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    53 Hidden Details And Behind-The-Scenes Facts From Paul Thomas Anderson's Movies

    Yes, Mark Wahlberg still has *that* prosthetic from "Boogie Nights."

    I don't know about you, but I'm already eagerly awaiting Paul Thomas Anderson's next film (whatever and whenever it may be).

    TIFF / Via

    To tide me over, I started rewatching Punch-Drunk Love (my favorite PTA movie), and ever the trivia junkie, I started looking up some behind-the-scenes info, which snowballed into looking up behind-the-scenes info for all of his films.

    Sony Pictures

    Here's some of what I found out:

    1. As of early 2022, Anderson has directed nine feature films.

    Paul Thomas Anderson smiling at the camera
    Rebecca Sapp / [Getty] for SBIFF

    Hard Eight (1996)

    Boogie Nights (1997)

    Magnolia (1999)

    Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

    There Will Be Blood (2007)

    The Master (2012)

    Inherent Vice (2014)

    Phantom Thread (2017)

    Licorice Pizza (2021)

    2. Most of Anderson's movies are set in the past.

    boogie nights still image
    New Line Cinema / Courtesy: Everett Collection

    Boogie Nights, Inherent Vice, and Licorice Pizza all take place in the 1970s; The Master and Phantom Thread take place in the 1950s; and There Will Be Blood takes place at the turn of the 20th century.

    Magnolia also includes numerous scenes that take place decades earlier.

    3. Like Wes Anderson (no relation), Paul Thomas Anderson has collaborated frequently with the same people.

    Paul Thomas Anderson and Philip Seymour Hoffman
    Chris Weeks / WireImage via Getty

    This includes cast and crew.

    4. Between the two of them, Jon Brion and Jonny Greenwood did the scores for eight of Anderson's nine films.

    Jon Super / Redferns, Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

    Brion did Hard Eight, Magnolia, and Punch-Drunk Love, and Greenwood has done every film since There Will Be Blood.

    5. Aimee Mann also performed or contributed music for the first three of Anderson's films.

    View this video on YouTube

    Reprise / Via

    She sings "Christmastime" over the Hard Eight credits; the song "Voices Carry" by her former band 'Til Tuesday is briefly heard in Boogie Nights; and she's responsible for a huge chunk of the Magnolia soundtrack.

    6. Mark Bridges has served as costume designer on every one of Anderson's movies.

    Still from Boogie Nights
    New Line Cinema / ©New Line Cinema/courtesy Everett / Everett Collection

    He also did the costumes for I Heart Huckabees, The Artist, and Joker.

    7. All nine of Anderson's movies have been produced by Daniel Lupi, who was also an EP on Us, Her, and Lincoln, to name a few.

    Paul Thomas Anderson and Philip Baker Hall on the set of Hard Eight
    Mark Tillie / Rysher Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

    8. Lupi's fellow producer JoAnne Sellar has worked on each of Anderson's movies, minus Hard Eight.

    joaquin phoenix and paul thomas anderson
    ©Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

    She also worked on The Wicker Man and The Anniversary Party.

    9. Casting director Cassandra Kulukundis has also worked on every PTA movie except Hard Eight.

    Heather Graham and Paul Thomas Anderson
    New Line Cinema / ©New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection

    She also did casting for Ghost World, Art School Confidential, and the Gossip Girl reboot.

    10. Actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, and Melora Walters all starred in Anderson's first three films.

    View this video on YouTube

    New Line Cinema / Via

    Hoffman also appeared in Punch-Drunk Love and The Master (alongside Walters), and Reilly was just in Licorice Pizza.

    11. Luis Guzmán appeared in Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Punch-Drunk Love.

    luiz guzman in punch drunk love
    Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

    12. Philip Seymour Hoffman improvised most of his scenes in Hard Eight.

    View this video on YouTube

    The Samuel Goldwyn Company / Via

    In an interview with Rolling Stone following Hoffman's passing, Philip Baker Hall said: "I was shocked at his ability to improvise his way through. He improvised most of that craps scene and just had such a sense for timing. At that point, I was older, and he was very young. I was like, 'Who is this kid?'"

    13. Burt Reynolds turned down the role of Jack Horner in Boogie Nights seven times.

    Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights
    New Line Cinema

    He told Conan O'Brien it "just wasn’t [his] kind of film" and "made [him] very uncomfortable."

    14. In fact, Reynolds hated the film so much he fired his agent after seeing it for the first time.

    burt reynolds in boogie nights
    New Line Cinema / ©New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection

    But plenty of other people loved the movie and his performance — he ended up getting an Oscar nomination and winning a Golden Globe.

    15. William H. Macy didn't need to audition to play Little Bill.

    William H. Macy in Boogie Nights
    New Line Cinema

    He told Jason Reitman: "I got the script through the normal channels. I think I was still with CAA then, and the script was even more outrageous. I said, 'Is this a porn film?' There was actual shtüpping in it! Then I met with Paul and, the actors in the room will love this, I decided I wanted to do it and met with him at the Formosa Café, and it was about 10 minutes in when I realized he was selling me. I wasn’t there to audition for him; he was trying to convince me to do it, and it was one of the great moments of my career."

