SPOILER: At least 12 different buses were used during the shooting of the movie: - 2 buses for exterior shots - 2 buses that were blown up - 2 buses for interior shots - 2 buses for action sequences and "hitting things" - 1 bus for the jump sequence - 1 bus modified so that it could ride on 2 wheels during the sharp right turn sequence - 1 bus slightly raised so that a man in a mechanic car could fit underneath. It was for the sequence in which Officer Traven (Keanu Reeves) tries to deactivate the bomb. - 1 bus with an extended platform in front so that a filming crew could shoot the driver from the front. The filming crew referred to this bus as the "pope-mobile".
SPOILER: The Los Angeles airport would not allow any explosions to take place to avoid frightening travelers. The explosion scene that takes place when the bus collides with the airplane was filmed in Mojave, California.
Glenn Close, Barbara Hershey, Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Jane Seymour, Anjelica Huston, Kay Lenz, Kim Basinger, Kathleen Turner, Debra Winger, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, Emma Thompson, Rosanna Arquette, Meg Tilly, Daryl Hannah, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore, Jodie Foster, Tatum O`Neal, Bridget Fonda, Marisa Tomei, Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Julia Roberts, Winona Ryder, Cameron Diaz and Alyssa Milano all turned down the role of Annie.
John McTiernan turned down the role of director for Speed (1994/I). Eventually, it was decided that a newcomer should direct and the producers picked Jan de Bont, who had been in charge of cinematography for Die Hard (1988) and The Hunt for Red October (1990), two movies directed by McTiernan.
The famous `Dukes of Hazzard (1979)` sequence was the filmmakers` wry commentary on the uncompleted state of Interstate 105, which had become a running joke among LA motorists. It was finally (and quite coincidentally) completed in late 1993 shortly before the film`s release, years behind schedule.
Dennis Hopper`s line about Pershing Square being the "pickup spot" (for his ransom money) was a double entendre. For decades, Pershing Square has been a notorious locale for soliciting gay sex.
The bus number is 2525. 25+25=50. The bus has to stay above 50mph.
The ad that appears on the tail of the first bus that explodes says "Save the Clams" referring to an environmental movement to save the giant clams
Keanu Reeves did approximately 90% of his own stunts.
Jan de Bont insisted that Keanu Reeves get a sensible haircut as would befit a hard-working cop. 20th Century Fox were horrified when they saw the buzzcut that he adopted for the film, threatening to postpone the film to allow his hair to grow back.
20th Century Fox were not convinced to begin with that Keanu Reeves had enough star clout to front the film and insisted on a big name actress to star alongside him. Jan de Bont refused. Fox relented to his casting of Sandra Bullock with Reeves only two weeks before shooting began.
Keanu Reeves initially turned down the lead as he found Graham Yost`s original script to be too much like a Die Hard (1988) clone. He signed on after Jan de Bont brought in Joss Whedon to retool the script.
Sandra Bullock actually learned to drive a bus for the film, passing her test on her first attempt.
For the bus jump sequence, a ramp was built. The bus was started from about 1 mile back and accelerated towards the ramp. When it hit the ramp it had reached a speed of 61 mph. The bus traveled 109 feet and its front wheels reached an altitude of 20 feet from the ground, which was higher than anyone had anticipated. Because of this, the cameras were not placed correctly and the top front part of the bus goes out of the frame when the bus reaches the maximum point of the jump.
A special bus was used for the bus jump scene. This bus was modified so that it could reach a speed of 70 mph and it was equipped with powerful shock absorbers. The driver seat was moved back 15 feet so that if something went wrong the driver wasn`t ejected from the bus. The seat itself was a suspension mechanism between the ceiling and the bus floor to avoid the driver from suffering spinal compression on impact.
The bus jump scene was not in the original script, director Jan de Bont came up with the idea one day when he was driving around Los Angeles and noticed one section of the I-105 freeway was missing.
For the bus jump sequence, the city of Los Angeles gave permission to shoot on the I-105 freeway during the last month of its construction. This required the filming crew to be constantly on the move, depending on the location of the workers. It also created continuity problems because the appearance of the set kept changing as the construction crews would erect or tear down structures.
The picture on Harry`s desk is that of director Jan de Bont`s wife Trish.
In an earlier script, the bus driver Sam (Hawthorne James) had to be removed from the bus because he had suffered a heart attack and not because he had been shot.
The scene in which Annie (Sandra Bullock) takes the chewing gum out of her mouth and pretends to put it on her seat in order to have an excuse to change seats and move away from the obnoxious Stephens was improvised by Bullock.
