10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Movie ‘Groundhog Day’
Just as watching a fat rodent sticking his head out of a hole has become tradition every February 2nd, so has watching the movie that takes it’s name — it’s Groundhog Day!
The Bill Murray film is a classic and loved by millions, especially everyone watching it right this very moment on TV (it’s playing SOMEWHERE in the world) but here are ten odd facts about the movie that you probably didn’t know.
ONE OF THE BEST LINES WAS AN AD LIB
In the final encounter between Connors and “Needle Nose” Ned Ryerson, Murray ad-libbed the line where he whispers “I don’t where you’re headed, but can you call in sick?” which causes Ned to run away.
PHIL WAS HERE
It’s no surprise that most movies are not filmed in the town or city depicted in the flick, but it’s interesting to note that while ‘Groundhog Day’ was not filmed in Punxsutawney, PA it was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois which is about 45 miles from Bill Murray’s hometown of Wilmette. There is a small plaque now in Woodstock that reads “Bill Murray stepped here” to commemorate the stop where Phil Connor’s continually steps into a puddle. Another plaque on the building wall at the corner reads “Ned’s Corner” where Bill Murray and insurance salesman Ned Ryerson met every day.
IT WAS ORIGINALLY A SPELL
Early drafts of the script explained the cause of Phil Connors’ weird experience to be a spell cast by an ex-lover named Stephanie in order to teach Phil a lesson. The idea was dropped early on in the rewrite process.
STARRING TOM HANKS AND TORI AMOS?
Director Harold Ramis originally wanted Tom Hanks for the role of Phil Connors, but decided against it, because Hanks was “too nice” and probably couldn’t pull off the “mean” Phil parts. Ramis also considered Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and John Travolta for the role. Tori Amos was heavily considered for the role of Rita. No comment.
BILL MURRAY TASTES GOOD
Animals are never easy to work with, which this movie proved, considering Bill Murray was bitten by a groundhog twice during shooting. It’s a shame, because an actual family of groundhogs was actually raised for the production of the movie. They were born to be stars but didn’t star in anything after the movie. Word probably got around they were hard to work with.
GIVING LOCALS THE BUSINESS
The store Lloyd’s – seen in the background of the interactions between Phil and Ned on the street – tried to sue the production company for several thousand dollars for ‘lost business’ because of filming closing off the front of the store. It was extremely odd considering the lawsuit would have exceeded the store’s average earnings had they won. Also, the restaurant in Woodstock, IL where the diner scenes were shot is now a Starbucks. But what isn’t a Starbucks these days?
PHIL’S ‘DAY’ LASTED ABOUT TEN YEARS
On the collector’s edition DVD, director Harold Ramis states that the original idea was for Phil to relive February 2nd for “about 10,000 years.” Ramis later says that Phil probably lived the same day for about 10 years.
ALREADY IN PROGRESS
In the original version of the script by Danny Rubin, Phil Connors was already trapped inside Groundhog Day at the start of the movie. The first scene would have been Phil’s typical day, with the audience eventually shown how everything happened. Harold Ramis promised not to change this aspect of the script, but ultimately decided to do so. Thankfully.
CADDYSHACK ALL OVER AGAIN?
Originally, Phil was supposed to murder the groundhog in his lair but the script was changed since it seemed too much like Caddyshack.
Writer Danny Rubin said that one of the inspirational moments in the writing of the story came after he read ‘Interview with the Vampire’ by Anne Rice. The book got Rubin thinking about what it would be like to live forever.