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15 things you (probably) didn't know about Zoolander

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Zoolander

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Zoolander
Danielle de Wolfe
14 November 2013

Coining the term ‘blue steel’, introducing us to the surreptitious world of the 'walk-off', and ruining the reputation of male models for the next decade and beyond, 2001's Zoolander still continues to impact pop culture today.

But how much do you really know about the Ben Stiller classic? Chances are: not a lot, giving you ample reason to peruse over these lesser-known facts about the cinematic masterclass in male model buffoonery.

(Images: AllStar, Rex, YouTube)


In the graveyard scene, Ben Stiller asks "Why male models?" and David Duchovny gives a long response. Stiller then forgot his next line so just repeated the question instead.


The film was banned in Malaysia because of a joke about the country. In the rest of Asia, it was changed to Micronesia.


Mark Ronson, before he gained fame, makes a small appearance as a DJ.


Famed arthouse director Terrence Malick counts Zoolander as one of his favourite films and included it, earlier last year, in a season of films which he presented to the Philbrook Museum of Arts in Tulsa.


The part of Mugatu was actually written for Andy Dick but his commitments to a failed TV show called Go Fish meant that he had to pass. Will Ferrell took the role while Dick took on a small role as Olga the Masseuse.


The license plate on the jeep driven by Derek's model roommate is RFK 575. This plate was also used in Final Destination.


Ben Stiller's original script for the sequel catches up with Derek and Hansel living in Europe 10 years later as they find themselves irrelevant to the industry.


Mugatu's fashion line Derelicte was a parody of a real fashion line created by John Galiano in 2000.


The working title of the sequel is Twolander.


A self-confessed Trekkie, Ben Stiller named Mugatu after ape-like monster from an episode of the original series, hence Will Ferrell’s line, “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle”, and even slightly based the appearance on it, with the two sharing curly white hair.


Ben Stiller claims the conception of Zoolander came after his friend Drake Strather proposed casting Stiller as a male model in a satirical short he was making for the VH1 Fashion Awards.


Much of the footage for the VH-1 Awards was taken from actual interviews with models and celebrities of the VH1-Vogue Fashion Awards in 2000.


Co-writer Justin Theroux makes a brief cameo as the evil dreadlocked DJ who breakdances at the end. Theroux performs all his own moves.


Released in the week following 9/11, the VFX team subsequently edited out the Twin Towers in various scenes, and Stiller’s since revealed that it almost caused the release date to be pushed back: “There was some discussion about whether we should release the movie, and I could never think of a reason that we shouldn’t release the movie at that time — other than it might not do that well, which to me wasn’t the right reason to not release it."


For the scene in which Derek and Hansel attempt to infiltrate Maury’s office, Hansel’s jumpsuit has a ‘Kumar’ nametag - a reference to Kumar Pallana, a fellow Wes Anderson regular who passed away last year.