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Trivia / Death Proof

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  • Actor-Inspired Element:
    • Abernathy's hairstyle was Rosario Dawson's idea, wanting to resemble pin-up icon Bettie Page.
    • Zoe Bell's part was completely tailored to the woman herself; some stories even based off her real-life experiences.
  • Cameo Prop: The tank top Kurt Russell wore in Big Trouble in Little China can be seen hanging on the wall of the Texas Chili Parlor.
  • The Cast Show Off: The little sequence of Lee singing along to a song on her iPod was added in because Quentin Tarantino heard Mary Elizabeth Winstead sing, and had her show off her vocal talents.
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  • Creator Backlash: Subverted. Quentin Tarantino said he "over-tweaked" the film but was still proud of it. However, in a 2012 directors round-table conducted by The Hollywood Reporter, he said that "Death Proof has got to be the worst movie I ever did."
  • Creator-Chosen Casting:
    • Quentin Tarantino cast Zoë Bell in the film having worked with her on Kill Bill.
    • Tarantino cast Kurt Russell because "for people of my generation, he's a true hero...but now, there's a whole audience out there that doesn't know what Kurt Russell can do. When I open the newspaper and see an ad that says "Kurt Russell in Dreamer, or "Kurt Russell in Miracle", I'm not disparaging these movies, but I'm thinking: when is Kurt Russell going to be a badass again?"
    • The character of Arlene was specifically written for Vanessa Ferlito, and Tarantino was able to cast her in the role.
  • Deleted Scene:
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    • The theatrical cut of the film has a "Missing Reel" just as Butterfly agrees to do the lapdance. The scene is intact in the European release, and is included in the solo DVD release of the film in the U.S. Also, while the scene is lengthier in those other versions, Tarantino still playfully cuts the scene short when the "film melts on the projector."
    • The first scene with the second set of girls has Stuntman Mike feeling Abernathy's feet while she's sleeping in the car - only to pretend he brushed past her looking for his keys. This explains why Abernathy is the only one who recognizes him later. Again this is included in the European release, and the extended solo DVD release version of the film in the U.S.
    • There was originally to be a scene near the beginning where Jungle Julia and her friends hang out in her apartment. In the excised scene, Jungle Julia dances on her coffee table while holding the jacket for The Cars album Candy-O.
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    • Stuntman Mike shown masturbating after the car crash. This was cut because the next scene would have Earl McGraw explaining that it was a fetish for the character.
  • Inspiration for the Work: Quentin Tarantino came up with the idea when he was having a drunken hotel night with friend Sean Penn. Tarantino wanted to buy a Volvo because he "didn't want to die in some auto accident like the one in Pulp Fiction. In regards to the safety of the car, Penn said, "Well, you could take any car and give it to a stunt team, and for $10,000 or $15,000, they can death-proof it for you." The "death proof" phrase had stuck to Tarantino after that.
  • No Stunt Double:
    • After Zoë Bell was cast, Quentin Tarantino told her that he would hire a second stunt person to take Bell's place in the stunt scenes where her face wasn't visible. Bell insisted on performing every stunt herself, saying if someone else were cast in her role, and she was only performing the stunts, those were the stunts she would do. Tarantino honored her request.
    • According to Tarantino, Rosario Dawson enjoyed the car scenes in the Challenger so much that she requested to be in the car as much as possible during filming, even in shots where she was not visible on camera.
  • Prop Recycling: The jukebox (which belongs to the director) was previously used in Natural Born Killers.
  • Star-Making Role: In a sense for Zoë Bell. Although she had been getting plenty of stunt work beforehand, she received far more offers of work as an actress too.
  • Real Life Writes the Hairstyle: Abernathy's haircut was the idea of Rosario Dawson, who wanted to homage pin-up model Bettie Page.
  • Stunt Casting: Sydney Tamiia Poitier was cast primarily because she was Sidney Poitier's daughter, and she's credited as 'Sydney Poitier' for this reason.
  • Talent Double: The credits list Shannon Hazlett as a "foot double" for Arlene, Vanessa Ferlito.
  • Throw It In:
    • The John Wayne voice Mike puts on when he talks about "the book" was something Kurt Russell improvised to keep from getting bored after a lot of takes. Quentin Tarantino loved it.
    • Pam calling the girls "double fucks" was something Rose McGowan said on the set of Planet Terror (she called Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino that when they were teasing her while she was trying to get emotional before a scene).
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Word of God: This film chronologically takes place before Planet Terror. Some of the infected patients can be seen in the hospital scene. Additionally in Planet Terror there's a memorial for Jungle Julia on the radio.
  • Working Title: Quentin Tarantino's Thunder Bolt.
  • Write Who You Know: Zoë Bell's character was based on her and includes small stories based around her real life experiences, some with Quentin Tarantino.

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