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Story Notes for The Quick and the Dead

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

Biographical Notes
Lance Henriksen has just done two other Westerns: Gunfighter’s Moon and Dead Man.

Sharon Stone’s very first movie role was a brief part in Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories in 1980. The former Ford model played Pretty Girl on Train.

Before he was an actor, Russell Crowe was a musician and went by the stage name Russ Le Roq.

Raimi is known for using whip-pan camera moves in all his movies.

Ironically, when he was an acting student, Gene Hackman was voted “Least Likely to Succeed.”

Kevin Conway may sound familiar. He was the Control Voice on The Outer Limits.

Jonothon Gill is a Lakota Indian. After an older extra passed away on set, Gill held a traditional Lakota ceremony to honor him.

The year this came out, Gary Sinise was also in Apollo 13 and the award-winning Truman.

Push-pull shots are another Raimi signature. They are done by zooming out while pushing the camera forward on a dolly.

Blooper Note
Sunglasses were not common in the Old West, usually worn only by the blind or syphilitic.

Casting Notes
Tobin Bell is best known for playing Jigsaw in the Saw movies.

Woody Strode is famous for roles in Spartacus and many John Ford Westerns.

By 1995, Stone was a major star thanks to movies like Basic Instinct and Total Recall. For The Quick and the Dead, she also took on the responsibilities of co-producer.

Mark Boone Junior has been in over 70 movies and TV shows, including Batman Begins.

Pat Hingle is best known for playing Commissioner Gordon in the original Batman movies. No stranger to Westerns, Hingle was a regular on Gunsmoke and was in Hang ‘Em High.

Leonardo DiCaprio is only 20 and had just gotten an Oscar nod for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

Hackman just won his second Oscar for his role in the Western Unforgiven.

This is Crowe’s first Hollywood movie. He was already famous in his native Australia for movies like Romper Stomper and The Sum of Us.

The Swede Gutzon is played by Sven-Ole Thorsen, a Danish bodybuilder and actor. Thorsen plays Tigris in Gladiator and has worked on sixteen Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.

The filmmakers hired a lot of extras from the unemployment rolls in Tucson. Casting director Cecily Jordan said they wanted people “with a million miles on their faces.”

In 2007, Lennie Loftin and Crowe would meet in the West again, in 3:10 to Yuma.

Sinise had just had his breakout role as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump the year before.

Cantrell is played by Keith David. His first onscreen role was in John Carpenter’s The Thing.

Roberts Blossom is known for his roles in Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile and Home Alone. This is Blossom’s final movie role. He retired from acting in the late nineties to write poetry.

One of the henchman is Stone’s brother Michael.

Stacy Linn Ramsower is Young Ellen. The year The Quick and the Dead came out, Ramsower was also in Tank Girl and The Baby-Sitters Club.

Fashion Note
Stone’s leather jacket is the real deal. Over 100 years old, it’s from a Western museum.

Finance Notes
DiCaprio is “worth” a lot more these days. Forbes named him 2011’s Highest-Paid Actor.

Stone reportedly persuaded the studio to hire DiCaprio by agreeing to pay his salary herself.

History Notes
In the mid-to-late 1800s, Wells Fargo was both the major bank and mail carrier to the West.

Stone isn’t the first woman to play a gunfighter. Joan Crawford slung a gun in Johnny Guitar, and Jane Fonda went West in Cat Ballou.

The guns used in The Quick and the Dead are mostly cap locks, the first kind of revolvers. Like muskets, they need to have bullets and powder loaded separately.

Big duels rarely happened in the real West. Gunfighters tried not to confront each other.

Location Note
The Quick and the Dead was filmed mostly at Old Tucson Studios, in Arizona, a classic Western location. Movies like Rio Bravo and McLintock! were filmed there.

Music Note
The Quick and the Dead‘s score was composed by Grammy winner Alan Silvestri. Silvestri also scored Forrest Gump, the Back to the Future trilogy, and Predator.

Pop-Culture Notes
The Quick and the Dead came out in 1995, at the end of the early-nineties’ Western boom. Other Westerns in that boom were Tombstone, Unforgiven, and Dances With Wolves.

Raimi was inspired by classic Western director Sergio Leone. Like Leone, Raimi created a desolate setting and filled it with often grotesque characters.

Prop Notes
All the guns in The Quick and the Dead are authentic for 1878. Many are guns you don’t normally see in Westerns.

Stone’s tiny gun is called a knuckle-duster. It’s made to also be used as brass knuckles.

Because she is using an old-style revolver, Stone has to pull the hammer back for each shot. Stone worked hard to make it look much easier than it is.

The movie features an 1866 Remington derringer. “Derringer” is the name for the smallest gun of a caliber. It’s a misspelling of Henry Deringer, an 1800s gun-maker famous for his pocket pistols.

Quotation Notes
Henriksen (Aliens, Millennium) says he loved playing the role of Ace Hanlon. Henriksen: “I felt like I was that guy. My wife used to walk on set and say, ‘My heart be still!'”

