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Story Notes for U.S. Marshals

Weeknights during prime time on AMC, you can catch Story Notes — real time trivia and facts about your favorite movies. Below is the online version of the Story Notes for U.S. Marshals.

Anthology Notes
U.S. Marshals (1998) is a spin-off of the blockbuster The Fugitive (1993), starring Harrison Ford.

Just like in The Fugitive, Deputy Samuel Gerard takes over from the local
sheriff and starts calling the shots.

In The Fugitive, the audience knows Harrison Ford is innocent from the start.
In U.S. Marshals, director Stuart Baird didn’t want the audience to be so sure.

Chicago Memorial is where Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) worked in The

In The Fugitive, Gerard saves Newman from a hostage situation. This time he isn’t so lucky.

Award Notes
Tommy Lee Jones won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as Deputy Samuel Gerard in The Fugitive.

Nearly a decade after U.S. Marshals, Jones earned his third Oscar nomination for Valley of Elah (1997).

Biography Notes
This was the first time Tommy Lee Jones played the same character twice. The second time was Agent Kay in the Men in Black movies.

U.S. Marshals was just the second movie directed by Stuart Baird. Baird’s first directing job was Executive Decision (1996) starring Kurt Russel and Halle Berry.

Wesley Snipes is seen as Prisoner 72 in the film, but he launched his action career in Passenger 57 (1992).

Robert Downey Jr. (Royce) was one of the youngest Best Actor nominees in Oscar history. He was just 27 years old when he was nominated for Chaplin (1992).

A year after U.S. Marshals was released, Joe Pantoliano (Cosmo) appeared as Cypher in The Matrix (1999).

Robert Downey Jr. was arrested multiple times between 1996 and 2001, mostly for substance abuse. Since serving time in prison, Downey has been sober for the better part of a decade.

Fifteen years earlier, Tommy Lee Jones filmed scenes for The River Rat (1983) in the same Reelfoot Lake. Coincidentally, he played a fugitive.

Wesley Snipe’s next move was producing and starring in the blockbuster Blade (1998).

In the late ’90s, Daniel Roebuck (Biggs) played Richard Bettina on Nash Bridges.

Tom Wood (Newman) and Tommy Lee Jones also worked together in 1992’s Under Siege.

Lennox Brown (Green Cap) is an accomplished Reggae artist in his home country of Jamaica.

Blooper Note
The date on the surveillance tape is January 12. When Mark Roberts was arrested in Chicago, the detective said the murders happened in December.

Casting Notes
Don Gibb’s a.k.a. “Orge” from Revenge of the Nerds (1984) is seen in the film.

Wesley Snipes (Mark) was one of the biggest action stars of the 1990s. Over his career, Snipes’ films have earned over $1.4 billion worldwide.

Most of the actors playing Gerard’s team of marshals were in the first movie together. Joe Pantoliano (Cosmo), Daniel Roebuck (Biggs), and Tom Wood (Newman) are all back

In 1994, Irene Jacob (Marie) gained international acclaim for her role in Three Colors: Red.

Kate Nelligan (Catherine Walsh) earned an Oscar nomination for Prince of Tides (1991).

Director Stuart Baird used real pilots, instead of actors, to give a more authentic feel.

The sheriff in the film is played by actor and playwright Tracy Letts. In 2008, he won the Pulitzer Price for Drama for August: Osage County.

Director Stuart Baird cast Irene Jacob after seeing her in The Double Life of Veronique (1991). She won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for that performance.

Johnny Lee Davenport (Henry) first worked alongside Tommy Lee Jones in The Package (1998).

Lorenzo Clemons actually worked in the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Chicago.

Patrick Malahide (Lamb) played the short-lived Bond villain Mr. Lachaise in The World is Not Enough (1999).

Marshal Savannah Cooper is played by LaTanya Richardson. She’s married to Samuel L. Jackson.

Director Stuart Baird wanted Marie to be likable so the audience would sympathize with Mark.

Lennox Brown (Green Cap), really does look like Wesley Snipes. So much so that he worked as his stand-in on the Blade trilogy.

Michael Paul Chan (Chen) played Judge Lionel Ping on Arrested Development from 2004-05.

Finance Notes
A studio similar to the one seen in the film near the U.N. would run about $2,000/month today.

Television and movie productions spent $104.1 million in Illinois in 1997, when this was made. It was the most money Hollywood spent in the state since 1993, when The Fugitive was shooting.

U.S. Marshals went on to earn over $102 million worldwide. That’s $140 million by today’s standards.

History Notes
The U.S. Marshals Service is the oldest law enforcement agency in the country. It was established in 1789 to protect all aspects of the judicial process.

Ballistic fingerprinting used in the film was first admitted in court in 1902 by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Location Notes
The crash scene at the beginning of the movie was filmed in Chicago’s Fulton River District. The Fugitive was also set in Chicago.

Interior shots of the sinking plane were filmed in a warehouse on Chicago’s Southwest Side. The entire plane cabin sat on a rocking platform that could be lifted or rotated using joysticks.

To film shots of the plane in water, filmmakers anchored the 40,000-pound plane in the Ohio River. The plane could be flooded with water on cue.

Some scenes in the movie were filmed near Metropolis, Ohio. Metropolis, Illinois is officially recognized by DC Comics as the “Hometown of Superman.”

Roy Willy’s BBQ doesn’t exist. It’s actually the Bay City General store. It’s been around since 1915.

Reelfoot Lake in Northwest Tennessee was a location for the film. It was also used in Raintree Country (1957), starring Elizabeth Taylor, and In the Heat of the Night (1967).

