Photo by Universal Pictures
In September 8 1995, was released one of the most iconic drag queen movies of all time, ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar’. The movie talks about three drag queens who travel cross-country, in a trip to compete in the Drag Queen of America pageant in Hollywood, California; until their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in a small town.
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo
Director: Beeban Kidron
To celebrate the 20th birthday, here are some of the curiosities about this film.
Tip: Play this while you are reading x)
- Before filming the scene in which Sheriff Dollard (played by Chris Penn) pulls the car over at the roadside, Patrick Swayze secretly placed a corn cob down the front of his underwear. Penn’s expression of shock upon putting his hand up Swayze’s dress is not faked.
- The real Julie Newmar showed up on set one day to watch filming, which led to her cameo appearance.
- According to John Leguizamo in his autobiography, his frequent improvisation angered Patrick Swayze so much that Swayze tried to punch him in the face.
- Viggo Mortensen auditioned for the role of Vida Boheme.
- The title of the movie came from an autographed picture of Julie Newmar that author Douglas Carter Beane saw on the wall of a Times Square Chinese restaurant, the China Bowl, in the mid 80’s.
- Several character names are taken from classic literature. Virgil and Beatrice appear in Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy”, while Billy Budd and Crazy Elija appear in Herman Melville works, “Billy Budd” and “Moby Dick”, respectively.
- Golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez won an undisclosed sum from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment after complaining that John Leguizamo’s character shared his name. Rodriguez claimed that being linked to a gay character who dresses in drag had harmed his reputation.
- The name of one of the towns, Bala Cynwyd, is a Philadelphia suburb, where executive producer Mitchell Kohn attended junior high school.
- Patrick Swayze earned the role of sage Vida Boheme by improvising a 30-minute monologue inspired by the bullying he suffered as a boy studying ballet in Texas.
- Gary Oldman claims he was originally offered one of the lead drag roles but decided he didn’t want to do another part that required extensive make-up after his experiences on Dracula (1992).