Screenwriter Simon Moore: “When you introduce a woman into that kind of world, something very interesting happens, and you have an interesting dynamic straightaway.”

Raimi: “Gene [Hackman] is so strict. He reminds me of this elementary-school principal teacher I had.”

Costume designer Judianna Makovsky says Stone is “very unglamorous in this movie and she’s the one who wanted that.”

Raimi says Crowe is “what we imagine the American cowboy to have been like.”

Raimi on the cast: “They’re stars for a reason. They have some quality that makes [you] watch even when they’re doing nothing.”

Stone: “The first gunfight, I think she feels like she is going to pass out, and in the last second she gets it together.”

DiCaprio: “[Stone] sort of grabbed me by the back of the hair and pushed her lips against mine.”

Stone: “We are sometimes irresistibly attracted to the dark in ourselves. [Herod] mirrors that darkness for her.”

Hackman: “You can play a monster, and if you manage to show some humanity then you’ve done something as an artist.”

Crowe on Raimi: “Sam’s a lot of fun. He’s kind of like the fourth Stooge.” A big Three Stooges fan, Raimi often credits stand-ins and extras as “Shemps” in his movies.

Moore: “The fewer the numbers get, the more you think, Soon two people are going to face each other, and I don’t want either of them to get killed.”

Raimi hopes that girls look up to Ellen for being righteous and fair but that they “don’t get wrapped up in the message of vengeance. That would be a bad thing.”

Script Notes
Most of the Westerns that came out in the nineties were extremely serious. Moore wanted to make a fast and fun movie more like old spaghetti Westerns.

Moore also wrote Traffik, the 1989 U.K. mini-series that became 2000’s Traffic.

There actually was a love scene between Ellen and Cort later in the movie, but Stone cut it. Stone: “Why would she stop gunslinging and all of a sudden have sex? So I removed it.”

Moore says he “wanted to go back to the fundamental image” of the Western, “which is two people at either end of a street and only one of them is going to make it.”

Set Notes
As a producer, Stone got to handpick the cast and crew, starting with Raimi. She was a big fan of his 1992 movie, Army of Darkness.

Raimi hired Thell Reed, the Fastest Gun Alive, to train the cast in gun fighting. Reed worked on Gunsmoke and The Rebel and is still the go-to guy for accurate Westerns.

Some of the camera moves are called “smash zooms,” a favorite of Raimi.

The cast started training with their guns three months before production started. They would take their guns back to their hotel rooms each night to keep practicing.

Oscar-winning production designer Patrizia von Brandenstein created the town of Redemption. “Nothing lives in the town. Even the cactus is dead, like the spirit of the people.”

The cast had fun on set with the guns. They would greet each other with a “How are you?” and then go for their guns to see who could outdraw the other.

It took two and a half days to film one gunfight. The actors were soaked the whole time. Conway: “That scene was probably the most difficult I’d ever done in my life.”

Because there were so many gunfights, Raimi made sure to make each look different.

With twelve other Westerns filming in 1994, The Quick and the Dead‘s crew faced a shortage of Old West costumes.

Because of the time between when he is told to scram and when he is shot, Raynor Scheine had to do a whole lap around the town before Hackman turned around.

Symbolism Notes
The Quick and the Dead takes place in Redemption, one of several biblical references in the movie.

The town is celebrating the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. It’s a day that honors ancestors — a theme that will become prominent in The Quick and the Dead.

In popular myth and folklore, the ace of spades is known as the death card.

The movie’s title is a biblical reference. It is from the Apostles’ Creed. It warns that those who sin shall be judged, both the quick (meaning alive) and the dead.

Hackman’s character, Herod, is named after King Herod from the New Testament. Herod has all the infants in his kingdom murdered in an attempt to kill baby Jesus.

Technology Note
The Quick and the Dead‘s explosions were done by Al Di Sarro, who also did them for Predator and Die Hard.

Trivia Notes
The Quick and the Dead was the first movie Raimi directed that he didn’t also write. Back then, Raimi was a cult icon for his Evil Dead trilogy, but he wasn’t a household name.

Bracket tournaments started with medieval knights in the sixteenth century.

Henriksen worked on one trick for a month before production began without telling anyone. When he got to the set, he showed it to Raimi, who immediately put it in the movie.

The current fast-draw world record for drawing, firing, and holstering a gun is .252 seconds.

The Quick and the Dead has a total of eleven gunfights.

Stone bought the horse Magic after the movie was over. Stone: “I’ve been riding all my life but never such a fine horse as this.”

Originally, a wedding scene was filmed for Kid and his girlfriend, but it was cut. That scene featured Bruce Campbell, who cameos in nearly all of Raimi’s movies.

Hackman was reportedly the fastest draw on set, practicing every chance he got.

The bullet point-of-view shot is the ultimate Raimi signature. He developed the fast-moving POV shot in his very first movie, The Evil Dead.

The Quick and the Dead became a cult favorite and led to success for its stars and director. Stone got an Oscar nod later that year for Casino, and Crowe won one for Gladiator. Raimi would direct the Spider-Man movies, one of the most successful franchises of all time.

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