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Trivia / Dog Day Afternoon

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  • Ability over Appearance: Sidney Lumet initially didn't want to cast John Cazale at first due to the age discrepancy between him and his character Sal (Cazale was in his 30s when he played Sal, who in Real Life was barely out of his teens), but Cazale gave too good a performance.
  • AFI's 100 Years… 100 Thrills: #70
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes:
    • #86, "Attica! Attica!"
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • Lumet originally auditioned Charles Durning for the bank manager. Immediately after Durning had read for the part, Al Pacino, a friend of Durning's, asked how the audition went. When he realized that Durning hadn't read for Detective Moretti, Pacino walked Durning back into Lumet to read for the role that he eventually played.
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    • Lance Henriksen auditioned for the part of Leon. He eventually played one of the FBI Agents.
  • Dawson Casting: John Cazale was in his 30s when he played Sal, who in Real Life was barely out of his teens. Lumet didn't want to cast Cazale at first due to the obvious age discrepancy, but Cazale gave too good a performance.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Al Pacino originally grew a mustache as a way to help him deal with the fact that he was playing a gay man. In Sidney Lumet's words, however, Pacino's mustache "looked terrible." And after the first day of filming, Pacino agreed. Watching the footage, Pacino told Lumet, "The mustache has got to go," and asked if he could shave it and redo that day's work. Lumet agreed, and the mustache was gone-as was a day's worth of footage.
  • Method Acting: During production, Al Pacino reportedly only slept a couple hours a night, ate sparingly, and would sometimes take cold showers; this was in order to emphasize Sonny's disheveled, exhausted and yet wired appearance.
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  • Throw It In!: Much of the dialogue was ad-libbed or improvised, most notably "ATTICA! ATTICA!" Al Pacino also didn't know that John Cazale was going to say "...Wyoming?" when asked what foreign country he wanted to escape to, and his reaction is genuine.
  • Wag the Director: In the original script, Sonny and Leon were supposed to take part in a scene outside the bank in which a heart-felt goodbye was to take place along with a kiss. Al Pacino refused to do this, claiming it would take away from the phone conversation between Sonny and Leon. Frank Pierson was forced to make appropriate changes. This resulted in just the telephone conversation instead.
  • What Could Have Been: When it seemed like Al Pacino might drop out of the film, Dustin Hoffman was the main choice to replace him.
  • Working Title: The original working title was Boys in the Bank. Sidney Lumet hated it because he thought it made the film appear to be a "light, fluffy comedy," and he had it changed to Dog Day Afternoon. He wanted a title that suggested a hot, stuffy day near the end of the summer.
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