Trivia / The Patriot

  • Dueling Movies: This came out around the same time as Gladiator. Though they are set in different time periods it is a similarly themed fellow historical drama/battle epic. Both being about a would be farmer and family man who is forced to fight for freedom against the monarch and his regime ruling over him when his family is attacked by their forces. Both came out after the success of the similarly-themed film Braveheart. Ironically that film's lead Mel Gibson was offered the role of Maximus in the opposing film but turned it down because he thought he was too old for it and wound up playing Benjamin Martin in in this one instead.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Mel Gibson didn't know Jason Isaacs was going to say "Why wait?" in the main page quote. Isaacs went to the filmmakers to say it was too early for the villain to be afraid of the hero. Details can be found here.
  • Fake American:
    • Australian Heath Ledger as Gabriel.
    • Joely Richardson, too. She's a Brit, but plays the sexy sister-in-law/aunt.
  • Follow the Leader: This movie was just one of a couple of R-rated historical battle epics, often times about underdogs fighting against the English, that followed-up the success of Braveheart. Naturally that would become ironic given that after Harrison Ford turned down starring, that film's star/director would take-up the lead role of Benjamin Martin in this one.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • Adam Baldwin as a pro-British anti-American Independence man? Impossible!
    • Lantern-jawed French actor Tchéky Karyo is known in the U.S. mainly for playing icy villains, but here portrays the noble and heroic Major Jean Villeneuve. At least that lantern jaw fits the stereotype finally.
  • Rule of Cool: The gallows used part-way through the film, despite being introduced at least thirty years after the film's setting, and the black powder smoke. The director admits the gallows were inaccurate and he thought it "looked cool". He also thought the black powder didn't produce enough smoke, so he had magnesium added to the gunpowder, causing very violent flashes and blue smoke; you can see many extras looking away while firing because of this.
  • What Could Have Been: The main character was originally supposed to be Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, but was turned into expy Benjamin Martin due to Values Dissonance; the writers found it difficult to gloss over the less-savory aspects of Marion's life story and went with a fictional character instead.
    • Harrison Ford turned down the lead role, because he felt that the film boiled the war down to one man's revenge.
    • Kevin Spacey was the first choice for Tavington, but following Mel Gibson's casting the production couldn't afford him.
    • Joshua Jackson, Elijah Wood, Jake Gyllenhaal and Brad Renfro were considered to play Gabriel Martin. The producers and director narrowed their choices for this role to Ryan Phillippe and Heath Ledger, with the latter chosen because the director thought he possessed "exuberant youth".
    • David Arnold was originally going to score the film before John Williams was hired.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/ThePatriot