    16. Actual adult film stars appear in small roles throughout Boogie Nights.

    Veronica Hart as a judge in Boogie Nights
    New Line Cinema

    The judge in the scene where Amber and her husband are in court fighting for custody of their son is played by Veronica Hart, and Little Bill's wife is played by Nina Hartley. 

    Amber Hunter (aka Lil' Cinderella) also has a small cameo as Colonel's friend, Summer Cummings and Skye Blue both play girls in the jacuzzi, and Lexi Leigh plays a member of Floyd's entourage.

    17. Mark Wahlberg kept the prosthetic penis he wore to play Eddie.

    mark wahlberg in boogie nights
    © New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

    He told Ellen DeGeneres: "It’s in a safe locked away. It’s not something I could leave out. All of a sudden, my kids are looking for a spare phone charger and pull that thing out and go, 'What the heck is this?!' It wouldn’t be a good look."

    18. Tom Cruise was such a fan of Boogie Nights he specifically asked Anderson to cast him in his next movie.

    Frank in Magnolia
    New Line Cinema

    His portrayal of Frank T.J. Mackey ended up earning him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

    19. Anderson was inspired by Aimee Mann's music to write Magnolia.

    julianne moore in magnolia
    © New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

    In fact, Claudia's line "Now that I've met you, would you object to never seeing me again?" is taken directly from Mann's song, "Deathly," which opens with the lyrics "Now that I've met you, would you object to, never seeing, each other again?"

    20. Mann's music is also literally seen in the movie.

    Claudia in Magnolia
    New Line Cinema

    The CD jewel case Claudia snorts cocaine off of is Mann's album, I'm with Stupid.

    21. If you think Magnolia is too long, you're not alone.

    phillip seymour hoffman in magnolia
    © New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Anderson himself told Marc Maron in 2015: "I'd slice that thing down. It's way too fucking long. It's unmerciful how long it is."

    The movie is over three hours long.

    22. Pat Healy plays two separate pharmacists in Magnolia.

    New Line Cinema

    He's in the first scene as the pharmacist who gets murdered, and later appears as the pharmacist Julianne Moore's character yells at.

    23. Thomas Jane was also supposed to play two roles, but due to scheduling issues only appeared as a young Jimmy Gator.

    thomas jane at a movie premiere
    Axelle / FilmMagic

    Jane told AV Club: "I wanted to work with Gene Hackman, so I took this Gene Hackman film [Under Suspicion], but the schedule overlapped into Magnolia, and so I couldn’t play the two parts in Magnolia. I had to only play one. Paul never forgave me. And the movie with Gene Hackman, of course, has been totally forgotten."

    24. Anderson wrote Punch-Drunk Love with Adam Sandler in mind.

    Adam Sandler and Paul Thomas Anderson
    Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images for Netflix

    25. After seeing Magnolia, Sandler wasn't sure if he could actually work with Anderson.

    adam sandler in punch drunk love
    © Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    He said on the SmartLess podcast: “I went alone, and it was sold out, and I was in the front row, and I was looking up at it, and I was fucking terrified,” Sandler said, adding that he thought, "'Oh this guy is fucking better than me. I don’t want to fucking be in this. I’m going to ruin his movie! Holy shit!'"

    26. Sandler wasn't the only one doubtful about his casting.

    adam sandler in punch drunk love
    ©Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    JoAnne Sellar told Indiewire: "[Anderson] was a huge Sandler fan, and I was just befuddled. I just didn’t get the whole Adam Sandler thing at that stage. I mean, the Saturday Night Live stuff, yes, but the movies that Adam had done weren’t for me. As a British person, I didn’t really get the humor. But Paul just kept saying, 'Oh my God, he’s so great!' And he completely made me change my mind about Adam."

    27. In Punch-Drunk Love, the first time Barry goes to the grocery store, an out-of-focus character in red clothes is seen following him.

    Barry in Punch-Drunk Love looking at a character in red in the distance
    Columbia Pictures

    It's Emily Watson's character, Lena. By this point, they haven't met yet, but as she explains later in the movie, she saw a photo of Barry on his sister's desk, so would have recognized him in the store.

    28. The cuts on Barry's knuckles after he punches his office wall spell out "love."

    Adam Sandler with cuts on his knuckles in Punch Drunk Love
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    29. According to Jon Brion, Anderson wanted Punch-Drunk Love "to feel like a musical but nobody ever breaks into song."

    View this video on YouTube

    Criterion / Columbia Pictures / Via

    30. The song "He Needs Me," heard when Barry and Lena meet in Hawaii, is originally from the 1980 live-action adaptation of Popeye.

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount Pictures / Via

    Shelley Duvall sings it as Olive Oyl.

