Jump to: Spoilers (11)
Denzel Washington has frequently said that Detective Alonzo Harris is his favorite character that he's played.
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The line "King Kong ain't got shit on me!" was ad-libbed by Denzel Washington.
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During the scene when Jake plays cards with the Latino gangsters, director Antoine Fuqua gave certain instructions to the actors playing the gangsters without telling Ethan Hawke. This was done to further confuse him and add to the tension of the scene.
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Tobey Maguire was seriously considered for the part of Officer Jake Hoyt. He even followed undercover narcotics officers in Los Angeles for two months and gained weight for the role. He was dropped when Ethan Hawke, Fuqua's first choice, was finally available for the shooting schedule.
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T. Rodgers, the founder of the Black P. Stones Bloods in Baldwin Village a.k.a. The Jungles in Los Angeles, was on-set for all of the filming in his neighborhood, and allowed the producers to use his neighborhood in exchange for casting gang members.
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About the casting of Ethan Hawke, Antoine Fuqua said "there's something innocent about Ethan, he's such a nice guy...but there's something in his eyes that tells you he's seen something."
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When the movie came out, many viewers and critics were skeptical of the scenes where Jake Hoyt smokes marijuana laced with PCP, and Alonzo's explanation of how a cop who didn't take drugs offered to him on the street would be ID'd as police and murdered. David Ayer responded in an interview by holding up a highlighted section of the L.A.P.D.'s rules and regulations; it stated that officers were allowed to use narcotics in very specific undercover situations, and hewed closely to what Alonzo told Jake.
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The coffee shop in the beginning of the movie (which was, incidentally, the first scene shot) is the same shop that was used in Se7en (1995) in the scene where Morgan Freeman meets Gwyneth Paltrow to talk. In the window in both movies, the writing reads "Quality Cafe". The Quality Cafe is also used in Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Ghost World (2001), and Catch Me If You Can (2002).
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The license plate on Alonzo's car is "ORP 967," a nod to Officer Rafael Perez, the disgraced L.A.P.D. officer who was born in 1967, and on whom the character was based.
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To give to his character a much more authentic aspect, Denzel Washington decided to have the same look as disgraced L.A.P.D. Officer Rafael Perez.
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David Ayer was the only writer to work on the script, such a rarity that it merited a congratulatory call from the chairman of Warner Brothers Pictures.
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Eminem was offered to play rookie cop Jake Hoyt. The rapper turned it down, due to the development of 8 Mile (2002), and had to stay available for that. Had he accepted the role, he would've shared scenes with rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, the latter of which is Eminem's mentor. Instead, Ethan Hawke took the part and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Eminem was nominated and won an Academy Award the following year for 8 Mile (2002), in the Best Original Song category for Lose Yourself.
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The film had several police technical advisors. Among them is Detective-Sergeant Brian Davis, an L.A.P.D. veteran who is one of the most respected and decorated officer of the infamous elite Special Investigation Section.
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With his Best Actor Oscar win for this film, Denzel Washington became the first black actor to win two acting Academy Awards.
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Ethan Hawke was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role despite the fact he has more screentime in the film than his co-star Denzel Washington, who was nominated for (and won) the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
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This movie is unique in Academy Awards history in that it's the only time an African-American, Denzel Washington, won the Best Actor Oscar as directed by a fellow African-American, Antoine Fuqua.
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Denzel's win at the Academy Awards for Best Actor was considered a major upset at the time, as fellow nominee Russell Crowe had won all the major precursor awards (Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice and BAFTA) for A Beautiful Mind (2001).
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When Alonzo is firing both his pistols at once, he holds the one in his right hand upright, while his left hand is turned sideways. This is because both of the Smith & Wesson pistols he uses have right-handed ejector ports. Holding his left hand sideways causes the spent shells to eject straight down, instead of sideways where they might strike Alonzo's right hand, causing serious burns.
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Cle Sloan, the gang technical advisor of this movie, managed to get on-screen real-life gang members from Rollin' 60 Crips, P.J. Watts Crips, and B.P. Stones Bloods.
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At the Academy Awards, most directors usually sit close to the actors, but at The 74th Annual Academy Awards (2002), Antoine Fuqua was seated a few rows back from Denzel Washington. During his acceptance speech, even Washington didn't know where Fuqua was sitting, so he said "a brilliant young African-American filmmaker, I don't know where you are Antoine, love you".
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Before Antoine Fuqua was involved in the project, Davis Guggenheim was set to direct with Samuel L. Jackson as Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris and Matt Damon as rookie Officer Jake Hoyt. When Denzel Washington accepted the role as Detective-Sergeant Alonzo Harris, Guggenheim was replaced per his request. Jackson would later voice the character Officer Frank Tenpenny in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and also based on Rafael Perez.
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The word "f-ck" is used two hundred and eleven times.
