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Trivia / Nixon

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  • Ability over Appearance: Anthony Hopkins looks and sounds absolutely nothing like Nixon, but as one of the most acclaimed actors in history he's certainly up to the part. Siskel and Ebert's review praised him for "hinting" at Nixon's image without being overly concerned about getting it exactly right.
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $44 million. Box office, $13,681,765. Co-writer Christopher Wilkinson didn't write another screenplay for six years.
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  • Cast the Expert: Alexander Butterfield (the Nixon aide who revealed the existence of the White House taping system) has a small Autobiographical Role as a White House staffer.
  • Completely Different Title: In Hong Kong, the movie was given a title that translated to The Big Liar.
  • Dawson Casting: E.G. Marshall was born less than a year after the real John Mitchell, and at eighty years old when he filmed the part, he was an older man than Mitchell ever was, who died in 1988, at the age seventy-five.
  • Deleted Role: Scenes which featured Sam Waterston as Richard Helms were deleted prior to the film's release, but later reinstated on videocassette and DVD versions. At the time of the theatrical release, Richard Helms was still living, and hotly objected to his portrayal in the film.
  • Deleted Scenes: The theatrical version is 28 minutes shorter than the Director's Cut later released on video. Among the more substantial cuts: all of Sam Waterston's scenes as Richard Helms; Nixon, Haldeman and Ehrlichman being confronted by a mob of protesters while driving to the White House; J. Edgar Hoover informing Nixon about the leak of the Pentagon Papers and convincing him to install the taping system; and Nixon's unhinged rant to his cabinet about leaks. Other deleted scenes, including additional scenes with Larry Hagman as Jack Jones, remained out of the Director's Cut, though some were included as extras on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases.
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  • Disowned Adaptation: Besides Helms, Nixon's daughters Julie and Tricia objected to the film's portrayal of their father, calling it a "character assassination." John Ehrlichman, who initially consulted with Stone and the screenwriters on early script drafts, hated the finished film and dismissed it as "made up stuff and...very cruel."
  • Fake American: Welshman Anthony Hopkins as Nixon, Brit Bob Hoskins as J. Edgar Hoover, and Italian-American Paul Sorvino as German-born Henry Kissinger.
  • Hostility on the Set: Anthony Hopkins took a lot of ribbing from costars James Woods and Paul Sorvino over his American accent while filming. Depending on who you believe, it was either good-natured joking between actors or genuine hostility; Woods claims that Hopkins grew so annoyed with Sorvino's attempts at "coaching" him that he threatened to quit the movie and had to be talked out of it by Oliver Stone.
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  • Name's the Same: Nixon's valet wouldn't be the only one with the name Manolo Sanchez.
  • Playing Against Type: Sam Waterston, best known for playing morally strong characters like Jack McCoy and Abraham Lincoln, as the sinister CIA director Dick Helms.
  • Recycled Set: The film used the same Oval Office set as The American President.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • According to Paul Sorvino, Oliver Stone originally considered him for the role of Hoover. Ed Harris was Stone's first choice to play Bob Haldeman, but James Woods persuaded Stone to cast him instead, causing Harris to be re-cast as Howard Hunt.
    • There were several other actors considered to play Nixon besides Hopkins, among them Warren Beatty, Tom Hanks, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, John Malkovich, Jack Nicholson, Gary Oldman, and Robin Williams. Beatty came the closest, holding preliminary talks with Stone about the role, but Stone decided against him when Beatty demanded major revisions to the script.
    • Jessica Lange and Meryl Streep was considered for Pat Nixon.
    • Joe Pesci turned down the role of J. Edgar Hoover.
    • Peter O'Toole was originally announced for Richard Helms.
    • John Turturro turned down the role of Henry Kissinger.
    • A major scene that was unable to be filmed was of Nixon and his family watching Patton, Nixon's favorite movie, and one he watched repeatedly. The scene would've highlighted Patton's speech at the beginning of the film in which he says "Americans have never lost and will never lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans" which would have had resonance with Nixon's line "I will not be the first President to lose a war." But George C. Scott did not relinquish his image rights for Patton, and the scene could not be filmed.

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