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Trivia / Mallrats

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  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $6.1 million. Box office, $2,454,447.
  • Cast the Expert: The fictional host of Truth or Date, Bob Summers, was played by a legit game show host, Art James, best known for The Who, What or Where Game on NBC in the early 70s (which was later rebooted as The Challengers with Dick Clark), the failures that were Blank Check and The Magnificent Marble Machine, as well as the short-lived US version of Catchphrase (which was, ironically, replaced by a relationship-based show called Perfect Match).
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  • Cast the Runner-Up: The book As Askew View 2: The Films of Kevin Smith noted that Joey Lauren Adams was originally promised the role of Rene Mosier, before being cast as Gwen Turner and Brian O'Halloran auditioned to play T.S. Quint but was then hired to play Gill Hicks.
  • Creator Backlash: Kevin Smith famously made a mock apology for how awful this film was on the official movie website just to screw with all the fans who hated it.
  • Darkhorse Casting: Shannen Doherty was the most famous cast member after her appearances in several films and Beverly Hills, 90210. Jason Lee was cast with no prior acting experience; before the film, he was a professional skateboarder. Ben Affleck was a relative unknown at the time.
  • Development Hell: The sequel fell into this and has since been shelved.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Svenning was not originally supposed to be bald. Michael Rooker was trying to dye his hair gray for a better look, and decided that bald would work even better.
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  • Enforced Method Acting: Renee's anger about being called "Brenda" isn't fake. No one told Shannen Doherty that Ethan Suplee was going to say it, and it apparently ticked her off.
  • Executive Meddling: Every time you hear a synonym for "penis" that isn't explicit or a word meaning "fuck" that isn't "fuck", you have witnessed the meddling hand of Universal Pictures.
    • Kevin Smith later thanked the executives (especially producer Jim Jacks- he was the one responsible for all those synonyms, he thought Kevin was a "pottymouth", according to the DVD commentary), because his original opening to the film was almost 20 minutes longer. They wisely noted that you can't have a movie called Mallrats and then take a half-hour to get to the mall.
      • Watching the extended DVD version, you can see there are quite a few times where the meddling actually did make jokes funnier. Executive Meddling isn't always a bad thing.
      • On the flip-side, the original opening did show more of the chemistry between T.S. and Brandi, which was a bit of a shame to lose, as well as providing additional reasons for why her father hated T.S. so much.
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    • That being said, he's still bitter that they wouldn't let him do a joke about a woman getting semen in her hair.
    • He also criticized Gramercy (which was then the "art-house" label of Universal) for "not being able to market their way out of a paper bag". Considering what they did to MST3K: The Movie, he was right (it likely had something to do with the fact that it was a joint venture with PolyGram Filmed Entertainment; two years after this movie, they would buy out Gramercy, then have it brought back to Universal when they were merged with Universal by then owner Seagram's (yes, the liquor company)).
    • Narrowly averted in one case. Studio execs wanted to recast Jay with Seth Green. Kevin Smith stuck to his guns and insisted that Jason Mewes was the right person for the role. The studio still kept Green on call just in case, and refused to pay for Mewes' travel fees or hotel costs, and were even prepared to fire him on the first day of shooting if they felt he wasn't good enough. Smith let Mewes know about this, prompting him to prove him to give a better performance, and the studio finally caved.
  • Looping Lines: The film had to have quite a bit of ADR, mainly to remove references to a Deleted Scene and its accompanying plot thread. Further ADR was then used on a censored version that aired on ABC in 1998 and was reused for basic cable screenings into the early 2010s; it was even more noticeable because the new voiceovers didn't match with the original voices (especially Jay's).
  • Orphaned Reference: All over the place, as a result of cutting a ton of scenes. For example, in the scene where Svenning first meets with the network execs, one of them mentions "the trouble he (Svenning) had at the Governor's Ball", which was the opening scene that got deleted. You could make a drinking game out of the references to cut scenes peppered throughout.
  • Promoted Fanboy: This movie was a little ways before Kevin Smith made a name for himself as a fan of comics and comics-related media. So imagine Smith hot off the presses after Clerks suddenly being told that he can work with Stan Lee himself.
  • Refitted for Sequel: To further the (already plentiful) Jaws references, there was supposed to be a scene in the food court where Brodie and TS would compare "sexual scars", with their friend Hooper joining in the conversation. It wound up being deleted on Universal's orders (likely prior to filming), but Kevin repurposed the scene for Chasing Amy (where Alyssa and Banky do the same; there's also a character named Hooper in said film).
  • Star-Making Role: For Jason Lee.
