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Trivia / Kingdom of Heaven

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  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Orlando Bloom had just finished Troy and was reluctant to do another historical epic, but signed on once he heard it was a Ridley Scott film.
  • Backed by the Pentagon: King Mohammed VI of Morocco, where the movie was filmed, is a good friend of Ridley Scott and personally provided the movie with around 1500 military personnel and equipment.
  • California Doubling: Huesca, Spain stands for France, Seville stands for Jerusalem, and Morocco stands for any exterior shot in the Holy Land.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • Marton Csokas auditioned for Balian. He would play the role of Guy de Lusignan.
    • Edward Norton was actually the first choice for Guy. Upon reading the script, he asked to play King Baldwin instead.
    • Michael Sheen auditioned for the role of Baldwin IV before being cast as the priest.
  • Completely Different Title: In Latin America the film is simply known as Cruzada ("Crusade").
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: An article incorrectly described the film as pandering to Osama bin Laden, and it was later found out that the journalist hadn't even seen the screenplay. After the screenplay was leaked, another article claimed that the film depicted Muslims as stereotypically stupid, backwards-thinking and unable to think in complex forms. These allegations made King Mohammed VI of Morocco worry for Ridley Scott's safety and he provided him with four bodyguards. Ironically when the movie was released, Scott received many letters of thanks from Muslim groups for the even-handed depiction of the religion.
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  • Creator Backlash: Ridley Scott has gone on record that he disowns the theatrical version and much prefers his Director's Cut.
  • Doing It for the Art: Edward Norton requested not to be credited, as his character is constantly masked until after his death, when his leprosy-ravaged face is revealed.
  • Dueling Works: Came out within a year of three other historical battle epics that were following-up on the success of Gladiator. Its competitors being Troy, King Arthur, and Alexander.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Orlando Bloom gained twenty pounds of muscle for his role as Balian.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • The reason the theatrical cut was so much shorter than the Director's Cut. Fox wanted a Gladiator style action movie with a romance subplot, rather than the political drama Scott and co created. On top of that, they thought audiences wouldn't be able to handle a 3 hour film, disregarding high grossing films like Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings. The theater-released version was panned, yet the Director's Cut was critically acclaimed as one of the best movies of the year.
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    • Ridley Scott wanted the character of Sibylla to become a nun at the end of the film but the studio insisted it end with her and Balian ending up together.
    • Ridley Scott used the cue "Valhalla/Viking Victory" from The 13th Warrior for this film. Slightly controversial, given the director's turbulent relationship with The 13th Warrior's composer, Jerry Goldsmith when they worked together on Alien and Legend (1985) that saw Scott cutting off a large part of Goldsmith's music on the former and re-using parts of Goldsmith's earlier score from Freud; while simultaneously throwing out Goldsmith's entire score in favor of Tangerine Dream's music for the latter. Bitter and upset by the rejection, Goldsmith never spoke to Scott again as a a result even unto his passing.
  • Fake Brit: The American Edward Norton gives Baldwin a British accent. The Irish Brendan Gleeson does likewise with Reynald. The Scottish Kevin McKidd plays the "English Sergeant" with no attempt to hide his native accent.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • Despite Saladin being portrayed by an Arab actor, he was actually of Kurdish descent.
    • French characters are played by English actors including Orlando Bloom and Michael Sheen, the Irish Liam Neeson, and the Danish Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
    • Odo, referred to exclusively in dialogue as "the German," is played by Finnish strongman Jouko Ahola.
  • Follow the Leader: Was a part of a wave of films inspired by the success of Ridley Scott's prior historical battle epic Gladiator, with this film's marketing getting a lot of mileage out of highlighting the connection. Then again you can trace this trend's lineage back to Braveheart and even further if one wishes to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves which led to contemporary interest in Medieval adventure/epic films.
  • Star-Making Role: While she had already made a splash in her home country France with her film debut in The Dreamers, this is the film that brought Eva Green to the attention of Hollywood, leading her to being cast in the James Bond film Casino Royale.
  • Throw It In!: During filming of the siege scene, one of the towers caught fire for real and burned down. Ridley Scott liked the authentic look of it and left it in the film.
  • Troubled Production:
    • At the start of the project, KOH originally began as a Russell Crowe vehicle called Tripoli. Screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed) had a script written, Scott signed on to direct, 20th Century Fox greenlit it, sets and art assets were being made and then things went nowhere. After two attempts at getting it off the ground, Monahan began writing Heaven after Tripoli fell apart and Scott always wanted to do a movie about the Crusades.
    • The film was pretty much hit with Executive Meddling from the start, with the execs being very uncomfortable with the length of the script and the subplot of Eva Green's Princess Sybilla's son, who briefly ruled Jerusalem after King Baldwin (Edward Norton) dies. In Scott's words on the 4 disc DVD set, he mentioned that studio heads said that the plot "went off on a tangent". The studio demanded Monahan to write two different versions of the script: One with and without the kid. Scott and co. shot the former.
    • Filming was actually pretty smooth, save for an instance in which Orlando Bloom came down with the flu and suffered some hand injuries.
    • Jeremy Irons' character's name went from Raymond to Tiberius to avoid confusion with Brendan Gleeson's Reynauld, which may not have been a bad thing.
    • When filming wrapped up, Fox was bothered by the length of the cut that Scott had presented them (around 186 minutes) and forced him to cut the film down to a measly 145 running time, exercising the plot about Sybilla's kid, among many other scenes. Their reasoning was that audiences couldn't handle a three hour film, disregarding successful long movies such as the studio's own Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings. They also mismarketed the film, making it seem more like Gladiator set in the Crusades, rather than the Drama that was made. This backfired, resulting in poor box office returns and mediocre reviews (though it did fare better in international markets).
    • Luckily, the film found new life on video in the form of the Director's Cut, which restored the original running time and as a result, received much better reviews than its theatrical version.
  • Uncredited Role: Edward Norton asked not to be credited as King Baldwin, as he spent his screentime behind a mask. However, his name was put back in the video releases of the film.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Paul Bettany and Goran Visnjic auditioned for Balian.
    • Russell Crowe was supposed to cameo as Richard I but couldn't make it due to a scheduling conflict. Iain Glen plays him instead.
    • The first draft of the script opened directly after the shipwreck. The screenwriter William Monahan had wanted to open with the death of Balian's wife, but feared it would make the movie too long. When Ridley Scott came on board, he told Monahan not to worry about length and thus the film opens with the death.
    • Many ideas in the finished film were incorporated from another project Ridley Scott had first put into pre-production called Tripoli. The project was falling apart around the time the Kingdom of Heaven script came along, so Scott opted to work on the latter instead.
    • Alternate endings were filmed, two of which featured Balian arriving back in France alone. As noted above, Sibylla's planned fate was to become a nun to atone for her sins of adultery and murder, but the studio insisted she end up with Balian.
    • Hans Zimmer was originally attached as the film's composer, but was replaced by Harry Gregson-Williams.


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