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Story Notes for Swordfish

Monday through Thursday, at 8PM | 7C, AMC presents Story Notes — real-time on-air trivia about your favorite movies. Tonight’s movie was Swordfish.

Automotive Notes
John Travolta’s car is a British-made TVR Tuscan.

Award Notes
John Travolta and Halle Berry are part of an elite club – Nominated for both a “Best Actor” Oscar and a Razzie for “worst actor”. Other members of this club include Burt Reynolds, Kevin Costner and Sandra Bullock.

Bio Notes
The year that Swordfish was filmed, Hugh Jackman adopted his first child.

Fans first took notice of Don Cheadle when he played John Littleton on Picket Fences.

Following this movie, Hugh Jackman went on to make X2, The Fountain and The Prestige.

Halle Berry followed Swordfish with an Oscar-winning performance in Monster’s Ball.

Halle and Hugh have been in 4 movies together: This one and the 3 X-Men movies.

Director Dominic Sena is no stranger to dance clubs. He got his start directing videos for Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation.

Casting Notes
John Travolta reportedly passed on starring in Swordfish 6 times before saying yes.

Hugh Jackman was on a roll in 2001, having just starred in X-Men and Kate & Leopold. The director chose him over John Cusack and Val Kilmer for the part.

While they were casting, producer Joel Silver suggested Halle Berry. Director Dominic Sena liked her for the role, saying, “She seems very cosmopolitan.”

You may recognize actress Drea de Matteo from The Sopranos.

Don Cheadle was the director’s first and only choice for this role. He said “Let’s not even talk to anyone else. If we can get Don Cheadle, done deal!”

Gabriel’s hitman is Vinnie Jones, who worked with the same director on Gone in 60 Seconds.

Stan’s daughter is played by Camryn Grimes. She’s best known for playing Cassie on The Young and the Restless.

Sam Shepard (the Senator) won a Pulitzer Prize for writing the play, Buried Child. He’s also been nominated for an Emmy, an Oscar and a Tony.

Tate Donovan (the Senator’s aide) provided the voice for Disney’s Hercules.

In 2001, Berry and Jackman were both among People Magazine‘s “50 Most Beautiful People.”

Finance Notes
Halle Berry made $2.5 million on this movie. It was her biggest paycheck to date.

Gossip Notes
Rumor has it Halle Berry was paid an additional $500,000 for the nudity scene.

History Notes
When this movie came out in Summer 2001, airport security wasn’t as tight as it is now.

In 1987, a 17-year old high school dropout broke into the systems of the DoD, NATO and AT&T.

This movie was released 3 months before 9/11. The studio pulled it from theaters shortly after the attacks.

In 2002, a British hacker got into the Pentagon’s system. He was looking for information on UFOs.

Location Notes
Most locations make you clean up at night and then reset everything the next day, but the town of Ventura allowed the crew to leave the streets as is every night after shooting.

The film features the real streets of downtown LA where the director also shot Gone in 60 Seconds.

Music Notes
International DJ Paul Oakenfold produced this movie’s original score.

Pop Culture Notes
The title “Swordfish” is a reference to computer passwords in movies from Hackers to The Net. It comes from the Marx Brothers movie Horse Feathers. Groucho uses it to get into a speakeasy.

Jackman’s character is based on the hip techie slackers in William Gibson novels. Gibson is known for creating the “Cyberpunk” genre.

Stan Jobson is clearly named after Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. He’s modeled after the cool computer geniuses of William Gibson’s cyberpunk novels.

Agent Roberts’ boss, Bill Joy, is named after the co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Sun Microsystems was a computer systems and software company.

Joel Silver, who produced this movie, also produced The Matrix two years earlier. The explosion you just saw utilized Bullet Time, which was developed for The Matrix.

Quote Notes
Travolta describes his character as “less black and white, more grey.”

Halle on nudity scene: “The nudity thing scared me to death.”

The director on actress Camryn Grimes: “This girl is a pro.”

Producer Joel Silver on Halle Berry: “She brings so much conflict, wisdom and raw sexiness to Ginger. She is the ideal counterpoint to John and Hugh.”

Jackman: “I did five days full-time training. I’m now fully registered as a stunt-driver.”

Travolta says Gabriel is “A man who believes bad things have to be done for the greater good.”

Travolta: “Hugh Jackman is such a pro. To me, he is like the best mix of Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery.”

Producer Silver: “The Internet allows people with a talent for hacking to do things ordinary people can’t do. If you reach a certain skill level, no amount of security or encryption can stop you.”

Random Notes
Actor Sam Shepard loves fly-fishing.

Script Notes
Starting in the middle of the action is a story-telling technique known as “in medias res.”

This is one of the few films where the bad guys win in the end. As Gabriel says at the beginning, “Life is stranger than fiction sometimes.”

Set Notes
The director told Drea de Matteo, “Make the audience hate you right away.”

Travolta and Jackman both love to sing show tunes. On set, they often sang songs from Oklahoma! and other musicals together.

Trivia Notes
Travolta is a certified private pilot whereas Sam Shepard won’t set foot on a plane.

Travolta, like his character, loves cigars. His favorite brands are Davidoffs, Dunhills and Montecristos.

Axl Torvalds (the guy at the airport) is named after Linus Torvalds, who created Linux. Linux is the operating system of choice for most computer hackers.

“Larry the Porn King” is possibly a reference to Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine.

The real No. 1 hacker in the world is actually a man named Kevin Mitnick. He hacked into some of the biggest telecom companies in the world.

128-bit encryption is not secure enough for TOP SECRET information.

“Crackers” aren’t the same as “hackers.” A cracker breaks into security systems while a hacker tinkers with existing software programs.

Government agencies that patrol cyber crime include the FBI, the ATF and the Secret Service.

Computer worms don’t look like real worms. They’re just a bunch of scrolling data.

J. Edgar Hoover was the first director of the FBI. He’s credited with making it a large and efficient agency.

The official U.S. policy is to not negotiate with terrorists.

In some religions, Gabriel is the angel who will blow his trumpet to signal the end of days.

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