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14 Things You Never Knew About ‘Groundhog Day’

(Source: www.msn.com)

14 Things You Never Knew About 'Groundhog Day'

© Image Attribution Unavailable 14 Things You Never Knew About ‘Groundhog Day’It’s fitting that you’ve probably seen “Groundhog Day” over and over and over again.

Released 25 years ago this week (on February 12, 1993), the comedy that sees Bill Murray trapped in a mysterious time loop and forced to relive the same day countless times has long since become a treasured favorite and a highlight of the careers of Murray and everyone else involved in it.

Still, as many times as you’ve seen it, there’s much you may not know about “Groundhog Day,” including the stormy behind-the-scenes conflict that destroyed the long and successful partnership between Murray and director Harold Ramis. Read on, then go back and read it again.

Bill Murray wearing a uniform standing in front of a crowd

© Provided by AOL Inc. 1. Like Ramis and Murray, screenwriter Danny Rubin hailed from Chicago. After he moved to Hollywood and found an agent, his “Groundhog Day” script landed on Ramis’s desk.

2. The “Caddyshack” director thought the premise formulaic at first, but a closer read convinced him he’d found a modern-day “It’s a Wonderful Life.” “Groundhog Day” became Rubin’s first produced screenplay.

a person sitting in front of a window

© Provided by AOL Inc. 3. Believe it or not, Murray was not Ramis’ first — or even second — choice to play Phil Connors. There had already been tension between the two during the making of 1989’s “Ghostbusters II,” their fifth film together. Ramis didn’t think he wanted another 12 weeks of that, so he tried to cast the famously easygoing Tom Hanks instead. But Hanks turned him down and later told Ramis he’d made the right decision because he’d have ruined the film. “The audience already sees me as a nice guy,” Ramis recalled Hanks telling him. “They would have been waiting for me to make that turn throughout the whole movie.” Michael Keaton also said no before Ramis finally turned to Murray.

4.Andie MacDowell was known for more dramatic parts, like her “sex, lies, and videotape” role, but “Groundhog Day” made her a popular romantic-comedy lead for the next decade, a status she cemented a year later with “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

a man wearing a hat

© Provided by AOL Inc. 5.Chris Elliott had been a well-known TV comic, but his “Groundhog Day” character, exasperated cameraman Larry, marked his first major film role. He’d get to cut loose more on the big screen later in “There’s Something About Mary” and the “Scary Movie” sequels.

6. Two decades before he was famous for playing “Man of Steel‘s” General Zod and other scary villains, Michael Shannon made his screen debut in “Groundhog Day. He played the very dim Fred, a nervous bridegroom. The 18-year-old was equally nervous in real life, others on the set recalled. One day, when he heard Murray blasting Talking Heads out of his boombox, Shannon told the star that the Heads were his favorite band and asked if Murray liked them, too. Of course, Murray snapped, because if he didn’t like the band, he wouldn’t be playing their music. Ramis had to reassure a shaken Shannon that he wasn’t about to be fired.

a man standing in front of a building

© Provided by AOL Inc. 7. Character actor Stephen Tobolowsky seems to have been in everything, but he’s still best known for playing annoying insurance salesman Ned Ryerson in “Groundhog Day.” His recurring character on “Glee” was named Sandy Ryerson in homage to his “Groundhog” role.

8. The town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania was played by Woodstock, Illinois. The shoot took place during the bitter cold winter of 1992. “it felt like we were in an Army experiment,” Tobolowsky recalled, adding that the cold was especially irritating to Murray, who had to keep stepping into that slush-filled pothole. MacDowell said she and Brian Doyle-Murray used to spike their cocoa with peppermint schnapps just to keep warm.

a man holding an animal

© Provided by AOL Inc. 9. Another irritant for Murray was the groundhog itself, which bit him on the hand during the chase scene, forcing the actor to get a rabies shot. “The groundhog hated my guts from Day One,” he grumbled. Tobolowsky said that cast and crew debated whether the rodent should be put down or whether Murray had it coming.

10. Eventually, Murray became so hard to communicate with, both on and off the set, that someone suggested he get a personal assistant to field messages from Ramis and the crew. According to Ramis, Murray hired an assistant who was deaf and who spoke only in American Sign Language, which neither Murray nor anyone else in the production could speak. Murray pledged to learn how to sign, but gave up after a couple weeks. “That’s anti-communication, you know?” Ramis said. “Let’s not talk.”

a man standing in front of a fence

© Provided by AOL Inc. 11. After “Groundhog Day” wrapped, Murray and Ramis never worked together again and hardly spoke to each other at all, until Ramis was on his deathbed in 2014. Ramis said in 2009 that he never knew why Murray had broken off ties with him. “Ask anyone in Hollywood. Everybody has a Bill Murray story,” Ramis said. “He just punishes people, for reasons they can’t figure out.” For his part, Murray has never explained the rift to the press, either.

12. “Groundhog Day” cost a reported $15 million to make. It earned back $71 million in North American theaters.

a man wearing a suit and tie

© Provided by AOL Inc. 13. How long was Phil Connors trapped in his perpetual Punxsutawney? Ramis initially estimated it at about 10 years worth of repeating days, but then said it was probably longer. Obsessed With Film writer Simon Gallagher crunched the numbers, including figuring out how long it would take Phil to learn to play the piano and ice-sculpt so well, and came up with 12,403 days — or about 34 years.

14. “Groundhog Day” came to Broadway as a musical in 2016. Murray went to see it and was moved to tears. Aptly enough, he saw it again the next day.

More Info: www.msn.com

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