13 Riotous Facts About V For Vendetta

Hugo Weaving in V for Vendetta (2005).
Hugo Weaving in V for Vendetta (2005).
Warner Bros.

Based on the classic dystopian graphic novel series by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, James McTeigue's V for Vendetta starred Hugo Weaving as V, a Guy Fawkes mask-wearing anarchist intent on destroying British Parliament in a totalitarian England of the future. Along the way he saves Evey, played by Natalie Portman, and successfully draws her into his revolutionary plans.

Here are some facts about the movie to remember, particularly on the fifth of November.

1. The graphic novel was inspired by Margaret Thatcher.

October 1985: British prime minister Margaret Thatcher looking pensive at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“Our attitude toward Margaret Thatcher’s ultra-conservative government was one of the driving forces behind the fascist British police state we created in Vendetta,” illustrator David Lloyd explained of his and Moore’s original story for V for Vendetta, which was written in the early 1980s. “The destruction of this system was V’s primary reason for existence.”

2. The writer of Road House got the first crack at adapting the story.

Hilary Henkin (Road House, Romeo is Bleeding) wrote an early adaptation of the graphic novel, which was singled out as one of Hollywood's best unproduced scripts in a 1993 Los Angeles Times article. Her script was described as a “wild, over-the-top saga” and a cross between Les Misérables and A Clockwork Orange. In 1998, Henkin was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing Wag the Dog (1997).

3. The Wachowskis wrote a script for V For Vendetta before they worked on The Matrix trilogy.

Lana and Lilly Wachowski acquired the rights to V for Vendetta in the mid-1990s, then promptly wrote their own screenplay. After directing the three Matrix films, the Wachowskis weren’t interested in returning to directing right away, but they did make alterations to their V for Vendetta script, including moving the story forward in time and making Evey older.

4. V for Vendetta marked James McTeigue's directorial debut.

James McTeigue was first assistant director on the Matrix movies, as well as on Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), and was picked by the Wachowskis to take charge. "A lot of the filmmaking process is about trust, and at the point that [Lana and Lilly] said, 'We want you to direct it,' they were about trusting me to go off and give it the vision it needed to be directed with, so they kind of left me alone," McTeigue said. "They were there if I needed them, and sometimes I’d go, 'Hey, what do you think about this?' and they’d put their two cents worth in, and I could either take it on board or leave it at the door."

5. Alan Moore declined to watch V for Vendetta—or to be credited on it.

Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta (2005)
Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta (2005).
Warner Bros.

Alan Moore had read the screenplay for V for Vendetta and considered it “rubbish.” Moore believed DC Comics and the film industry had knowingly stolen from him. Conversely, David Lloyd praised the movie moments after he had seen it for the first time, declaring it a “fantastic representation” of the work they did, according to McTeigue.

6. James Purefoy was hired to play V—then fired three weeks into filming.

James Purefoy (A Knight’s Tale, Resident Evil) was originally cast as V, but reportedly turned out to be not a “dynamic enough presence” for the filmmakers. Purefoy denied rumors that his departure from the film had anything to do with him being uncomfortable wearing a mask all the time and swore that “it was genuine creative differences.” He was replaced by Hugo Weaving (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Matrix), who broke the ice with Natalie Portman over a “very nice Thai meal.”

7. Natalie Portman and James McTeigue did their homework for V for Vendetta.

McTeigue studied Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers (1966), about Algerian revolution against the French. Portman watched the documentary The Weather Underground (2002), about the late 1960s/1970s American radicals, and read the autobiography of former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, who was shaped by his imprisonment by Soviets, as well as Antonia Fraser’s Faith and Treason, a book on the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

8. V for Vendetta was mostly filmed in Germany.

John Hurt and Roger Allam in V for Vendetta (2005)
John Hurt and Roger Allam in V for Vendetta (2005).
Warner Bros.

Producer Joel Silver claimed moving most of V for Vendetta's production to Germany was economically advantageous for the studio. V’s “Shadow Gallery” was filmed at Babelsberg Studio in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam, the site of Nosferatu (1922) and Metropolis (1927). The late John Hurt, who played High Chancellor Adam Sutler, found it “strange” to play an Adolf Hitler-type character in the middle of Berlin—sometimes in locations where Hitler himself gave speeches.

9. V for Vendetta received unprecedented permission to close down Downing Street.

It took nine months of negotiating with 14 government departments for the filmmakers to gain permission to film on Whitehall, London's famous thoroughfare that runs from Trafalgar Square to the Parliament Buildings. The film shot three nights in a row between midnight and 5 a.m.