The marshal’s offices were filmed in the exact same building and floor used in The Fugitive (1993).

The Chinese Consulate is located along the Hudson River on Manhattan’s West Side. It’s just over two miles from the Regal U.N. Plaza Hotel, where the marshals are staying.

The filmmakers disguised Chicago’s business district to look like Wall Street for this scene. Director Stuart Baird used eight cameras and 600 extras to capture all the action.

The Bohemian National Cemetery on Chicago’s North Side was used as a location in the film.

Parts of the escape scene were filmed at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago. It is the largest burial ground of Union Civil War soldiers in the Midwest.

The Lorali Retirement Home in Chicago was used to film scenes in the movie. The residents were used as extras.

Music Notes
The music for U.S. Marshals was written by Oscar-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith. Goldsmith scored hundreds of TV shows and movies like Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).

Composer Jerry Goldsmith won an Oscar for eerie music similar to what was heard in the film for The Omen (1976).

Pop-Culture Note
Five months after U.S. Marshals was released, Wesley Snipes got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Prop Notes
The James Bond movie with a pen gun is Never Say Never Again (1983).

The 12-gauge flare gun used in the movie can fire up to 500 feet in the air.

Quotation Notes
Director Stuart Baird filmed U.S. Marshals in 66 different locations. Baird: “The logistics of that are horrendous. It’s like a circus.”

Joe Pantoliano: “When the studio sends you a basket of mosquito repellent you know you’re in for a tough one.”

Without Harrison Ford, director Stuart Baird wanted Wesley Snipes to play the fugitive in U.S. Marshals. Baird: “We needed someone with a great screen presence to counterbalance Tommy Lee Jones.

Wesley Snipes didn’t enjoy the water. He says, “I’m a city boy; I grew up in New York. I can’t swim!”

The filmmakers didn’t want U.S. Marshals to be a clear-cut cat and mouse game like The Fugitive. Producer Arnold Kopelson: “It’s a more complex, more layered story that unfolds as the movie proceeds.”

Director Stuart Baird says Wesley Snipes “wasn’t entirely in love with” the disguise he wore in the movie.

Director Stuart Baird didn’t want to slow down any of the action to make shooting easier. Baird: “Run as hard as you can and we’ll keep up.”

Even though Snipes is a fifth degree black belt, director Stuart Baird wanted him to brawl. Baird wanted the fight scenes to look less choreographed and “more like grappling.”

Director Stuart Baird says Jones is “playing the full force of his curmudgeon, misanthropic character.”

Director Stuart Baird: “I wanted a fight to have a huge scale, a cathedral that they fought in.”

Tommy Lee Jones says, “Gerard’s motivation in the first movie was to do his job and do it well.”

Tommy Lee Jones: “If you don’t have fun while you’re making a movie, the audience probably won’t either.”

Random Notes
In 1998, even if you legally purchased a gun, it was illegal to carry it in Chicago.

In 2010, the Supreme Court overruled the Chicago gun ban. Today it’s legal to carry a gun with a permit.

Bloodhounds have been known to stick to a scent trail for over 130 miles.

Since 1983, the U.S. Marshals Service has captured over 200 of the “Most Wanted” fugitives.

Since the 1980s, more than 3,000 law enforcement officers have been saved by body armor.

It’s not easy, but it is possible to take fingerprints from the inside of a glove.

“Cultural attaché” is often used as a cover story for a spy.

It doesn’t happen often, but law enforcement officers are allowed to borrow your car.

In 2011, it became illegal in New York for an outside driver to interfere with a funeral procession.

Because Chen’s a diplomat, the U.S. could only deport him back to China. The only way the U.S. could keep Chen is if the Chinese waived his immunity.

Tommy Lee Jones has appeared in more than a dozen Japanese coffee commercials.

Set Notes
The Boeing 727 seen in the film was leased by producers from a Las Vegas casino owner for the movie.

The filmmakers worked hard on the plane crash scene because they knew it would have to top the crash in The Fugitive.

The filmmakers studied plane crash videos and photos to see how a plane would break apart.

Tommy Lee Jones actually jumped in front of a car during shooting. They got the shot in one take, no stuntman.

Downey worked with real government agents to prepare for his role as Royce.

Tech Notes
To film shots of the plane landing, a 1,000 pound model airplane was built by a 75-man special effects crew along with a 1,200 foot runway.

To shoot the escape scene, the plane was submerged in a tank that holds 400,000 gallons of water.

To set up a surveillance system like the one in the movie was not easy in 1998. Today, it can be done with a webcam.

Trivia Notes
The Deputy Gerard character was inspired by Inspector Javert from Les Miserables. Both men devoted themselves to law enforcement at the expense of their personal lives.

In 1995, the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS) was created. It’s the only government-operated, regularly scheduled passenger airline in the nation.

Despite looking cold, water in the Ohio River can be 80 degrees or higher during summer months.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Dept. of State.

“DSS” is short for Diplomatic Security Service. DSS operates in 159 countries outside the U.S.

Bears tickets weren’t worth much in 1998. The team finished with only four wins.

The term “mystery guest” was popularized on the 1960s game show What’s My Line?.

Marshals can legally enter a home without a warrant in emergency circumstances. It’s called a “hot pursuit.”

In 2011, the 59th Street Bridge was renamed the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, after the former mayor.

The Bible passage being read at the funeral is Psalm 18:2-6. It’s about a man being saved from “The snares of Death.”

Freighters like the one seen in the movie can be over 1,000 feet long. That’s over 100 feet longer than the Titanic.

Wardobe Note
Newman is wearing a T-shirt from Buddy Guy’s blues club in Chicago.

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