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American Gangster movies, reviews, plot, cast, crew, trivia, awards and quotes.

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American Gangster Trivias


James Gandolfini was offered the role of Detective Trupo, but turned it down.In the Skeet-Shoot scene at Dominic Cattano's Mansion, live shotgun cartridges were placed in the crystal bowl by Director Ridley Scott for authenticity as they are bright red. The shotgun fired by Denzel Washington's character Frank Lucas used blanks handed to him by Philippe Vonlanthen's character, hidden from view as they are a different color.

According to Peter Biskind's book "The Godfather Companion," a 1985 treatment and script for The Godfather: Part III (1990), co-written by Thomas Lee Wright and Nick Marino, included a character based on Nicky Barnes, played in “American Gangster” by Cuba Gooding Jr. When the script was briefly considered, Wright persuaded Eddie Murphy to take the role. Murphy reportedly said, "I would act in The Godfather for nothing". The real *Richie Roberts' and Frank Lucas were major consultants to director Ridley Scott on the New York set of this film.

When director Antoine Fuqua was attached to the project, he pursued Ray Liotta and John C. Reilly for supporting roles. This was one of many budget-related concerns that lead to Universal's cancellation of this production while it was under Fuqua's management.When this project was canceled by Universal, actors Denzel Washington and Benicio Del Toro received their salaries nonetheless. A pay-or-play deal was stipulated in both of their contracts that Universal would pay Washington $20 million and Del Toro $5 million regardless of whether the film was made or not. Once this project was green-lit by Universal a second time, under Ridley Scott's direction, Washington returned to the project without an upfront fee. He also received half of his $20 million salary for the previous year's Inside Man (2006), another Imagine Entertainment production.

While filming on-location in the Chiang Mai province of Thailand, Ridley Scott hired many extras from the local villages, some of whom were actual participants in the drug-running operation of Frank Lucas during the Vietnam War.Director Ridley Scott had read the first draft of Steven Zaillian's screenplay before filming Kingdom of Heaven (2005) and instantly became interested in directing it. While filming his next feature, A Good Year (2006), Scott and Russell Crowe extensively discussed the project, which ultimately led to them signing on.

Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt were director Ridley Scott and producer Brian Grazer's first two choices to portray Richie Roberts. Crowe was ultimately cast in the role.When Terry George was set to direct the film with Don Cheadle in the leading role, Joaquin Phoenix was a definite consideration for the role of Richie Roberts. Phoenix previously co-starred with Russell Crowe in Gladiator (2000), which was also directed by Ridley Scott.

Russell Crowe requested tape recordings of Richie Roberts speaking in order to match his voice mannerisms accurately.During the very first stages of production, this film had a number of different titles, such as "Tru Blu" and "The Return of Superfly".

Screenwriter Terry George was brought on to rewrite the script in order to downsize the project's budget to $50 million when it was first revitalized in March 2005. George had planned on reuniting with his Hotel Rwanda (2004) lead, Don Cheadle, to portray Frank Lucas, the Harlem heroin kingpin.Antoine Fuqua was originally set to direct this project in 2004 with Denzel Washington and Benicio Del Toro starring, but production was halted one month before shooting after Universal Pictures canceled the film over budget concerns.

Dania Ramirez was originally cast in the film when Antoine Fuqua was still directing the production.After Terry George's screenplay was turned down, Steven Zaillian was re-hired to write another draft of his own screenplay.

In the first courtroom scene, when Richie is speaking with his attorney, the camera angle alternates between a wide shot of both and one of Richie from behind his attorney. In the wide shot, his arm is straight across the bench behind her, while in the shot from her back, his arm is hanging behind the bench. This alternation between shots occurs many times.In the scene where Frank Lucas confronts 'Tango' outside the shop, he pulls out a chrome .45 Colt automatic, then the weapon changes to a chrome Browning Hi-Power in the subsequent scene.

