Rent Trivia

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The New Year’s Eve sequence was turned into an actual party for the cast and the celebrating was real.147 of 147 found this interesting | Share thisTaye Diggs (Benny), Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Angel), Jesse L. Martin (Collins), Idina Menzel (Maureen), Adam Pascal (Roger), and Anthony Rapp (Mark) are all from the original Broadway cast of “Rent” in 1996 and are playing their original roles.241 of 243 found this interesting | Share thisTaye Diggs (Benny) and Idina Menzel (Maureen) fell in love while performing as part of the original Broadway cast and were married for 10 years, before separating in 2013.210 of 212 found this interesting | Share thisDuring “The Tango Maureen”, the eyebrow lift and jacket toss were added because the actors were having fun during rehearsals and the director Chris Columbus liked it.118 of 119 found this interesting | Share thisRosario Dawson has said she choreographed an elaborate routine for her audition song, “Out Tonight.” During her actual screen test, she was so nervous she could barely move. Convinced she’d blown her audition, she left the room disappointed. Director Chris Columbus was so impressed, however, he ran after her and cast her on the spot.105 of 106 found this interesting | Share thisIdina Menzel sang “Over The Moon” live, rather than lip-syncing it.163 of 166 found this interesting | Share thisDuring “Today 4 U” Angel jumps up onto the table. Wilson Jermaine Heredia did two takes of that jump; the first take is in the movie, but on the second take he slammed his knees into the table.61 of 61 found this interesting | Share thisAt the very end of the credits, ‘Thank you, Jonathan Larson’ comes onto the screen. This could be seen as a reference to the showing of Rent after Jonathan Larson died. Jonathan Larson died the night before the show began previews off-Broadway, and the entire cast elected to perform a run-through of just the songs to all of Jonathan’s family and friends in tribute of Jonathan’s most prestigious work. At the end of the performance, the entire audience sat silent for what seemed like forever until a young male voice in the back of the house yelled that line.165 of 169 found this interesting | Share thisOne of Jonathan Larson‘s girlfriends dumped him for a girl the way Maureen dumped Mark for Joanne.112 of 114 found this interesting | Share thisAnthony Rapp kept the famous scarf he wore as Mark in the original Broadway show. It could not be used in the film, however, because the white was too bright for the camera. Instead he wears a navy and light gray scarf.79 of 80 found this interesting | Share thisThe oft-quoted line “Merry Christmas, bitches!” was improvised by Jesse L. Martin. Director Chris Columbus said on the DVD commentary that Martin changed the line on every take.78 of 79 found this interesting | Share thisAs Roger comes down the stairs after “One Song Glory,” there is graffiti on the wall that reads “April Lives”.50 of 50 found this interesting | Share thisThe characters of Ali, Gordon, Pam, and Sue in the Life support meeting are named after writer Jonathan Larson‘s friends who died of AIDS. The real “Ali” was Alison Gertz, a young woman who contracted HIV in the early 1980s and became well-known later in the decade as an AIDS activist, and is the subject of Fatal Love (1992), starring Molly Ringwald as her.96 of 98 found this interesting | Share thisThe guitar riff Roger plays throughout the show is based on “Musetta’s Waltz” from Giacomo Puccini‘s La Boheme.73 of 74 found this interesting | Share thisJesse L. Martin‘s character of Det. Green on the NBC show Law & Order (1990) was wounded in the line of duty to allow Martin to take several months off to film Rent. Martin’s detective partner on Law & Order was Jerry Orbach, who was a renowned Broadway musical comedy star before his television career. Martin says Orbach gave him a lot of pointers about how to do musical comedy before he left to do this movie.128 of 132 found this interesting | Share thisChris Columbus said that Idina Menzel sang “Over The Moon” at least 7 times while shooting.79 of 81 found this interesting | Share thisSince the first half of the movie takes place in the winter and it was filmed in San Francisco and New York during the spring and summer, all of the visible breath, except in “I’ll Cover You”, coming from the mouths