On December 22, 1993, Philadelphia -one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to tackle the misinformation and biases against individuals with HIV and AIDS-which is released in theaters. Tom Hanks won his first Oscar for Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer who decides he has AIDS. Beckett hires lawyer Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) -a one-time adversary-to represent him in a wrongful termination suit, pitting them against one of Philadelphia's most powerful law firms.
Though the movie was a box office smash, not everyone was sold on its message. Gay activist and The Normal Heart playwright Larry Kramer spoke out against the film, saying, " Philadelphia does not have anything to do with AIDS know.
The Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme wrote the script written by Ron Nyswaner. Andrew Beckett (he won the same award again for the next year for Forrest Gump ) and Bruce Springsteen took home the role in 1
Here are some facts about the film in honor of its 25th anniversary.
1. The studio felt a "moral compunction" to make the film.
In interview with Queerty, screenwriter Ron Nyswaner-who had worked with Jonathan Demme on 1984's swing shift -said the studio "felt there what a moral compunction to make this movie. "He and Demme pitched the script to TriStar's Mark Platt as a civil rights drama. "This is what Mark Platt said: 'Ron, Jonathan, there are 10 movies, a total of 10 scripts in development around Hollywood right now [in 1990]. All of them have a heterosexual main character. 'The next thing he said was,' that is immoral. 'We were going to make AIDS with a homosexual main character. So there is no resistance in Hollywood, or at least we went to the right person. "
Nyswaner told The Hollywood Reporter he had a couple of consultants to help him with the script, which he started writing in the late 1980s. "Everybody's thinking and talking about AIDS," he said.
Demme told Rolling Stone that his friend, artist Juan Botas, inspired the script. (Demme had produced One Foot on a Banana Peel, the Other Foot in the Grave an AIDS documentary which Botas had co-directed and was released in 1994-two years after Botas's death.)
" We looked for a story for a long time, and we decided to make a film for people with AIDS. Or for their loved ones, "Demme said. "They do not need [a] movie about AIDS. They live the truth.
Two similar discrimination cases: Geoffrey Bowers, whose New York law firmed fired him when they found out he had AIDS, and Clarence B. Cain, whose Philadelphia law firm fired him when they discovered his illness. In 1987, six years before he died, he was awarded $ 500,000 in damages. Because Demme and Nyswaner loosely based the movie on Bowers's life without compensation, Bowers's family sued the filmmakers. In 1996 the case settled in Bowers's favor.
3. Andrew Day-Lewis turned down the role of Andrew Beckett.
Andrew Beckett, but Nyswaner, Demme, and the producers wanted someone more "conventional," like Daniel Day-Lewis. Much to their dismay, Day-Lewis passed. "We were so pissed off," Nyswaner said. "How dare he! This is going to be an important picture! Tom Hanks and Jonathan Demme had lunch, and Tom Hanks said, 'I think I can do this.' "
Day-Lewis was one of the actors Hanks beat out for that year's Best Actor Oscar (Day-Lewis had been nominated for In the Name of the Father ).
4. Denzel Washington's role is ascribed to a comedic actor like Bill Murray or Robin Williams.
In a 2008 interview with The Oregonian Demme talked about the lessons learned Philadelphia . Robin Williams or Bill Murray to play Joe Miller, "Demme said," The part of Joe Miller-Denzel's part-had been written aggressively for a white actor with strong comedic chops; Joe Miller part; I'd. "And he said, 'What's that, you're reading it?' be interested in playing that. '"
Part of Demme's reasoning for wanting a known comedian what to be able to add some levity to the movie. "So I call Denzel up, and he says, 'I like that script, I'd like to play that part,'" Demme recalled. "And I said, 'Well, to tell you the truth, we're gonna have to find a way to get to AIDS movie, we were hoping to cast it with someone who's right, out of the box, the mention of there's gonna be a lot of humor in this movie. ' And Denzel said, 'Well, I'm going to be very, very funny.' "
5. Mary Steenburgen had to skip her first day of filming, as she was not emotionally ready.
Days before Mary Steenburgen what set to begin filming as Belinda Conine, one of the defense attorneys disputing Beckett's case, Steenburgen's friend died from AIDS , "It was super hard for me to go on the opposite side of someone, on the legal team, who had AIDS," she told The Hollywood Reporter . Philadelphia Because of what was looking for emotional mess. At the end of the day, I said to Jonathan [Demme]'You might have to recast this. I'm distraught about my friend. 'And then he said,' No, that makes you [an] even more perfect person, not a perfect person, to play it. Remember, this is not a movie about 'How do you feel about AIDS?' "
Steenburgen and Demme talked about how the movie was really about justice. I probably even disagreed with this character, "said Steenburgen. . 6 Hanks and Antonio Banderas.