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David Ayer wrote the first draft in 1995, way before the Rampart scandal made headlines in 1998. In the first draft, Alonzo was a Latino officer in charge of drug enforcement in the gang infested area of Pico-Union within the Rampart Division. He was a loner and didn't have any partner because of his reputation as a corrupt and racist cop. But the basics elements of the character were there: he wears expensive jewelry and drives a 1979 Monte Carlo.
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Antoine Fuqua says the production was a very intense period of his life. The locations in South Central Los Angeles included some gang-infested neighborhoods, and Fuqua also went through some personal grief in the middle of shooting the film. After the film was released, Fuqua needed to step away from it, and he didn't do much publicity. He attended the 58th Venice International Film Festival where the film premiered, out of competition, in 2001.
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Christian Bale auditioned for the role of Jake Hoyt. David Ayer liked him so much he gave him the role of Jim in Harsh Times (2005)
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At the gang house, when Hoyt is playing cards, the gang members are drinking Heisler beer. This is a fictional beer brand used in many movies and television shows, including Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
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Mickey Rourke was Antoine Fuqua's first choice for the part of Roger. The studio turned Fuqua's request down.
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The fictional Hispanic street gang Hillside Trece (13) is based on many real-life Hispanic Sureño street gangs in the Los Angeles area. A common feature of many Sureño street gangs is the number 13, which corresponds to the letter "M" and in Spanish is La Eme (pronounced A-May). La Eme is the Mexican Mafia, a prison gang that many Sureño street gangs have affiliation with. In preparing for his role as Smiley, New Zealand Maori actor Cliff Curtis spent time with real Hispanic gang members learning about their day-to-day lives.
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The scene where Alonzo is scraping together his guns to a drug addict was improvised.
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Although not shown in the film, the producers of the movie asked if the Angelus Temple cross, a famous Echo Park landmark, could be used in the film. When the church declined, they brought in a "fake" cross and using a crane hoisted it up a few feet in front of the real Angelus Temple.
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Bruce Willis was offered the role of Alonzo. He later worked with Antoine Fuqua on Tears of the Sun (2003).
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Alonzo's car is a 1979 Chevy Monte Carlo, with some modifications: it has Dayton wire wheels with bullet caps; a Grant steering wheel; Flowmaster exhaust; and hydraulics. Added to this, the car is outfitted with a sunroof, which that era's Monte Carlos never had.
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Roger's snail joke he tells Jake symbolically means the man represents the streets and the snail represents just another random person falling victim to the streets. The size difference between the two represents how big "the streets" are and how small we are. The big guy kicks this little tiny helpless snail and breaks his shell showing how easy it is for the streets to tear you up. The joke means that street life will run you over and tear you to pieces and won't even remember (or care) the next second. You're just another victim (a tiny snail in the way). No matter who you are or what you've been through, on the streets, you're just another person. When the snail comes back, the man (the streets) doesn't give him any respect. The streets will tear you up and not think twice. Don't expect any respect in the street regardless of who you are or what you've been through.
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Eva Mendes said in a 2014 interview that it was her idea to be nude in the film. She suggested it to director Antoine Fuqua during filming and he agreed. She said, "I've never had a problem with nudity, but I don't put it out there without a reason. I'm not an exhibitionist. But, honestly, for my art I'll do anything almost."
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According to Antoine Fuqua in the commentary for the DVD, during the rooftop fight scene between Jake and Alonzo, the reason why it was so violent was to show how brutal Alonzo was and that he originally wanted to show a flashback to where the Russian guy died, but it never happened so he used the fight scene where Alonzo fought with Jake as an example of how the Russian was killed in Vegas.
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Originally this film was supposed to be released in November 2001 with most of the original posters stating this. However, after the attacks on 9/11 this film was pushed forward to October 5, 2001 which was the original release date for the Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller, Collateral Damage, which was pulled off the release schedule along with all advertising up to that point and rescheduled by the studio for a later date which eventually became Feburary 2002 approximately five months later. Warner Bros. took a lead from Twentieth Century-Fox after they had released "Don't Say A Word" starring Michael Douglas and felt that studio needed a film without explosions to fill the theaters with in light of the tragedy.
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The whiskey Roger offers to Alonzo and Jake is a vintage of the Macallan. Alonzo mentions it as "three hundred dollars a glass." Whether or not this is an exaggeration, the whiskey is sure to be on the finer side. Given its light shade and the white label, it could well be Macallan thirty-year-old, which sells for an average of two thousand five hundred dollars per bottle.
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Alonzo's weapons of choice in the film are the venerable Smith & Wesson 4506, of which he carries two in a dual shoulder holster. The 4506 is a .45 ACP semi automatic previously used by many police departments around the country.
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Mark Wahlberg was considered for the role of Jake Hoyt.
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The Movie's script was made in 1995.
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Antoine Fuqua got the offer to direct after Denzel Washington screened his movie Bait (2000), which was still in post-production at the time, and was impressed.
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Ryan Phillippe was considered for the role of Jake Hoyt.
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Raymond Cruz was considered for the role of Smiley, before being cast as Sniper.