of the actors was put in digitally after production. In “I’ll Cover You” it was actually the actors breath coming from their mouths.58 of 59 found this interesting | Share thisIn “What You Own”, when Mark and Roger are on the roof, you can briefly see the side of the building. If you look closely, “ANGEL” is spray-painted on the side of the building. This was purely coincidental.89 of 92 found this interesting | Share thisA number of costumes in the film are based on those from the original stage production, including the striped sweater Mark wears during “La Vie Boheme”, Collins’ hat, Mimi’s New Year’s Eve outfit (which she actually wears during ‘Out Tonight’ in the stage production), Maureen’s catsuit, and several of Angel’s costumes, including the flowered skirt, the “Pussy Galore” costume and the Santa suit.36 of 36 found this interesting | Share thisDuring production, an Internet blog was set up on the film’s official website. Blog entries were contributed by each of the principal cast members, Chris Columbus, and Julia McCallum. Occasionally, video updates would also be posted, which mostly featured footage (filmed by Anthony Rapp) of the actors on set.35 of 35 found this interesting | Share thisAt the end of “Light My Candle”, Mimi says “They call me, they call me Mimi…” is translation of a line “Mi chiamano, mi chiamano Mimi” from the opera “La Boheme” by Giacomo Puccini.67 of 69 found this interesting | Share thisJennifer Hudson auditioned for the role of Joanne but lost to Tracie Thoms. She then was cast as Effie White in Dreamgirls (2006), for which she won an Oscar.79 of 82 found this interesting | Share thisSpike Lee was for a long time attached to direct. The song “Light My Candle” contains the line “I hear Spike Lee’s shooting down the street;” this line remained unchanged in the movie’s version of the song. Other rumored directors were Sam MendesRob Marshall, and Baz Luhrmann.46 of 47 found this interesting | Share thisAfter “Today 4 U”, a couple of moments were added by the actors after the director called “cut.” They are Tom Collins (Jesse L. Martin) making the “whipped” gesture and sound, and Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) hopping out of the screen when he says goodbye to Roger (Adam Pascal).44 of 45 found this interesting | Share thisDaphne Rubin-Vega and Fredi Walker-Browne, the original Broadway Mimi and Joanne, are the only two lead cast members not to reprise their roles for this film. By the time the film went into production, nearly ten years after its first performance, Walker, by her own admission, was too old to play Joanne. Rubin-Vega was pregnant at the time of filming, and was also nearly 15 years older than the 19-year-old Mimi.67 of 70 found this interesting | Share thisDuring production, Chris Columbus lined up all of the emotional scenes in a row. While they were filming, the cast constantly made jokes to not get overwhelmed.54 of 56 found this interesting | Share thisThe original Broadway production of “Rent” opened at the Nederlander Theater on April 29, 1996, ran for 5123 performances, making it the ninth longest running show on Broadway (February 2013), and won the 1996 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book and Score. Taye DiggsWilson Jermaine HerediaJesse L. MartinIdina MenzelAnthony Rapp and Adam Pascal recreated their stage roles in the movie version. Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Idina Menzel all received nominations for the 1996 Tony Awards for Best Actor, Actress, and Featured Actress in a Musical, respectively. Wilson Jermaine Heredia was the only member of the original cast to win a Tony, winning the 1996 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.51 of 53 found this interesting | Share thisAfter “The Tango Maureen”, when Joanne is talking to Maureen on the phone, the TV screen behind Tracie Thoms showed reflections of the crew. All those shots had to be sent to ILM to remove the reflections.26 of 26 found this interesting | Share thisTracie Thoms first told Jesse L. Martin of her casting in Rent in between filming of their scenes in Law & Order: Mammon (2005). In an interview, she stated, “I’m like, ‘Hey Jesse, it looks like we’re gonna be spending a lot of time together.’ And he’s like, ‘We are?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah. I’m Joanne.’ (imitates Jesse gasping) ‘ACTION!'”50 of 52 found this interesting | Share thisThe stage musical “Rent” won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1996. Only nine musicals have won the Pulitzer Prize in drama – one per decade from the 1930s to the 1990s. They are as follows: Of Thee I Sing (1972) from the 1930s, South Pacific (1958) from the 1940s, Fiorello from the 1950s, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) from the 1960s, Chorus Line (1985) from the 1970s, Sunday in the Park with George from the 1980s, Rent (2005) from the 1990s, Next to Normal in 2010, and Hamilton in 2016.59 of 62 found this interesting | Share thisSeveral character names are updated from Giacomo Puccini‘s opera La Boheme. Marcello the painter became Mark the filmmaker; Rudolfo the poet became Roger the musician; Colline the philosopher became Tom Collins. Benoit the landlord became Benny married-to-the-daughter-of-the-landlord, Musetta became Maureen, and Alcindoro the rich elderly man became Joanne the young female lawyer. Schaunard the musician became Angel. Mimi the young downstairs neighbor has the same name in both shows. Joanne also shares the role of Marcello with Mark. Mark represents Marcello as the best friend of Rodolfo/Roger, and Joanne represents Marcello as the jealous lover of Musetta/Maureen.47 of 49 found this interesting | Share thisChris Columbus‘s daughter Eleanor Columbus, along with Jonathan Larson‘s nephew Matt, appear in a flashback scene where Roger plays at a club. The scene is not in the movie, but you can see them in the “seasons of love” teaser.23 of 23 found this interesting | Share thisThe MUTE posters on the wall of the loft are a reference to Adam Pascal‘s old band.32 of 33 found this interesting | Share thisAlthough they do not appear in the theatrical release, the numbers for “Halloween” and the second half of “Goodbye Love” were shot. They appear on the DVD.31 of 32 found this interesting | Share thisIn order to film the beginning of the scene featuring “I’ll Cover You”, a fake subway entrance had to be built in the East Village. Tracie Thoms actually went back to try and find it, when it had already been dismantled.30 of 31 found this interesting | Share thisAngel’s last name is Schaunard, the same name as the character from ‘La Boheme’ that he is based on.29 of 30 found this interesting | Share thisProducer Robert De Niro tried to persuade his longtime friend Martin Scorsese to direct, but the legendary filmmaker was unhappy with the drafts of the screenplay he read and departed the project.52 of 56 found this interesting | Share thisThe 16mm street scenes, which are meant to look like they were shot by Anthony Rapp‘s character, Mark, were really shot by Jonathan Larson‘s friend, documentary filmmaker Eddie Rosenstein. The inspiration for Mark’s character was both Ed Rosenstein and filmmaker Jonathan Burkhart.36 of 38 found this interesting | Share thisAt 1:26:33, Mark is filming Maureen in a cat suit during New Year’s Eve and says “Well you can take the girl out of Hicksville but not the Hicksville outta the girl.”. Idina Menzel who plays Maureen is from Syosset, Long Island in real life. The neighboring town to Syosset is the town of Hicksville.18 of 18 found this interesting | Share thisWhen Mimi buys drugs in the park, a couple of kids run by. One of the boys is Chris Columbus‘s (the director) son.35 of 37 found this interesting | Share thisTracie Thoms auditioned for the Broadway production a number of times, but was never cast prior to this film. However, she reprised her role on Broadway in 2008, and appeared in the final run alongside Will Chase and Eden Espinosa.26 of 27 found this interesting | Share thisThe metal arch sculpture on Maureen’s performance space during “Over the Moon” is an homage to the Broadway show. On the stage of the show, a similar metal sculpture is used throughout different scenes as a Christmas tree, a church steeple, and other various scenery pieces.25 of 26 found this interesting | Share thisIdina Menzel (Maureen) and Aaron Lohr (Steve) got married September 2017.23 of 24 found this interesting | Share thisMark’s mother is played by Randy Graff, wife of Rent’s original musical director, Tim Weil.22 of 23 found this interesting | Share thisThe phrase “I should tell you” is said/stated 27 times throughout the course of the movie.56 of 63 found this interesting | Share thisChris Columbus‘s first film as a director was Adventures in Babysitting (1987), which was also Anthony