Antonio Banderas-who played Beckett's partner, Miguel and Hanks are lying in bed together before going to sleep. Demme told Rolling Stone "The movie was edited, finally, to tell" its strongest story in the best possible way. And that's the story about the fight for vindication, "Demme said.
However, Nyswaner was disappointed in the cut. In retrospect, we would have gladly ignored or avoided all that controversy and kept that scene in. If we knew people were going to spend about 25 years, he would have done it, "he told Queerty.
7. The sailor uniforms became a political statement.
In one scene, Bandera and Hanks host a party, wear sailor uniforms, and slow-dance together. "They're an elegant couple, they would throw a swellegant, Cole Porter-type party," Demme told Rolling Stone . "So the idea of the guys in dress-they'll look so handsome, they'll look so elegant."
In February 1994, President Bill Clinton ushered in "Do not ask, do not tell "(DADT), a policy that prohibited gay military members from disclosing their sexuality. "When we showed the [movie] at the White House, shortly after the shot of the guys dancing in uniform, President Clinton left the room-he had to relieve himself," Demme said. "But I thought that was kind of … interesting timing. It was not enough that the White House – I hoped that it would be 50 minutes ago. But instead. President Clinton took the guests on a guided tour of the White House. I was disappointed by that. "
Action Wellness, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people in the Philadelphia area deal with chronic illness, helped the filmmakers cast more than 50 extras with HIV and AIDS to appear in the film , Today, 25 years later, Suellen Kehler is the surviving member of that group.
"I'm so happy to be alive, but I have survivor's guilt," Kehler said at the Philadelphia Film Center screening of the film and the documentary short The Last Mile . "I ask myself" Why me? Why just me? '"
9. Hanks's Oscar speech inspired another movie.
In one of the most famous Oscar speeches of all time, Hanks thanked his high school drama teacher, Rawley Farnsworth, and classmate John Gilkerson for being "the two finest gay Americans, two wonderful men, that Hanks called Farnsworth to get permission to use his name if he won. "Farnsworth told People ," but it was just overwhelming. "However, it was not Hank's speech that outed Farnsworth-it was a " I did not know exactly what he was going to say. " ] San Francisco Chronicle
However, Hanks's speech did inspire the 1997 film In & Out which gave Matt Dillon's character outs to his high school drama teacher, played by Kevin Kline, during an Oscar speech.
10. The real streets of Philadelphia inspired by the movie's hit song.
Demmets Rolling Stone he was hired by Bruce Springsteen to compose a rock song for the film's opening. "If Bruce and Neil are part of this party, it's going to be unconverted," Demme said. He called Springsteen and told him "We still need a kick-ass song at the beginning."
During a 2017 Tribeca Film Festival Talking to Hanks, Springsteen How did he write "Streets of Philadelphia." "Demme had sent me that Philly, "Springsteen said. "Eventually, I came up with that tiny little beat and I figured it was not possible, but I sent it to him anyway and asked," What do you think? ""
Akin to Young, the song Springsteen offered what not as rock-oriented as Demme would have liked, but it worked. "Springsteen, like Neil Young, I'm trusting it," Demme said. "Streets of Philadelphia" beat out Young's "Philadelphia" for Best Song at the Oscars; it also won a Golden Globe and a Grammy Award.
11. Hanks for making the film.
"Almost everyone I've already come to some conclusion about AIDS," Hanks told interview magazine. "They already have a dark or light image of what it is. But because I'm the guy that's in the movie, the first thing that comes out of the people who have talked about it is their incredible emotional response. More people have stopped on the street or come up to me in restaurants to talk about this movie than any other job I've done, and almost all of them have said something like, 'Thank you for doing it. '"