Happy Groundhog Day, everybody! Here are ten things you might not know about the classic Bill Murray comedy movie…
- Before Bill Murray landed the part, the role of cursed weatherman Phil Connors was offered to both Tom Hanks and Michael Keaton. They turned it down.
- Screenwriter Danny Rubin’s original draft of the script was very different. It would have begun in media res with Phil Connors already stuck inside the time loop. The ending would have seen him committing suicide, only to wake up on the same day again. The final twist would have seen Rita revealing that she was also stuck in her own loop.
- Though he didn’t want to, Rubin was instructed by producers to add an explanation for the time loop in the second draft. He inserted a scorned ex-girlfriend of Phil’s who turns out to be a witch and curses him to live the same day over and over. The producers didn’t like it and it was once again removed.
- For those who don’t know, Punxsutawney is a real town – and its Groundhog Day festivities are indeed held on Gobbler’s Knob. The movie, however, was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois. This miffed the town’s officials who refused to allow the real Punxsutawney Phil – the groundhog – to be used in the film.
- Speaking of which, the groundhogs actually used in the movie turned out not to be fans of Bill Murray. They bit him several times during filming – to the extent that he had to undergo precautionary rabies injections.