A Fox producer realized they might have a movie hit in their hands when he noticed that, during test screenings, audience members would walk backwards when they needed to go to the bathroom so they would miss as little as possible.
Writer Graham Yost named the main character Jack Traven after B. Traven, writer of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
The script was pitched to Paramount Studios, which placed the movie on turnaround and suggested to writer Graham Yost that his script, which called for the movie to end after everyone gets off the bus, had "too much bus" in it, implying audiences would not go for a movie in which a bus is driving around for two hours. Yost then added the subway scenes, and the modified script was presented to Fox Studios, which agreed to film the movie.
A "deleted scene" sees Jack shooting Howard Payne in the neck, just after he`d shot his partner in the leg at the beginning of the film. Later in the film, you can see the oval scar on Payne`s neck caused by the deleted shooting.
Line producer Ian Bryce was driving the towing vehicle, which was towing the large airplane at the airport.
There is a picture of an ocean wave on the side of the bus, more noticeably when the bus is circling the airport. That photograph was taken by Jan de Bont, for a campaign that was done for the American oceans, "Heal the Bay".
There was an instance where a schoolboy saved the lives of a schoolbus full of kids, when the driver had a heart attack, by climbing on to the driver`s lap, jumping on the brake pedal and pulling the bus to the side of the road. When asked later why he did it, he told them that he had seen "that bus movie". At half time during an NFL game, there was a ceremony hailing the boy as a hero.
Filming at the airport took around three weeks. Was made slightly difficult when a plane`s engine was being tested and it was extremely noisy.
Michael J. Coo is a key grip on this movie, and is the cop in the second photograph of police mugshots. The name on the file reads Michael Coo.
When the police were looking at police mugshots, the first photograph was of David MacMillan, who is a sound mixer on the film.
Before filming began on the freeway with the gap in it, all the lines and signage had to be put in and taken out on a regular basis before and during filming. Filming took places for around two and a half weeks.
The black helicopter used by Mac was a NoTar helicopter. NoTar means the helicopter didn`t have a tail rotor.
The watch Jack was wearing had been discontinued. After this film, the company started making them again as they were suddenly in demand.
The plane cost $80,000.
Although the film is set in LA, the bus used in the production actually comes from Orangeville, Ontario, Canada. The city of LA had to exchange one of their buses and it is still there today being used as a part of the normal Orangeville metro system
Amidst all the destruction in this movie, only 7 characters actually die.
Renny Harlin was offered to direct this film, but turned it down.
Quentin Tarantino was originally offered the chance to direct, but turned it down.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is playing at Grauman`s Chinese Theater near where the subway train stops on Hollywood Blvd.
In the screenplay, Howard Payne`s name was Howard Fisk.
Director Jan de Bont came up with the idea for the opening elevator sequence while working as a cinematographer on Die Hard (1988). While riding in an elevator in the building used as the skyscr*per in that film, the elevator got stuck on the 40th floor, and de Bont had to climb out the escape hatch and jump onto another elevator to get out.
When Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) says "Be prepared. That`s the Boy Scouts` marching song", he is quoting the opening line to "Be Prepared", a song by Tom Lehrer.
There was originally a scene called "Officer Baker`s failed rescue" in which a bomb squad officer called Baker was going to be lowered onto the bus from a helicopter only to have to pull up when a bridge gets in the way, where he meets an unfortunate end. This scene storyboard can be found on the special edition DVD complete with optional commentary by Director Jan de Bont.
The 105 freeway in California had recently been completed, but not opened at the time of production. The filmmakers were given all the time they needed to complete the freeway scenes without the hassle of closing down an operating major freeway.
Some of the shots of the subway train as it runs off the rails are of a miniature model.
Jack (Keanu Reeves) calls Ortiz (Carlos Carrasco) "Gigantor". That is a reference to the animated series, "Gigantor" (1964).
Jack`s registration plate is `646 TEZ`. `Tez` means speed in Hindi.
The police helicopter used by the Captain (or Lieutenant) in the movie, N599DB, spent several years thereafter in operation as C-FCPS, Calgary, Alberta, Canada`s police helicopter "HAWC 1". It was retired and sold to a private citizen in late 2006.
The number plate of the bus `2525` was California 539724
The film literally ran out of money before it was completed. When the film was first previewed for an audience, the subway scenes were animated story boards. The audience loved them so much, the studio came up with the funds to shoot the scenes properly.