Rapp‘s first film.12 of 12 found this interesting | Share thisDirector Chris Columbus considered casting American Idol: The Search for a Superstar (2002) contestant and “Rent” (1996) Broadway replacement cast member Frenchie Davis as Joanne Jefferson, but decided upon Tracie Thoms for the role.18 of 19 found this interesting | Share thisDuring La Vie Boheme, the tattoos on Idina Menzel‘s butt are fake.22 of 24 found this interesting | Share thisSome of the names that are tagged on the walls are the names of WB studio tour guides.14 of 17 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to her report from the doctor, April’s last name is Ericsson.14 of 17 found this interesting | Share thisChris Columbus directed the film, while Stephen Chbosky wrote the screenplay. Columbus had previously directed the first two Harry Potter films starring Emma Watson and would later direct Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief (2010) starring Logan Lerman. Chbosky would later direct The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), based on his own novel, starring both Watson and Lerman.15 of 19 found this interesting | Share thisThe opening of the musical “Rent” coincided with the 100th anniversary on Feb. 1 of the first performance of “La Boheme” in Turin, Italy, led by a young opera conductor named Arturo Toscanini.5 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisIdina Menzel (Maureen) was married to both Taye Diggs (Benny) and Aaron Lohr (Steve).5 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisIdina Menzel (Maureen) had a recurring role in Glee (2009), a series which redid two of RENT’s songs.11 of 16 found this interesting | Share this“Rent” is based on the book “Scènes de la vie de bohème/ Scenes from the life at Boheme” written by Henri Murger. The book is the basis not only for the Broadway musical “Rent” which the film is adapted from, but also for the operas “La bohème” by Giacomo Puccini and “La bohème” by Ruggero Leoncavallo, the zarzuela “Bohemios” by Amadeu Vives and the operetta “Das Veilchen vom Montmartre” by Emmerich Kálmán.3 of 3 found this interesting | Share thisThe word “to” is said/sung 55 times in “La Vie Boheme A & B”27 of 48 found this interesting | Share thisThough it is popularly known that Jonathan Larson based “Rent” after “La Bohéme”, he also read Henri Murger‘s original novel “Scenes de la Vie Bohéme”, on which “La Bohéme” was based. The original title reappears as the name of a song, “La Vie Boheme”4 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisChris Columbus’s debut with directing a musical and to not feature Robin Williams.2 of 2 found this interesting | Share thisIdina Menzel’s song Over the Moon mentions a cow whose happens to be Elsie. Later in the song she is yelling “let it go New York!” In 2013 Menzel is playing the voice of the Ice Queen Elsa and singing a song titled Let it Go.2 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisStephen Chobsky directed The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and wrote the screenplay for Beauty and the Beast.2 of 7 found this interesting | Share this

Cameo 

Keith Young: the film’s choreographer is the man who catches the pool cue Maureen throws in “Take Me or Leave Me.”47 of 48 found this interesting | Share this

Director Cameo 

Chris Columbus: the frustrated driver whose windshield is being washed.32 of 41 found this interesting | Share this

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.The DVD release features an alternate ending based on the stage production, with all of the characters save for Angel are singing the finale on-stage. Angel eventually joins the group to finish the song.52 of 52 found this interesting | Share thisThe original draft of the script ended by revealing that all the action took place as a movie-within-a-movie, and as the final scene was being shot, the camera panned away from the production to reveal real homeless people and drug addicts on a real New York City street.59 of 62 found this interesting | Share thisOriginally during the “One Song Glory” number there was going to be one flashback of April lying dead in the bathtub, but it was hard to decide when to show it, so it was deleted.35 of 36 found this interesting | Share thisCollins is carrying the coat that Angel bought him at his funeral.11 of 11 found this interesting | Share this

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