Bette Midler: The Stepford Wives – Facts And Trivia

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Bette Midler: The Stepford Wives – Facts And Trivia

The film had an infamously troubled production, with reports of clashes between director Frank Oz and stars Nicole Kidman and Bette Midler. In later interviews, Kidman, Matthew Broderick, and producer Scott Rudin all expressed regret for being part of this movie. Kidman reportedly almost left the project, dissatisfied with the script rewrites. Oz has reported regrets over his involvement, admitting that he feels he made too many mistakes, cared too much about what the studios, audiences, and producers wanted, and ultimately delivered a substandard project.

Heavily re-edited and re-written following test screenings, with new scenes shot and others deleted. The attempts to cater to audience tastes backfired as the new edits and scenes created continuity errors and major story problems.

Nicole Kidman accepted the role in this film when she heard she would be working with Frank Oz – she is a huge fan of Miss Piggy and it is the closest she’d get to “working with her”.

Tim Burton was attached to direct at one point.

When Walter enters the lab where Stepford Wives are transformed. He’s referred to as “Member 1956”. This is the same number he punches in the front-door code to allow Joanna to leave.

Director Frank Oz considered the idea of filming cameos with actresses Katharine Ross and Paula Prentiss, who appeared in the original film. He voted against the idea, citing that it would disrupt the credibility of the film.

Based on test screenings, Nicole Kidman had to stop filming The Interpreter (2005) for a few days to do a little extra shooting.

The location used for the rotunda of the Men’s Club was the same one used in the original film.

Walter Kresby (Matthew Broderick) makes reference to “The Wind Beneath My Wings“, a popular song made famous by Bette Midler, who appears in the movie.

Siblings John Cusack and Joan Cusack were originally cast as Walter Eberhart and Bobbie Markowe respectively, but had to drop out of the film for family reasons.

During post-production, in March 2004, a new scene was filmed: this scene showed Manhattan business women on their way to work, in congested Manhattan morning traffic. This was intended to be the “new” opening scene of the movie, directly preceding the Network Affiliate scene. This scene was later completely scratched from the film, before the official June 2004 release in theatres.

The theatrical trailer includes snippets of scenes not used in the final film, like Bette Midler’s character having some “technical” problems and saying “Good Bye” over and over again.

Bette Midler’s character wears a T-shirt of the British hard-rock band Deep Purple (the Mk II line-up) that depicts their “Perfect Strangers” album & tour of 1984/5.

Several scenes and some sub-plots were deleted and/or added to the film based on audience test reactions: – The scene where Faith Hill‘s character breaks down at the square dance ran a few seconds longer. – There was originally a scene of Walter contemplating whether or not he should go through with turning Joanna into a Stepford Wife, and the other husbands try to convince him that she’ll be happy that way. – Filmed but deleted was an extravagant extended version of the scene between Bobbie and Joanna when Joanna finds out that Bobbie has been turned into a Stepford Wife. After Bobbie tells Joanna all of her shortcomings, Joanna stabs Bobbie above the breast with a butcher knife. Bobbie goes haywire, and sets about performing a number of household tasks in the manner of the old Tex Avery cartoons, with Bobbie’s finger turning into a vacuum cleaner, her tongue into a squeegee and her head exploding off of her shoulders while demonstrating what an orgasm is like for a Stepford Wife. The scene concludes with Bobbie opening her breasts to reveal a built-in cooler and offering Joanna a beer. It was the biggest FX sequence in the film, but was cut out despite great expense and months of work by computer artists. This was done because preview audiences felt it was “too much”. It can be found as a deleted scene on the DVD. – An extended scene of Walter in the basement of the men’s club deactivating the Stepford program, and displays indicate that the women’s real brains have been transplanted into robot bodies. At the end of the sequence Faith Hill’s character shoots her hand out of her arm on a long robotic tether and holds her husband up in the air. – The original ending of the movie was an extension of the scene where Glenn Close kisses Christopher Walken‘s head. When she kisses it, the electricity throws Close up in the air, where she levitates, as in the old Tex Avery cartoons, and her shoes explode off of her feet and fly up against a wall and all of her hair stands on end. She falls down next to Walken’s head, which briefly comes alive and croaks, “Good night. Thank you for visiting Stepford,” while Joanna and Walter look on and the camera pulls back for the fade-out.

When Bobbie, Joanna, and Roger are in Bobbie’s house, the show on the television is Cartoon Network’s Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (2000).

Reunites Matthew Broderick with his “Biloxi Blues” (1988) co-star Christopher Walken.
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Mostly filmed in the town of Darien in Connecticut

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2 Responses to Bette Midler: The Stepford Wives – Facts And Trivia

  1. Jill says:

    Bette and Nicole didn’t get along? I heard they were friends?

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