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A truncated two-hour version has been shown on television and airlines, achieved by chopping out most of William Parrish's (Sir Anthony Hopkins') business. Producer and Director Martin Brest has disowned this edit, so the director's credit is for "Alan Smithee".
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As this movie was one of the few movies showing the first trailer for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), it was reported that droves of Star Wars fans bought tickets for this movie, only to leave after the trailer showed.
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When Death (Brad Pitt) is standing behind the glass in William's (Sir Anthony Hopkins') library upon their first meeting, the body is obscured. However, when Death stands closer to the window, the outline in the window forms a skull. This is the first indication of who the mysterious person is.
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Eli Roth had an early job working as a stand-in during production of this movie, but was fired by Producer and Director Martin Brest due to a misconception. Reportedly, Roth was asked to walk with an awkward "bouncing" motion to appear "taller" (as he was physically shorter than the actor he was doubling) while the crew set up a shot and lighting with him. Brest happened to walk by, saw Roth's awkward movement, and declared him to be "one untalented stand-in" before ordering him to be immediately fired, not realizing he had been instructed by the crew to move that way. Roth was later re-hired as a Production Assistant, but this was kept secret from Brest to avoid trouble.
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Loosely based on Death Takes a Holiday (1934).
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Sir Anthony Hopkins would frequently come to blows with Producer and Director Martin Brest over his insistence on doing multiple takes.
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Most of William Parrish's country mansion scenes were shot at the Aldrich Mansion, 836 Warwick Neck Ave., Warwick, Rhode Island.
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When "The Guy at the Coffee Shop" first appears, he is obscured in the translucent phone booth talking on the phone. The first time "Death" is seen is in "the Guy's" body, also obscured behind glass in William's library, making a direct connection between the two.
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The part of William Parrish was originally slated for Gene Hackman.
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Sir Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt appeared in Legends of the Fall (1994).
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The place where Susan (Claire Forlani) and Joe Black (Brad Pitt) first meet is Broadway Restaurant, at 2664 Broadway and West 101st Street, Manhattan, New York.
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The cast includes three Oscar winners: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, and Marcia Gay Harden; and one Oscar nominee: June Squibb. However, Brad Pitt did not win his Oscar for acting, he won it as a producer.
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In the original "Death Takes a Holiday", while Death was on vacation nobody on earth died. In this version, the Jamaican lady, at minimum, dies.
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When Joe Black (Brad Pitt) and Susan (Claire Forlani) discuss how "nothing lasts" in the coffee shop, it's the same sentiment Benjamin (Brad Pitt) expressed to Daisy (Cate Blanchett) in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).
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During William and Susan Parrish's last scene together, the orchestra plays an arrangement of "What a Wonderful World". First recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1968, the song has become a standard. Armstrong's recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
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Although he is usually referred to as Bill, the main character's name, William Parrish, is a playful foreshadowing of his fate ("will perish").
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