The year was 2004 and we still liked Vince Vaughn and his movie choices. Ben Stiller was in every comedy movie around and Justin Long was still in movies. Yes, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story was released 14 years ago and most of us are very, very old. The movie, however, lives on as ESPN2 transformed into the movie’s ESPN8 — “The Ocho” — today (and in August 2017 as well) to showcase the sports that don’t have millionaires and controversies surrounding them. At least I don’t think they do.
At any rate, the sports giant also ran Dodgeball a couple of times throughout the day, inspiring me to dig up some trivia on the flick that brought us this gif:
1. The cast had dodgeball training sessions for a month prior to filming. Once on the set, they found it exceedingly difficult to keep their faces blank when they knew a rubber ball was about to slap the shit out of them.
2. While playing villain White Goodman in the film, Stiller had the opportunity to accidentally crack his then-wife Christine Taylor (playing Kate Veach) in the face with a dodgeball — twice. One accident happened during the filming of a tournament scene and the other when Vaughn (playing Peter La Fleur) broke the golden rule and reflexively moved himself out of the ball’s trajectory.
3. The wrenches thrown at the Average Joes by Patches O’Hoolihan (Rip Torn) were made of rubber, but one of them was hard enough to bust the eyebrow of Justin Long in real life. Long later suffered a suspected concussion from filming the training montage of the team. I guess he can’t dodge a wrench or a dodgeball.
4. Rawson Thurber wrote the script with homages to other sports movies and underdog events. The Average Joe uniforms are red and yellow like those of the Indiana high school in the 1986 film Hoosiers. Patches had an offensive line based on “It’s like watching a monkey trying to hump a football” — a quote from 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks. The cheers of “Let them play” are supposedly in reference to a similar scene in the 1977 movie The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training. The list goes on.
5. Stiller believed that no one had really seen him portray Tony Perkis in the 1995 Disney movie Heavyweights. He decided to take some of that performance and use it in his portrayal of Goodman. Unbeknownst to Stiller, the Disney Channel had played the movie on something of a loop over the years and people noticed the similarities.
6. Fran Stalinovskovichdavidovitchsky (Missi Pyle) was a robot in the script and that twist was not cut out of the movie until after filming had begun. Luckily Pyle did not have to shoot a scene where her robo-boobs were exposed to the audience.
7. The ending screened for test audiences had the Average Joes losing to the Purple Cobras of Globo Gym. It was not popular and the theatrical ending was shot to replace it.
8. The cameos included Norm MacDonald in the background of scenes taking place in Globo Gym. Chuck Norris was flown from L.A. to Long Beach in a helicopter to film his very short appearance in the film. Stiller pleaded with Norris to make the cameo, but didn’t give him a script or background. Norris was surprised to see White Goodman yell, “Fucking Chuck Norris!”
BONUS: Some of the cast reunited in 2017 to make a short film for charity.
Header Image Source: 20th Century Fox