came close to being cast in the movie, in his case as Napster founder Sean Parker; ultimately, Fincher decided Hill wasn’t right for the role and cast Justin Timberlake instead.

3. The Social Network wasn’t filmed at Harvard.

Harvard University is integral to the legend of Facebook, and setting the first half of The Social Network there was non-negotiable. Filmmakers ran into trouble, however, when attempting to get the school's blessing. The 1970 adaptation of Love Story been shot there, and damaged the campus; the school has reportedly banned all commercial filming on the premises since then. To get around this, The Social Network crew shot the Harvard scenes at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and two prep schools, Phillips Academy Andover and Milton Academy, in Massachusetts.

4. David Fincher did sneak one shot of Harvard into The Social Network.

To convince the audience that they were indeed seeing Harvard, Fincher couldn’t resist sneaking in a shot of the campus’s iconic architecture. When Jesse Eisenberg runs across Harvard Square (which is not on Harvard property) in the beginning film, some nearby arches (which are on Harvard property) appear in the background. Fincher got the lighting he needed for this scene by hiring a street mime to roll a cart with lights on it onto the campus.

“If security were to stop him, the mime wouldn’t talk," The Social Network’s director of photography Jeff Cronenweth told Variety. "By the time they got him out of there, we would have accomplished our shot.”

5. Natalie Portman gave Aaron Sorkin the inside scoop on Harvard.

Natalie Portman attended Harvard from 1999 to 2003, briefly overlapping with fellow star alum Mark Zuckerberg. While enrolled, she dated a member of one of the university’s elite final clubs, which are an important part of The Social Network’s plot. When she learned that Sorkin was writing the screenplay for the movie, she invited the writer over to hear her insider knowledge. Sorkin gave the actress a shout-out in the final script. During one of the deposition scenes, Eisenberg's Harvard-era Zuckerberg is described as “the biggest thing on a campus that included 19 Nobel Laureates, 15 Pulitzer Prize winners, two future Olympians, and a movie star.”

6. Armie Hammer and his body double went to twin boot camp for The Social Network.

Armie Hammer and Josh Pence (as Armie Hammer) in The Social Network (2010).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Armie Hammer is credited as playing both Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, but he wasn’t acting alone in his scenes. Josh Pence was cast as a body double and Hammer’s face was digitally pasted over his in post-production. For every scene where both twins appear on screen, Hammer and Pence played separate Winklevi, and then they would swap roles and shoot the scene again. This method allowed the characters to physically interact in ways that wouldn’t have been possible with split screens. Pence’s face may be missing from the movie, but his physical performance was still essential to selling the brothers' dynamic. He and Hammer worked with an acting coach for 10 months to nail down the characters’ complementary body language.

7. The Social Network's tagline was changed at the last minute.

For The Social Network’s main poster, designer Neil Kellerhouse made Jesse Eisenberg’s face the focal point. Over it, he superimposed the memorable tagline: “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.” Originally, the text read “300 million friends,” but it was changed under the assumption that Facebook would hit half a billion users in time for the movie’s October 2010 release.

“We were really hedging our bets," Kellerhouse told IndieWire. "But we scooped them on their own story because right as the film was coming out they got 500 million [members] so we got their publicity as well. It worked out super serendipitously.”

8. Fight Club’s Tyler Durden (kind of) makes a cameo in The Social Network.

Sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed the Easter egg David Fincher snuck into The Social Network. In the scene where Mark Zuckerberg is checking someone’s Facebook to cheat on a test, the name “Tyler Durden” can be seen in the top-left corner of the profile. Tyler Durden is the name of the narrator’s alter ego (played by Brad Pitt) in 1999’s Fight Club. Fincher directed both films.

9. The real Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t a fan of The Social Network.

Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network (2010).Merrick Morton, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Social Network doesn’t paint Mark Zuckerberg in the most flattering light, and unsurprisingly, the real-life Facebook founder wasn’t happy about it. Following the movie’s release, he called out its “hurtful” inaccuracies, specifically citing the fictional Mara Rooney character that’s used as his motivation for founding the website. But even he admits that some details were spot-on. “It’s interesting what stuff they focused on getting right," Zuckerberg said at a Stanford event. "Like every single fleece and shirt I had in that movie is actually a shirt or fleece that I own.”

10. A sequel to The Social Network is not out of the question.

The Social Network premiered when Facebook was less than a decade old, and the story of the internet giant has only gotten more dramatic since then. Since settling lawsuits with Eduardo Saverin and the Winkelvoss twins, Facebook has been battling scandals related to privacy issues and its influence on the 2016 election. The last 10 years have provided more than enough material for a sequel to The Social Network, and both Aaron Sorkin and Jesse Eisenberg have expressed interest in such a project. As of now, there are no confirmed plans for a follow-up.