‘Training Day,’ directed by Antoine Fuqua and featuring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, is a film that has left an enduring mark in the realm of cinema. Beyond its plot and performances, the film’s creation is a narrative of interesting details, casting choices, and script development that have contributed to its lasting impact.
We’re taking 10 ‘Training Day’ facts that shed light on the film’s origins and evolution. From the initial screenplay to pivotal casting decisions, these insights provide a deeper understanding of the film’s production process.
As we explore the behind-the-scenes journey of ‘Training Day,’ we will reveal facts that reflect the dedication and creativity involved in bringing this cinematic classic to life. Keep scrolling and let us know which training day fact was most surprising.
10 Years in the Making
David Ayer crafted the screenplay for ‘Training Day’ in 1995. The script initially elicited mixed reviews in Hollywood circles, with responses either good or bad. However the script’s fortunes took a dramatic turn when LAPD officer Rafael Perez was apprehended for stealing cocaine from an evidence locker. This real-life scandal thrust the script into the limelight, garnering more attention and interest, including Warner Bros., who eventually acquired the rights.
Original Director and Cast
Initially, director Davis Guggenheim was attached to the project, with Samuel L. Jackson and Matt Damon slated for the lead roles. However once Denzel Washington accepted the role of Alonzo instead, the actor allegedly expressed a desire for a change in the director’s chair.
The Many Rookie Cops
Eminem was approached for a role alongside Denzel Washington in ‘Training Day.’ However, he ultimately chose to headline ‘8 Mile’ the following year. Also Tobey Maguire, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr., Scott Speedman, and Paul Walker, tested for the part of Jake.
Ethan Hawke’s Screen Test
Ethan Hawke was cast after Washington and was upset at Washington for improvising during their screen test. The actor later claimed he considered going back to the room to tell them all to “go to hell” when he got a phone call saying that the audition went great and the part was his.
Alonzo Harris’s choice of wheels in the movie, a 1979 Chevy Monte Carlo, was meticulously selected. The license plate, bearing the code ‘ORP-967,’ stood for the real-life LAPD officer Rafael Pérez, who was born in 1967 and was a central figure in the infamous 1998 Rampart scandal.
Feature Film Debut
Denzel Washington played an unexpected role in Macy Gray’s career. According to Complex, he suggested her for the role of Sandman’s wife, marking her debut in feature films. Gray’s performance added a unique dimension to the film. Also when the singer was researching her part she went around one of the neighborhoods wearing a wig and a gold tooth so people wouldn’t notice her.
Shooting in ‘The Jungle’
Much of the movie’s second half takes place in “The Jungle,” a fictional gang-controlled neighborhood in Los Angeles. These scenes were shot on-location at the Imperial Courts housing projects in Watts. Director Antoine Fuqua secured permission from the local gang leaders to shoot footage in the projects, and Fuqua cast local residents and gang members in background roles. Originally production was told that shooting at the Imperial Courts housing project was off-limits for safety reasons. The community wanted the movie to happen and to be as unflinchingly honest as possible, so the ban was lifted. Fuqua cast residents of South Central, Crenshaw, Firestone, Inglewood, Rampart, Echo Park, Lincoln Heights, and the Imperial Courts in Watts in small roles and as extras.
The most memorable line in the movie ‘Kig Kong ain’t got sh*t on me” was improvised by Denzel.
Originally, the script had Alonzo surviving at the end of the movie. However, Denzel Washington insisted on staying true to the character’s arc, leading to the character’s dramatic fate. “In the original script he did [survive], but I was not having it,” Washington told The Hollywood Reporter.
Denzel Washington’s portrayal of a corrupt police officer raised concerns with the NAACP. Nevertheless, Denzel defended his role choice. According to Ethan Hawke’s interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “The NAACP came to the set and said, ‘What are you doing?,'” Hawke. “And you know I never had a political organization talk to me about what roles I pick. And Denzel, I remember him saying, ‘What, Al Pacino can play a bad guy. Gene Hackman can play a bad guy. I can’t play a bad guy? I’m an artist. That’s how I lead, not by being some dubious role model by only playing squeaky clean people. I’ll be a role model by being great at my job.’ You know now that is impressive to me obviously.”
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