Trivia / Groundhog Day

  • Actor-Inspired Element: The idea of Phil reading to Rita while she sleeps came from Bill Murray. His wife drank too much champagne on their wedding night and fell asleep early, so Murray read aloud to her until he too fell asleep.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • California Doubling: Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is represented by Woodstock, Illinois. The hotel across from the square where Phil jumps to his death from the tower? That would be the Woodstock Opera House.
    • And once you’ve figured that out, you’ll have no difficulty in guessing that the city road that gets closed off and forces the crew to turn around is actually in Chicago (Waukegan, to be exact), not Pittsburgh.
  • Completely Different Title: The Swedish title translates as "Monday the entire week". The movie, however, does not specify what day of the week it is supposed to be, and Groundhog Day (February 2) in 1993 was actually a Tuesday.
  • Creator Breakdown: Bill Murray was going through a divorce during filming, which, coupled with arguments with Harold Ramis over what direction the movie should take, led to their friendship breaking down. They reconciled afterwards, however.
  • Creative Differences: Bill Murray and Harold Ramis disagreed on the tone of the film. Murray felt it should be philosophical, while Ramis thought it should be comedic.
  • Dueling Movies: 12:01, though it's an expansion of the 1990 short of the same name, 12:01 PM.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • See Mistaken for Gay on the main page, and then realize that that scene was improvised by Bill Murray; Ned's reaction was largely genuine. Stephen Tobolowsky (who plays Ned) is a great character actor, and did plenty of improvisation in the film, too.
    • As is usual for Bill Murray, when Rita slaps him, she really does hit him hard. Not surprising, since all of the abuse Murray suffered from Carol Kane in Scrooged were real as well.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Bill Murray was bitten by the groundhog twice during shooting. Murray had to have anti rabies injections because the bites were so severe.
  • Real-Life Relative: The mayor is played by Bill Murray's brother, Brian Doyle-Murray.
  • The Red Stapler: Since the film's release, the town of Punxatawney has now become a major tourist attraction.
  • Shrug of God: How long Phil spent in the loop. Harold Ramis said it was 10,000 years, while Bill Murray mentioned they discussed it and decided on "about ten years" (widely thought to be the "correct" answer).
  • Throw It In:
    • In the DVD commentary, Ramis claims that all he had planned for the scene in which Phil punches Ned Ryerson was just a simple faked punch. Toblowsky, who admits he can be a Large Ham sometimes, turned it into a full-on spin-and-stare-directly-into-the-camera-then-fall maneuver in reaction to the punch. And did so on every single take they tried. Eventually, Ramis just threw it in.
    • After Phil smashes the radio, it keeps playing "I Got You, Babe". However, that wasn't supposed to happen. It was such a wonderful, dark moment that Ramis left it in.
    • In the penultimate encounter between Connors and annoying insurance salesman Ned Ryerson, Murray was ad-libbing when he tells Ned, "I don't know where you're headed, but can you call in sick?" and causes Ned to run away.
    • While filming the "Kidnapping Phil" scene, Murray spontaneously improvised the line "Don't drive angry, don't drive angry!" to cover the fact that the groundhog (which he was holding on his lap) was agitated and trying to escape by climbing over the steering wheel. A moment later the groundhog bit Murray's hand so badly he had to seek medical treatment.
  • Type Casting: Mostly Bill Murray, alternately played straight and inverted during the course of the movie, but a couple of the others could be described as such too.
    Roger Ebert: The Murray persona has become familiar without becoming tiring: The world is too much with him, he is a little smarter than everyone else, he has a detached melancholy, he is deeply suspicious of joy, he sees sincerity as a weapon that can be used against him, and yet he conceals emotional needs.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Word of God stated that they sought to avert this by making sure there were no topical references. Yet Phil lighting a woman's cigarette in a restaurant dates the movie.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original script featured the explanation for the unending loop and its escape clause,note  but they found by leaving it out made the film more magical.
    • They flirted with the idea of a Darker and Edgier film, by taking full advantage of the no consequences mentality, (major cruelty, murder etc.), but they decided not to, realizing a more light-hearted comedy would appeal more to the general audience.
    • The original script had a How We Got Here structure, opening with showing Phil going through a day from beginning to end and leaving his knowledge of everything a mystery before flashing back to the start of the time loop.
    • Apparently, one of the planned scripts showed that Rita was stuck in another time loop.
    • Originally, when Phil snaps, he was supposed to murder the groundhog in its lair. This was changed to him kidnapping him, both because they feared the original plan was too close to Caddyshack, and because they feared it was too dark.
    • Harold Ramis originally wanted Tom Hanks for the lead role, but decided against it, saying that Hanks was "too nice". Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and John Travolta were also dismissed for this reason. Michael Keaton was offered the role, but turned it down.
    • Tori Amos was considered for Rita.

The Jeopardy! game Phil watches over and over is the 1991 Tournament of Champions Semifinal game between Leslie Frates, Mark Pestronk, and Jim Scott (the eventual winner) that originally aired November 11, 1991.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/GroundhogDay