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15 things you (probably) didn’t know about Carlito's Way


Top three beards in movie history:

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Running Man

2. Al Pacino, Carlito's Way

1. Terrence Stamp, Superman II

The trademark Carlito beard was actually Pacino's idea, and you can have that fact as a bonus 16th thing you (probably) didn't know about Carlito's Way. Here's 15 more.

(Images: Rex & YouTube)

1. Screenwriter David Koepp originally penned Carlito's voice over as taking place in a hospital corridor in the final seconds of his life. Director Brian De Palma moved it to the platform of a train station. The director went on to suggest that the entire movie is a recollection that takes place when the wheels of the stretcher get stuck in a crack in the platform floor. And so it was.


2. The character of Carlito Brigante is a composite of three people that the author of the two books on which the movie is based, Edwin Torres (pictured), knew. On account of their criminality he has never named them.


3. Edwin Torres was a criminal defence attorney and is currently a New York state supreme court judge as well as author. The character of Kleinfeld is a composite of lawyers Torres knew, who really did get too incorporated into the world's of their clients. Torres knew three lawyers who were killed because they got too close.


4. De Palma was incredibly hesitant to make Carlito's Way as he didn't want to return to "another movie with Spanish speaking gangsters", having made Scarface with Pacino and Producer Martin Bregman ten years earlier.


5. Torres wrote two books about Carlito Brigante: Carlito's Way and After Hours. The first novel focused on a young Carlito while the latter featured him as an older gangster, just out of prison. The movie takes its name from the first book, but takes far more influence from the latter. They went with the name Carlito's Way so that it would not be confused with Martin Scorsese's 1985 movie After Hours.


6. It was Sean Penn's idea to shave a receding hairline into Kleinfeld's head.


7. Pacino struggled when acting opposite Jorge Porcel, who played Saso, the corrupt club owner. Porcel, who was a comedian that Producer Martin Bregman saw on Spanish TV and asked to audition, spoke no English and only knew when to deliver his lines by learning what the last few words of Pacino's lines were, as a cue. Pacino couldn't get an "actor's response" out of him to bounce off.


8. In the book Kleinfeld is stabbed, but survives. In the movie, of course, he is shot and dies. "It would have been too bleak a world for Brian [De Palma]" said screenwriter David Koepp "If Carlito had died and Kleinfeld had gotten away with it."


9. The on foot chase scene took months and months to film. "We started the chase in the winter," said De Palma, "and finished it in the middle of summer."

Pacino's black coat started to cause the actor issues when they were filming the chase from train carriage to train carriage, as it was the height of summer. "He was sweating to death." said De Palma. "At one point he said he'd had enough and he actually took the train home."


10. De Palma wanted to create, in the audience, a sense of déjà vu by showing us the shooting in the black and white at the beginning of the film, and then again but in colour at the end.


11. Charlie Sheen was considered for the part of David Kleinfeld and Alison Doody (pictured, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) was wanted for the role of Gail, but declined. John Leguizamo turned down the part of Benny Blanco four times before finally agreeing.


12. Al Pacino originally wanted to grow a ponytail to play Carlito, but he changed his mind when he visited East Harlem and saw that that wasn't really a look for the Puerto Ricans were going for.


13. Directors John McKenzie (The Long Good Friday, 1980) and Abel Ferrara, pictured (Bad Lieutenant, 1992) were considered before De Palma was hired.


14. The name of Carlito's nightclub is "El Paraíso", the same name as the food stand that Pacino's character operated in Scarface.


15. The first scheduled shoot was actually the Grand Central climax, but this had to be rethought when Pacino showed up on crutches. Instead, the ill-fated drug deal in the pool hall, kickstarted production. This was a scene that the studio originally asked De Palma to make shorter. De Palma actually extended the scene but used tension building techniques that tricked the studio execs into thinking it was shorter and therefore loving it.


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