Night time shots clearly show streets lit with high pressure sodium lamps that give a warm red/orange glow. These were not introduced until the mid 1980's.Subway trains: During the period of the film's setting, acceptable subway trains would have been anything from R40 and before. The popular subway cars would have been any of the BMT standard, R1/9, R10-R33 cars. Even though cars of a similar design to the 1986 one shown would have been in existence, they would have been very new and very rare.

There is a scene of Frank Lucas watching Nicky Barnes passing out copies of the NY Times magazine where he was the cover story. The issue with Barnes on the cover was not published until 1977, Lucas was arrested and convicted before 1977.When Frank first calls his cousin in Bangkok, he gives the operator the country code for Thailand as 376. Later, as the war is ending, he gives the operator the country code as 367. (Thailand's actual calling code is 66).

In one of the scenes at Fort Bragg/Pope AFB, you can clearly see a modern-day C-17 Globemaster III in the background. These planes weren't added to the Air Forces inventory until 1993.In the movie, Frank Lucas was said to have been incarcerated from 1976 to 1991 continuously. In real life, Lucas was in fact paroled in 1981. He remained free for three years until he was arrested and convicted of parole violations and drug offenses in 1984 and was sent back to prison until he was released in 1991.

When speaking with his nephew the baseball player, Frank confronts him because the nephew missed a meeting with the New York Yankees and Billy Martin. Billy Martin did not manage the Yankees until 1975. This conversation took place prior to then.In the movie they said Stevie is a southpaw, but you can see that when he throws the ball in the backyard of Frank's house, he is clearly right handed.

Early in the film, about 1970, we see the Staten Island Ferry passing the Statue of Liberty holding a gilded torch. The statue's internally lit torch wasn't replaced with the gilded one until 1986.When Ritchie chases the car over the George Washington Bridge, the film claims that Ritchie is coming from New Jersey to Manhattan, where he doesn't have jurisdiction. In fact, he begins to tail the suspect on the Manhattan side of the George Washington Bridge going into New Jersey, then winds back up in New York.

When detective Richie is chasing the guy in the apartment complex he pumps his shot gun and points it in the face of a woman. After realizing this mistake he resumes his pursuit and pumps the shotgun yet again in the face of the man on the ground without firing a round.A distant mountain range is visible in a location identified as Fort Bragg, NC; no such mountains exist around Pope Air Force Base which serves Ft. Bragg.

On the payphone the label "A NYNEX Company" is visible; NYNEX didn't exist until after the AT&T breakup in 1984.When Javier jumps from the ambulance, a postal service truck with the current logo is visible; this logo wasn't used until the 1990s.

Frank Lucas uses a small electronic adding machine with digital numbers. Those didn't come on the market till the mid 70's at the earliest.In some scenes we can see Citicorp Center. This building was not present in the early 1970s.

In some scenes when snow is falling, the broad-leaf trees in the background have green (summer) leaves.In the scene set in 1968 where Frank prepares to call his cousin in Bangkok for the first time, an Internet URL is clearly seen on a billboard across the street.

Frank drives past a sign saying I-395, when in fact, the road in Washington, D.C. was not named so until the late seventies.The law books Richie Roberts is studying for class are festooned with 3M Post-it® notes: they weren't invented until 1977, and were available nationally in 1980.

Moses Jones (played by RZA of the Wu Tang Clan) sports a prominent Wu Tang Clan tattoo on his left upper arm, especially visible in the first briefing scene of the newly formed narcotics unit. Additionally, upon close examination, the tattoo features his name 'RZA' set inside the Wu Tang Clan logo.Just after Frank hears the news of the imminent fall of Saigon on TV and goes to ring his contact, we see a modern car drive past the window.

The subway train shown going into the Manhattan Valley tunnel was built in 1986.The scene where Richie and his partner find money in the trunk of a car has a caption that says "New Jersey". The view in the beginning of the scene is of the Williamsburg Bridge, which connects Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to the Lower East Side in Manhattan.

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