  • Stillborn Franchise: They were at one point, before the movie flopped, going to make a sequel, called Mallrats 2: Die Hard in a Mall; Kevin at one point said he might make it as a comic, but this has since been superseded by the actual sequel/mini-series, which will have that part, but fused with an attempt by Brodie to save a mall by holding a Comic-Con. Ultimately, MallBrats wound up being put on the back-burner, though Brodie made a reappearance in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
  • Throw It In!: The Stan Lee role was originally written as a fictional legendary comic book figure as a homage to the Wolfman Jack cameo in American Graffiti. After he pointed out to Kevin Smith that the character was similar to Stan Lee, Jim Jacks then mentioned that he knew Lee and asked Smith if he could offer him the role. Smith then quickly re-wrote the scene with Marvel references before sending the script to Lee.
  • Troubled Production: Coming off of the box office splash of Clerks, producer James Jacks lured Smith and partner Scott Mosier to make their next film at Universal. Unfortunately, the film was set up at the Universal/PolyGram joint venture Gramercy Pictures, which served as the former's low-budget/art-house division, and Smith later said that Gramercy "couldn't market their way out of a paper bag". As such, there was Executive Meddling galore!
    • During casting, the studio did not want Jason Mewes reprising his role as Jay and pushed for either Seth Green or Breckin Meyer to replace him. The only way Smith could avoid this mandate was to have Mewes re-audition for the character. Even then, the execs refused to pay for Mewes' travel fees or hotel costs and were even prepared to fire him on the first day of shooting if they felt he wasn't good enough. Smith let Mewes know about this, prompting him to prove him to give a better performance, and the studio finally caved.
    • However, studio executives got their way regarding aspects of Smith's raunchy humor. In addition to forbidding the use of "penis" or any explicit reference to it and any words meaning "fuck" that isn't "fuck", they also refused to allow Smith to make a joke regarding a woman getting semen in her hair. On the flip side, they pushed for topless, including a brief moment with Joey Lauren Adams.
    • Multiple scenes ended up cut from the film. Most prominently, Smith shot a prologue where TS and Brandi attend the Governor's Ball hosted by Mr. Svenning, only for TS to accidentally shoot at the Governor when the musket of his colonial costume gets stuck in Brandi's hair. It had to be scrapped after test audiences reacted negatively towards it (and the executives noted that "you can't have a movie called Mallrats and then take half-an-hour to get to the mall"). This resulted in a bunch of ADR work to remove almost all references to the incident, save for Mr. Svenning's encounter with a TV executive over it.
    • The film ended up a Sophomore Slump for Smith as the film both bombed with critics and at the box office. It did sell well on video though, and Universal allowed Smith to make a director's cut 10 years later.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The film is pretty much dripping with 90s culture, from the outfits to the music. Even Truth Or Date, despite being a 60s/70s throwback, is indicative of what was nostalgic in the 90s.
  • Vindicated by Cable: More or less due to the terrible edit seen on FX and similar channels in the early 2000s (which originated for ABC when they aired the movie back in 1998; why they even thought it was suitable for broadcast TV is anyone's guess).
  • Wag the Director: Kevin Smith noted in the DVD commentary that the guys playing the security guards during the "ambush" insisted on being credited as "Team LaFours".
  • What Could Have Been:
    • One piece of Executive Meddling that Smith was able to defeat was the suits' insistence that he recast the role of Jay. Smith finally compromised by saying he'd hold a casting call for the part if Jay Mewes was allowed to read alongside the other actors. He did, and he kept the part. But if he hadn't? The front runners for the part were Breckin Meyer and Seth Green.
    • Kevin originally wanted William Atherton to play Mr. Svenning, but Atherton turned it down, calling the script "childish" — and as Kevin noted on the DVD Commentary, he then went on to do Bio-Dome (which, coincidentally, also starred Joey Lauren Adams). Then Jim Jacks brought in Michael Rooker (who he had worked with on Tombstone), and the rest is history.
    • There were a lot of ideas they came up with but didn't do, like a Dawn of the Dead (1978) parody with old people taking the place of zombies (as Kevin learned of the "mallwalking" phenomenon).
    • Universal wanted either Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, or Chris Farley for Brodie, and Ethan Hawke for T.S.
    • Mark Wahlberg was considered for Brodie, and Leonardo DiCaprio as T.S.
    • Heather Graham auditioned for a role. Reese Witherspoon had a meeting with the casting director, Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, but both Smith and Mosier didn't enjoy the meeting, and told the casting director not to bother to bring her in for an audition. Smith details this meeting in his book, Silent Bob Speaks.
    • John Landis was going to make a cameo as an irate customer, but this was written out at the last minute.
    • Jennifer Love Hewitt tried out for Tricia Jones.
    • Parker Posey was considered for the role of Gwen Turner.
    • Alyssa Milano auditioned for Rene Mosier.
    • Kevin wanted Stacie Mistysyn, who played Caitlin Ryan in Degrassi Junior High & Degrassi High, because he was a huge fan of the franchise, but Universal wanted a more well-known name.
  • Word of God: When posed with the infamous question, "Is the Thing's dork orange rock like the rest of him is?" Stan Lee ultimate gave the answer, "I imagine he’s like that all over".


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