Trivia / Showgirls

  • Ability over Appearance: In the script, Molly was a chubby Caucasian girl. She's played by the thin African-American Gina Ravera.
  • Alan Smithee: Paul Verhoeven is credited as "Jan Jansen" in the edited TV version.
  • Big Name Fan: Quentin Tarantino has stated that he enjoyed the film, referring to it as the "only ... other time in the last twenty years [that] a major studio made a full-on, gigantic, big-budget exploitation movie", comparing it to Mandingo.
  • Box Office Bomb: Despite being this with a $45 million budget and a $20 million gross, it's still the highest grossing NC-17 film of all time.
  • Contractual Purity: Elizabeth Berkley was looking to avoid this by taking the role; instead, she fell headlong into it. I Am Not Spock probably also played a lot into it; she didn't want to be known as Jessie Spano the rest of her life. In that, she succeeded.
  • Creator Killer: Director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhasnote :
    • Verhoeven's career recovered somewhat from this nadir, culminating in Starship Troopers (usually considered to be his return to form), before leaving America entirely to return to Europe. It does help that he proved he was a good sport by actually showing up at the Razzies, calling it more entertaining than reading the reviews.
    • Eszterhas, formerly the highest-paid screenwriter in Hollywood, took what little cachet he had left and made An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, which finished off both his career and the tradition of using Alan Smithee as a stand-in name for disowned works. That film ALSO won a Worst Picture Razzie, by the way
  • Enforced Method Acting: Paul Verhoeven encouraged tension between Elizabeth Berkley and Gina Gershon to better translate to their characters' rivalry on screen.
  • Genre-Killer: Its instant reputation as a trashy mess rapidly killed off any chance of the NC-17 rating succeeding in its goal of allowing non-porn films with harder-than-R content to get distribution into mainstream cinemas.note 
  • Jossed: Kyle MacLachlan was rumoured to have stormed out of the premiere, but denied those reports - saying he "suffered through the whole two hours of it". Composer Toni Halliday, however, was the one who walked out after forty-five minutes.
  • Old Shame:
    • For nearly everyone involved. Virtually everyone was revolted by the final product, although Paul Verhoeven claimed that critics missed the satire. A few of the cast and crew do poke fun at the movie these days, see below for Elizabeth Berkley.
    • While he didn't walk out of the premiere as reported, Kyle MacLachlan was embarrassed about the film:
    I was absolutely gobsmacked. I said, “This is horrible. Horrible!” And it’s a very slow, sinking feeling when you’re watching the movie, and the first scene comes out, and you’re like, “Oh, that’s a really bad scene.” But you say, “Well, that’s okay, the next one’ll be better.” And you somehow try to convince yourself that it’s going to get better… and it just gets worse. And I was like, “Wow. That was crazy.” I mean, I really didn’t see that coming. So at that point, I distanced myself from the movie. Now, of course, it has a whole other life as a sort of inadvertent… satire. No, “satire” isn’t the right word. But it’s inadvertently funny. So it’s found its place. It provides entertainment, though not in the way I think it was originally intended. It was just… maybe the wrong material with the wrong director and the wrong cast.
  • Playing Against Type: Elizabeth Berkley could not have found a role more diametrically opposed to Jessie Spano if she tried.
  • Star-Derailing Role:
    • Poor Elizabeth Berkley. She did somewhat redeem herself when she appeared on the FOX sitcom Titus as Titus' sister, Shannon, but she wasn't in that many episodes and the show didn't stay on the air very long for her to make people forget that she was in this movie. She started to make a comeback in 2013, appearing on Dancing with the Stars and performing a dance inspired by her infamous scene from Saved by the Bell. She also seems to have embraced her Showgirls fame, by poking fun at herself and interacting with fans on Twitter.
    • We also started to see much less of Kyle MacLachlan following this movie on film, although he's had a healthy TV career since and provided a voice for Inside Out 20 years later.
  • Stillborn Franchise: A sequel was envisioned while the movie was in production, this one with Nomi going to Hollywood and taking on the film industry. Needless to say, the disaster of the film put a kibosh on those plans. That said, a Direct-to-Video sequel called Penny's from Heaven did show up in 2011.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The rape scene, and the subsequent refusal of the Las Vegas big shots to punish those responsible, is based on a real incident that Joe Eszterhas learned of while he worked for Rolling Stone magazine.
  • What Could Have Been:

  • Showgirls managed to win the 1995 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture as well as the special Worst Picture of the 90's award a few years later. Verhoeven was also one of the first to attend the Razzies and accept the award altogether. Showgirls was the third erotic-themed film in a row to win the Worst Picture Razzie; Indecent Proposal and Color of Night came before it, and Striptease followed it.
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