10. Natalie Portman’s head-shaving scene had to be shot in one take.

McTeigue utilized three cameras for the scene. "It was a one-shot deal, and that was the most stressful thing about the experience," Portman said. She also claimed that her shaved head made her more recognizable to onlookers.

11. Adrian Biddle, V for Vendetta’s cinematographer, died before the movie’s release.

Oscar-nominated cinematographer Adrian Biddle (The Princess Bride, Thelma and Louise) passed away on December 7, 2005, at the age of 53, following a heart attack. V for Vendetta, which was released in the U.S. on March 17, 2006, was his last movie.

12. It took 200 hours to build V for Vendetta's dominoes.

Four professional domino assemblers prepared the 22,000 dominoes in the Netherlands before the two-day shoot.

13. V for Vendetta was supposed to come out in time for Guy Fawkes Day.

The original plan for V for Vendetta was to release the film on November 5th, for Guy Fawkes Day, and the early trailers said to “remember, remember the 5th of November.” But then the film got delayed in post-production and came out on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. V for Vendetta landed the top spot at the box office during its opening weekend, where it earned more than $25.6 million in its first few days alone.

This $49 Video Game Design Course Will Teach You Everything From Coding to Digital Art Skills

EvgeniyShkolenko/iStock via Getty Images
EvgeniyShkolenko/iStock via Getty Images

If you spend the bulk of your free time playing video games and want to elevate your hobby into a career, you can take advantage of the School of Game Design’s lifetime membership, which is currently on sale for just $49. You can jump into your education as a beginner, or at any other skill level, to learn what you need to know about game development, design, coding, and artistry skills.

Gaming is a competitive industry, and understanding just programming or just artistry isn’t enough to land a job. The School of Game Design’s lifetime membership is set up to educate you in both fields so your resume and work can stand out.

The lifetime membership that’s currently discounted is intended to allow you to learn at your own pace so you don’t burn out, which would be pretty difficult to do because the lessons have you building advanced games in just your first few hours of learning. The remote classes will train you with step-by-step, hands-on projects that more than 50,000 other students around the world can vouch for.

Once you’ve nailed the basics, the lifetime membership provides unlimited access to thousands of dollars' worth of royalty-free game art and textures to use in your 2D or 3D designs. Support from instructors and professionals with over 16 years of game industry experience will guide you from start to finish, where you’ll be equipped to land a job doing something you truly love.

Earn money doing what you love with an education from the School of Game Design’s lifetime membership, currently discounted at $49.

 

School of Game Design: Lifetime Membership - $49

See Deal



At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

Which Friends Character Would Earn the Most Money in the Real World?

Warner Bros. Television/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Warner Bros. Television/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Although Friends went off the air in 2004, the iconic sitcom continues to attract new fans who've discovered the show via re-runs and streaming networks like HBO Max.

To play into this devoted fan base, the professional resume writers at StandOut-CV conducted a fun experiment: They asked more than 3000 fans to predict where Joey, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, and Monica would be today, career-wise. They also took the time to figure out how much each character would earn in their respective fields in the real world. Could we be more curious?

Bringing in the highest salary is Joey, whose acting exploits are projected to earn him approximately $61,022 a year. Next comes Dr. Ross, whose career as a paleontologist brings in an estimated $59,023. After that comes fashion designer Rachel, earning $54,563 a year, followed by Chandler's writer/editor salary of $47,039 annually. Phoebe comes next, with her musical career bringing in an annual salary of $43,604 (although the site doesn't mention how her massage therapy business might factor into her life today). Surprisingly, Monica would bring in the least amount of money; she'd earn an average of $43,165 per year as a head chef.

As far as where fans think the Friends gang would be today, the answers are pretty great: They believe Joey would have expanded his acting career to include his own reality series called Keeping Up With Joey Tribbiani. Monica, meanwhile, would have taken the next step in her culinary career by opening up her own restaurant, and her husband Chandler would have continued his passion for writing at a comics magazine. The last season of Friends follows Rachel as she works as an executive for Ralph Lauren, and fans theorize that she would have used her breadth of experience to start her own fashion brand. It's believed Phoebe would have continued her music career, perhaps even becoming a music teacher, while Ross would have spent time writing dinosaur-themed children's books.

Hopefully, the upcoming Friends reunion special will give fans a final answer on what the characters would be up to today.