- Award Category Fraud: When Jamie Foxx was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, a few people protested that he should have been considered the star of the movie, and that Tom Cruise only got top billing because he's better known. Another reason for Foxx getting campaigned there was because he was the frontrunner to win Best Actor for Ray that same year, and the studios wanted to avoid potentially splitting the votes for his performances.
- Dyeing for Your Art: Tom Cruise went Silver Fox to play Vincent. He also went through intense firearms training and practiced going incognito (by successfully spending a day going around in public as a delivery man, with only a hat and sunglasses as a disguise, and not having a single person recognize him) to properly portray a character who's both extremely deadly and capable of slipping away in a crowd.
- Fake Nationality: Javier Bardem, Spanish born, plays a Mexican cartel gangster.
- Inspiration for the Work: Australian Screenwriter Stuart Beattie was only seventeen when he took a cab home from the Sydney airport. It was on that ride that he had the idea of a homicidal maniac sitting in the back of a cab, with the driver nonchalantly entering into conversation with him, trusting his passenger implicitly. Beattie drafted his idea into a two-page treatment. Later, when he was enrolled at Oregon State University, he fleshed it out into his first screenplay. Titled The Last Domino, he put the script away, taking it out occasionally for revisions and re-writes over the following years.
- Method Acting:
- According to Michael Mann, Vincent is a man able to get in and out of anywhere without anyone recognizing or remembering him. To prepare for the movie, Tom Cruise had to make Fed Ex deliveries in a crowded Los Angeles market without anyone recognizing him.
- In preparation for his role, Jamie Foxx trained as a cab driver.
- Multiple Languages, Same Voice Actor: Javier Bardem dubbed his character for the Spanish dub of the film.
- Playing Against Type: Tom Cruise in only his second villain role.
- Saved from Development Hell: This movie sat on DreamWorks development books for three years. Mimi Leder was initially attached to direct until it passed on to Janusz Kaminski. It wasn't until Russell Crowe became interested in playing Vincent that the project started generating any heat. Crowe brought Michael Mann on board, but the constant delays pushed Crowe off the project. Mann immediately went to Tom Cruise with the idea of him playing the hitman and Adam Sandler as the cabbie.
- Throw It In!: The part where Vincent jumps over the chair after smashing the glass was a mistake by Cruise. It was left in because Mann thought it added to his character.
- Uncredited Role: Jason Statham has a brief uncredited cameo.
- What Could Have Been:
- Believe it or not, the original idea was to cast Al Pacino as Vincent and Robert De Niro as Max. Yes, DeNiro's casting was to be in direct homage to Taxi Driver (and possibly to Heat). Eventually, it was decided to go with younger leads.
- Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg were all offered the chance to direct the movie. Scorsese and Lee both showed interest before passing on the offer.
- The original draft was set in Manhattan, New York. When Michael Mann came on board, he shifted the setting to LA.
- Edward Norton, Colin Farrell and John Travolta were considered for Vincent. Russell Crowe came close to playing the role, but couldn't commit to the picture because he was busy preparing for the doomed Eucalyptus. Leonardo DiCaprio was considered, but he was too busy with The Aviator.
- Johnny Depp, Ice Cube and even Adam Sandler were considered for Max. Cuba Gooding Jr. met with Mann about the role but Mann turned Gooding down, because he and Cruise had already worked together in Jerry Maguire.
- Val Kilmer was cast as Detective Fanning, but pulled out before filming began due to schedule conflicts with Alexander.
- Hans Zimmer was attached to the film, in an early stage. He was replaced by James Newton Howard, probably by scheduling conflicts.
Trivia / Collateral