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Ironically, 18 years before, actor Harris Yulin (Lt. Doug Rosselli, one of the "Wise Men") portrayed a corrupt narcotics detective, Mel Bernstein in the 1983 cult classic, Scarface.
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Scott Glenn (Roger) and Denzel Washington (Alonzo) both played the character of John Creasy in film adaptations of A.J. Quinell's Man on Fire; Glenn in Man on Fire (1987) and Washington in Man on Fire (2004).
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When Alonzo calls the community members "disloyal" (in his famous King Kong rant), this is a reference to Humphrey Bogart's courtroom scene in The Caine Mutiny.
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Esai Morales was originally cast as Smiley, but was re-cast due to scheduling.
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Famous novelist and true crime specialist James Ellroy described the movie as "a complete waste of time."
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Actor Noel Gugliemi (who played the Sureño Moreno) would reprise his role in the short-lived TV series eponymous with the movie. Unlike the movie version, he did not have a tattoo on the back of his head.
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Namrata Singh Gujral's debut.
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The first of 2 times that Snoop Dogg plays a police informant. He would do so again in Starsky & Hutch (2004).
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Raymond Cruz and Harris Yulin both appeared in 1994's Clear And Present Danger; the latter played Admiral James Cutter and the former played Domingo Chavez. Cruz's character (like the name of his character in Training Day ironically) was an Army Special Forces sniper.
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Both actors Raymond J. Barry and Tom Berenger appeared in the 1989 film Born On The 4th of July (Berenger had a brief part as a United States Marines recruiter visiting a high school, who gave a speech inspiring Ron Kovic to join).
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Training Day was actually Denzel Washington's second time playing an antagonist. His first time playing a villain was in supporting role (Washington then relatively unknown), as an amoral obstructive lobbyist in Sidney Lumet's 1986 Power. The third, fourth and fifth time Washington played morally compromised characters would be as mobster Frank Lucas in 2007's American Gangster, 2012's Safe House as rogue ex-CIA operative Tobin Frost and the ruthlessly ambitious would-be Scottish king Macbeth in The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021).
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Just after Smiley tells Sniper to deal the cards again, the sound of Alonzo's car can be heard leaving.
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The original ending had Alonzo getting away with his crimes, but Denzel Washington insisted that it be amended so he gets his comeuppance.
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In the final shot of the movie, the 3 Wise Men are actually inside the car at the background when Jake parks his car in front of his house. This was elaborated in the alternate ending when Jake meets them. In that ending, Lou and Doug told him that Alonzo didn't make it to the meeting with the Russians, something that he already knew. They also asked him about the bag of money that Alonzo was supposed to deliver, which he said it was deposited in the police HQ's evidence room. Considering that the two things were referred prior to that (i.e, Alonzo gets whacked by the Russians at the end; Jake tells Alonzo that the bag of money is his evidence); it was considered redundant, hence removed.
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During the movie, Hoyt often does the opposite of what Alonzo tells him to do. He tells Hoyt not to get involved with anything but organized crime, and avoid wasting time with small crimes, but he helps the girl who is getting raped (which eventually saves his life), he tells him never to mention his family while working, but he says he's married and has a daughter when he's about to be shot in the tub, he tells Hoyt never to enter the rough neighborhood "Jungles" without him, but he does (which eventually helps him catch Alonzo).
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A scene was filmed but deleted which reveals Alonzo wasn't always corrupt. Alonzo and Jake drive to a house belonging to a man called Spooky. Alonzo tells Jake that during his second week on patrol as an LAPD cop he pulled up outside Spooky's house and he witnessed an old man called Tufine beating a dog with a garden hose. Alonzo wanted to get out of the car and do something about it, but his partner wouldn't let him because Spooky paid Tufine to beat the dog to teach it to hate colored people. Alonzo adds he'd almost quit and felt like getting on a bus and go home.
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The original ending of the script was Hoyt crashing the pad of Alonzo's girlfriend, and find his training officer in the middle of a three-way with two young women. Hoyt shows him the money that Smiley was supposed to deliver to the Russians, and tells him that there is a crew of hitmen looking all over for him. Alonzo then commits suicide in front of Hoyt.
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Despite being rated R for "strong brutal violence", only 2 people are killed: Roger and Alonzo.
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A scene that was filmed and deleted which happens just before Jake gets on the bus and goes back to The Jungle to confront Alonzo, Smiley reveals that Alonzo wanted him to kill him by setting him on fire in front of his wife and child.
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The music artists featured in the film play criminals, most notably Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Macy Gray.
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When Detective Hoyt is sitting at the table playing cards with Smiley and his crew, they ask him "has he ever had his shit pushed in?" This is street terminology way of asking him has he ever engaged in anal sex as a recipient. Smiley follows up by saying "I always like getting love from the homies".
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After Alonso kills Rogers he is seen on the phone saying, "layoff the spice just make sure that bath tub is clean homie" Eluding to the fact that he planned to kill Hoyt all along.
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