    31. There Will Be Blood star Daniel Day-Lewis was a fan of Punch-Drunk Love.

    daniel day lewis in there will be blood
    © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

    32. Day-Lewis listened to oral histories from the turn of the 20th century to nail down Plainview's voice.

    daniel day lewis in there will be blood
    © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

    33. Day-Lewis' speech about building schools and bringing bread to Little Boston was improvised.

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount / Via

    34. Paul Dano originally was only supposed to play Paul Sunday.

    Paul Dano in There Will Be Blood
    Paramount / courtesy Everett Collection

    Kel O'Neill had been cast in the role of Eli Sunday, but after filming what was supposed to be Dano's single scene, Anderson asked him to play Eli as well, pivoting the brothers to be identical twins.

    35. The story about O'Neill's departure changes depending on who you ask.

    kel o'neil speaking
    Frazer Harrison / WireImage

    A New York Times Magazine story from November 2007 said there were "reports that [he] suffered from intimidation" because of Day-Lewis' method acting and ended up quitting.

    However, O'Neill told Vulture in 2017 that he was fired after a few weeks, though there doesn't seem to be clarity on why.

    36. The film The Master was partially inspired by L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology.

    paul thomas anderson and tom cruise
    Frank Trapper / Corbis via Getty Images

    Anderson claimed that when he showed Magnolia star — and perhaps the world's most Scientologist — Tom Cruise The Master, the actor "had issues" with the film.

    37. Joaquin Phoenix's parents were briefly members of the Children of God cult.

    joaquin phoenix posing
    Weinstein Company / ©Weinstein Company / Courtesy Everett Collection

    38. Freddie's first lines in The Master — and the opening lines of the whole movie — were improvised by Phoenix.

    View this video on YouTube

    Warner Bros. / Via

    39. Inherent Vice was Anderson's second time adapting a novel.

    martin short and paul thomas anderson
    ©Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The first was There Will Be Blood.

    40. Inherent Vice is also the first film adaptation of one of Thomas Pynchon's novels.

    joaquin phoenix
    Wilson Webb / ©Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

    41. For a while, Robert Downey Jr. was attached to play Doc.

    robert downey jr smiling
    Kurt Krieger - Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

    Joaquin Phoenix was ultimately cast, and Downey Jr. told GQ: "I think [Anderson] told me I'm too old. Which I love when people tell me."

    42. Inherent Vice originally didn't have a narrator.

    paul thomas anderson behind the camera
    ©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

    43. Inherent Vice was the first of Anderson's films that Maya Rudolph, his wife since 2001, appeared in.

    maya rudolph dressed as a nurse
    Warner Bros / courtesy Everett Collection

    She played Petunia Leeway.

    44. Rudolph inspired Phantom Thread.

    Maya Rudolph looking at Paul Thomas Anderson
    Valerie Macon / AFP via Getty Images

    He told Metro: "I was very, very sick in bed one night. And my wife looked at me with a love and affection that I hadn’t seen in a long time. So I called Daniel [Day-Lewis] the next day and said, 'I think I have a good idea for a movie.'"

    45. Daniel Day-Lewis once again employed his meticulous method acting to play Reynolds Woodcock in Phantom Thread.

    Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread
    Focus Features

    He worked with New York City Ballet Costumes Director Mark Happel for a year to learn dressmaking. Day-Lewis even recreated a Cristóbal Balenciaga — who Reynolds was based on — gown by hand.

    46. According to Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread is his final film.

    Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread
    © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Just a few months before the film was released, he announced he was retiring.

    47. Anderson specifically didn't want Phantom Thread to look like a certain Netflix series.

    Claire Foy in The Crown
    Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

    Gaffer Michael Bauman told IndieWire: "One of the first things he said was, 'Look, this cannot look like The Crown.' That was a big thing. When people think of a period movie, it becomes this beautifully polished, amazingly photographed — I mean The Crown looks beautiful — but super clean, gorgeous light, and he was clear it couldn’t look like that."

    48. Jonny Greenwood earned his first Oscar nomination for the Phantom Thread score.

    Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread
    Laurie Sparham / © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

    49. The term "licorice pizza" is slang for LP vinyl records.

    Cooper Hoffman in Licorice Pizza
    © MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

    It was also the name of a music store chain ultimately bought by Sam Goody in the mid-'80s.

    50. Anderson wrote the role of Alana Kane in Licorice Pizza specifically with Alana Haim in mind after directing music videos for her and her sisters.

    Alana Haim in Licorice Pizza

    51. Philip Seymour Hoffman's son Cooper was cast after Anderson had trouble finding a trained actor who could match Haim's energy.

    Cooper Hoffman in Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza was both Haim and Hoffman's first film.

    52. Haim and Hoffman had met years before starring opposite each other.

    Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman in Licorice Pizza
    Paul Thomas Anderson / © MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

    She and her sisters babysat him, though she told Variety: "He hates when I say 'babysat' because he was 13 and didn’t need a babysitter."

    53. The character Alana's family is played by the real-life Alana's family.

    View this video on YouTube

    MGM / Via

    Her mother Donna was Anderson's art teacher in elementary school.