On December 22, 2000, “Miss Congeniality” was released in theaters across North America, and the flick helped boost the career of star Sandra Bullock while raking in $212.7 million. The film follows special agent Gracie Hart and her undercover job as a beauty pageant contestant at the Miss United States Pageant. The movie received numerous nominations, including two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and Best Original Song – Motion Picture for Bosson’s “One In A Million.” We take a look at 12 things you probably didn’t know about the flick.
#12 No Fire Baton Twirling For You
#11 Gracie’s Father Cut
Edward Herrmann, who won an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his work in “The Practice,” had a cameo in the film as Gracie’s father. Unfortunately, his scene in the film was cut before the official release. The scene was a part of the original trailer.
#10 Teaming Up Again
In the film, Sandra Bullock and Benjamin Bratt play special agents Gracie Hart and Eric Matthews trying to prevent a terrorist attack. The two teamed up for the first time in the 1993 film “Demolition Man.” In that film, Bullock played Lieutenant Lenina Huxley, and Bratt played Officer Alfredo Garcia.
#9 Roles Changed
Jennifer Gareis, who is best known for her work on “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” was originally cast as Miss New Jersey. Unfortunately, her scene in the film was cut, but the director gave her the role of Miss New York’s lover Tina instead.
#8 No Stunt Doubles Required
Unlike a majority of movie stars, Sandra Bullock and Benjamin Bratt refused to use stunt doubles during the making of the film. Stunt doubles were only used in order to make sure that both stars were in their correct form. While filming, Bullock accidentally injured Bratt by kicking him in the shins.
#7 Stan Fields
In the film, William Shatner plays the role of veteran pageant MC Stan Fields. The character’s name is taken from the popular brand of underwear sold in Canada called Stanfields. It’s also similar to Bert Parks, who was the host for the Miss America pageant from 1955 to 1979.
#6 Original Choice For Eric Matthews
While Benjamin Bratt landed the role of Eric Matthews, he wasn’t the first choice. They originally wanted the role to go to Matt Dillon, who was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in the movie “Crash.”
#5 A Rib On Canada?
The Miss United States Pageant’s control booth features a Canadian flag in the middle of a red circle with a red slash over it. This wasn’t meant to be disrespectful to Canada; this was mainly a comment about how many movies and TV shows film in the Great White North in order to save money.
#4 Austin Is The Place To Be
Even though the film was set in New York and San Antonio, it was filmed mostly in Austin, Texas. Some of the areas they’ve filmed scenes include the Dog and Duck Pub, which is where Gracie goes to eat ice cream, and the Cue Lounge, which is the site of the botched mission in the start of the movie.
#3 A Long Time At Starbucks
The scene where Gracie rushes to Starbucks took 12 hours to shoot. The car scene alone took about seven takes to get it right. To avoid the heat, an associate held an umbrella over Sandra Bullock to keep her cool during the long shoot. Those are real Starbucks employees in the film.
#2 Rewrites For Caine
It wasn’t easy to get veteran English actor Michael Caine to join the cast. In order to make sure the two-time Oscar winner was good to go, they rewrote the script to their best ability. Several supporting roles were dropped in order to give his character a bigger presence in the film.
#1 Cardboard Cutouts
Getting an audience for a film shoot really isn’t that hard for Hollywood. For this film, they decided to do something very odd and use cardboard cutouts in the back of the crowd during the Miss United States beauty pageant. This was mentioned in the director’s commentary of the film.
While “Miss Congeniality” was a big hit in the box office, its 2005 sequel “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous,” which was also produced by Sandra Bullock, didn’t do so well with poor reviews all around and an overall worldwide earning of $101 million. Luckily, the first film manages to still hold up today, and the same can be said about its soundtrack, which features Berman Brothers’ remix of William Shatner’s “Miss United States.” If you’ve never witnessed it for yourself, you can easily pick up the movie in either a single or dual pack with the sequel for cheap at your local store.