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Trivia / My Own Private Idaho

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  • Actor-Inspired Element: River Phoenix was a fan of The Simpsons and suggested its use in the film.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • Scott and Bob recreate Hal and Falstaff's role-playing from Henry IV Part I Act 2 Scene 4, where Falstaff/Bob tries to describe himself from another's viewpoint, and Hal/Scott gives him a sharp wake-up call.
    • A short scene was cut from the end. It showed that the driver of the car that picked up Mike was his brother, and that Mike would be safe with his family. Gus Van Sant recalled:
    I cut that end bit for a couple of reasons. First, it really tied everything up in a nice little bow. I think it works much better with the ambiguity. Second, I realized in editing, that the movie was about making your own families, not being tied to the one your born with, and Mike's brother had been portrayed as kind of a dick, so maybe ending up with his family isn't for the best. Who knows who's in that car? It could be the love of his life, who takes him to Italy. I don't know.
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  • Saved from Development Hell: Gus Van Sant wrote the script in the 1970s, but then shelved it after reading City Of Night and realising that was a better story about male hustlers than his.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • An early version of the script was set primarily in Las Vegas.
    • Mike's father in the original screenplay was the man that his mother killed rather than it being his brother, Richard.
    • Kiefer Sutherland revealed that he turned down one of the lead roles so he could go skiing, a decision he regrets.
    • Dennis Hopper turned down the role of Bob Pigeon.
  • Working Title: Blue Funk and Minions of the Moon.
  • Write Who You Know: Mike and Scott were based on, and named for, two real street hustlers that Gus Van Sant met while writing the script. One of them appears in the café scene. The real Scott was an acquaintance of the real Mike, and like in the film, Scott came from an upper-middle class family.
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  • Written By Castmember: River Phoenix wrote, and helped to direct the famous campfire scene.
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