To wind up the Los Angeles Film Festival, Director Eli Roth has announced a live read of the original script of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Big deal? YES.
This was a ground breaking movie for most North American teens in the early 80s. It spawned mainstream “surfer dude” talk and launched the careers of Sean Penn, Nic Cage, and Judge Rienhold.
I don’t believe any of the original cast are involved, But Courtney Love is rumored to play Mr Hand (?), and Haley Joel Osment is also involved (The Sixth Sense).
5 facts about the movie you probably didn’t know:
1) Nicolas Cage made his big screen debut in Fast Times as “Brad’s Bud”
Cage was originally supposed to play Brad, but the filmmakers relegated him to a background role after his improvisations during the auditioning process were deemed too weird. The credits list Cage as “Nicolas Coppola.” He later changed his last name professionally to avoid charges of nepotism—he is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola.
2) Despite being a movie about high school, Cage was the only cast member under the age of 18
Because of the sometimes-explicit nature of the film’s subject matter, casting directors made sure actors who auditioned were 18 years of age or older. Cage, who was only 17, lied about his age to snag a role.
3) Sean Penn didn’t have to audition for the Spicoli role
He was cast after a brief chat prior to his scheduled audition.
4) Penn stayed in character during the film’s entire shoot
Always the method actor, Penn forced everyone on-set to call him “Spicoli” and wouldn’t answer to his actual name. Other Fast Times actors made fun of him behind his back by calling him “Sean DeNiro.”
5) Fast Times is Best Actor Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker’s first film
He plays enraged football player Charles Jefferson.
Here’s a classic Spicoli clip: