While it is often pushed aside by showier fare, Minority Report is one of the great sci-fi films in recent memory. Featuring Tom Cruise at his Tom Cruise-iest, Minority Report is one of the better adaptations of Phillip K. Dick’s literary work. Sure, it’s very, very loosely based on a short story of the same name, but the film is an effective and exciting bit of science fiction. Set in 2054, crimes are now being stopped before there is even a chance to commit them, thanks to mutants called precogs who can see visions of the future. Tom Cruise stars as Captain John Anderton, the tortured and hard pressed leader of the new law enforcement group, PreCrime, and is framed for a crime that he didn’t (and will not) commit. On the run with one of the precogs, Agatha (played by the under-appreciated Samantha Morton), Anderton is on a mission to clear his name and expose the corruption inherent in the system.
Thanks to the film’s enduring and interesting subject matter, Fox has developed a television series (which premieres tonight) based on the concept. In order to prepare for the new show or to just get a greater appreciation of this beloved film, check out these interesting bits of trivia about the behind-the-scenes and development of the film.
It was almost a Total Recall sequel.
After the camptastic 1990 version of Total Recall (another Dick short story) was a hit, the studio wanted to get a sequel off the ground quickly. It would have followed Schwarzenegger’s Quaid working with the mutant precogs, and it probably would have been awesome. However, the production company, Carolco, went out of business and 20th Century Fox bought the rights. They scrapped the sequel idea, and the project was stuck in development hell for a decade before Steven Spielberg rescued it. Colin Farrell, who was the villain in Minority Report, did go on to star in a reboot of Total Recall in 2012.
Cameron Crowe and Cameron Diaz have blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos.
Tom Cruise had completed filming of the divisive Vanilla Sky just a few days before starting Minority Report, and his director and co-star, Cameron Crowe and Cameron Diaz, decided to come along for brief cameos. They can be seen in the background of a crowded train that Anderton boards.
The precogs’ names have literary roots.
The three mutants’ names are literary in nature, named after three great mystery writers: Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie.
Anderton doesn’t exactly look like Tom Cruise in the short story.
In Dick’s original tale, Anderton is described as short, fat, and balding. That’s not exactly the recipe for a traditional action hero, but the thought of Tom Cruise doing the Minority Report stunts in full Les Grossman makeup is amazing.
Apple’s still around in 2054.
One eagle-eyed (eared?) redditor noticed a neat little detail in the film: The retina scan beep when Anderton enters the jail is exactly the same as the iPhone charging sound. Maybe Steve Jobs was a Phillip K. Dick fan?
Cruise was as dedicated as ever to his stunts.
During the bathtub scene, Spielberg was planning on adding CGI air bubbles so Cruise wouldn’t have to remain submerged for such an extended period of time. However, Cruise being Cruise, he insisted on holding his breath and learning how to release the tiny bubbles himself. It probably wouldn’t have made a huge visual difference had it been done digitally, but knowing that it’s real adds to an already tense moment.
The cinematography was unique in many ways.
Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski had worked with Spielberg on a number of other films, including Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Prior to filming, Spielberg told Kaminsky to make it the “the ugliest, dirtiest movie” they had ever worked on. In order to convey the bleak, futuristic tone of the film, Kaminski bleached the film negative in post-production to give it the unique, washed out look.
The film bears a lot of similarities to The Fugitive.
Minority Report shares a lot of plot points with the 1993 thriller, The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford. While The Fugitive doesn’t have the sci-fi elements, the beats are very similar: A man is framed for a crime that he didn’t commit, a subway passenger recognizes him from his picture in the paper, he visits a colleague to unravel a clue, both are pursued by a cop through crowded spaces, change their appearance (though Ford’s Kimble didn’t have to REPLACE HIS EYES like Anderton did), and were set up by a colleague in order to cover their own sins. Dang.
Spielberg and Cruise took paycuts to keep the budget under $100 million.
They were both so passionate about getting the film made that they were willing to take a steep paycheck reduction to help the budget. Instead, they negotiated a deal to get 15 percent of the film’s gross instead. The film made $358.4 million at the box office, so that gamble ended up paying off.