It’s been 17 years since we were blessed with Miss Congeniality, and it still holds up as a comedic classic. It was the first time we really got to see Sandra Bullock in her element, and once she found the spotlight she never left it.
But there are some things about the movie you may not have know, and frankly they’re more perfect than April 25th.
1. Mr. Ed
You probably know him as Richard Gilmore, but the late, legendary Ed Herrmann was set to make a cameo in Miss Congeniality. He was set to play Gracie’s father, and can even be seen in the film’s first trailer. Unfortunately, Herrmann’s entire cameo was cut from the final version of the film.
2. Stunt Sandra
Though some people write it off as a comedy, Miss Congeniality was a fairly action-packed movie. But because she’s a professional, Bullock did most of her own stunts.
“She jumped right in,” said stunt-coordinator Jack Gill. “She picked it up really quick. She listens very well. She’s very athletic.”
In a behind-the-scenes feature, Bullock says the physical aspect was far from the most difficult part.
“The most difficult thing for me is to actually walk and talk with breasts that aren’t mine and six-inch stiletto heels. That’s my action. The leaping and jumping? That’s no problem. It’s the walking and talking with the breasts that’s going to be my…difficult part,” she joked.
3. Pre vs Post
When it came to hair and makeup, Bullock said she identified more with the pre-makeover Gracie as opposed to post-makeover. It only took 30 minutes to get into pre-makeover character, but a whole 2.5 hours to get beauty-pageant ready!
4. Just Keep Swimming
Most beauty pageants require a swimsuit portion, but Sandra Bullock didn’t want the movie to have one. Considering herself a tomboy, Bullock was reluctant to be on screen in a two-piece.
“That was a huge bone of contention for me. I was trying to get it written out so many times and it’s in the script,” she said.
5. Midnight Cowboy
When Gracie is learning how to properly “glide,” as demonstrated by Michael Caine, a taxi almost hits her. Gracie yells, “Hey, I’m glidin’ here!” which is a nod to Dustin Hoffman’s character in Midnight Cowboy, who yells “I’m walking here!”
6. Acquired Skill
Cheryl Frasier’s talent during the pageant was baton twirling, but Heather Burns (the actress who played her) had never done it before. She learned how to twirl normal batons, but drew the line at twirling flaming ones. A stunt double was brought in for those scenes, and she happened to be a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas, where the scene was filmed.
7. Boy Genius
The “Miss United States” song that the contestants sing on the bus was written by Clyde Lawrence, who happened to be six years old at the time.
“She’s queen of fifty states, she’s elegance and taste, she’s Miss United States” was all Clyde’s doing. His father, Mark Lawrence, was a writer on the movie which is how he got the gig.
8. Nine To One
To get Oscar-winner Michael Caine to appear in the film, nine other roles had to be cut out in order to give him optimal screen time.
“It took some pretty major script rewriting to get Oscar-winner Michael Caine aboard,” one report says. “Nine originally planned parts were dumped to beef up Caine’s role sufficiently to nail his interest.”
Caine’s wife, Shakira, had been a beauty pageant star in the Miss World competition, so he went to her for advice on the role.
9. Make It Up As You Go
At the beginning of the film, Gracie is reprimanded for screwing up a mission with the FBI. She goes home after to blow off steam, but all the script says was “Gracie comes home and starts boxing.” Bullock decided to ad-lib some bits, and they ended up making it into the film. She kicks her bed, then trips over it and then tries to close the microwave (unsuccessfully).