15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ on its 15th Anniversary
Now officially 15 years removed from its theatrical release, we can honestly say that Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of the best comedies of the 21st century and the best comedy to feature vampire puppets, male frontal nudity and Russell Brand incoherently ranting about something other than vaccine mandates. So to celebrate its 15th anniversary, we’ve collected some trivia about the making of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, not all of which is penis-based, such as…
The Nude Breakup Was Based on a Real Incident…
The memorable opening sequence, in which Jason Segel’s character Peter Bretter is dumped while stark naked, was based on a real-life incident from Segel’s life. As he later told Conan O'Brien, the actual experience was somehow even more awkward and involved pausing the breakup to spend 25 minutes changing into the perfect outfit.
…And It Made His Mother Cry
According to Segel, when his mother saw her son exposing himself on the big screen, she was so upset she cried. Later, she sent an email to her entire family, reading, “I would like to inform you all that Jason has chosen to do full-frontal nudity, however, it is not gratuitous and is essential to the plot.”
On the Plus Side, Harrison Ford Complimented Segel’ s Junk
One person who didn't cry? Screen legend Ford, who watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall before signing up to co-star with Segel in the show Shrinking. Ford’s lone piece of feedback? “Nice penis.”
The Songs Were Written by Segel and Kyle Workman
There are a lot of catchy songs in the film, penned by Segel and composer Workman, from the power ballad “Dracula’s Lament”…
…to the Infant Sorrow tune “Inside of You.”
Charlie Hunnam Turned Down the Role of Aldous Snow
Segel wrote the part of horned-up rocker Aldous Snow (eventually played by Brand) for his Undeclared co-star Charlie Hunnam, who even participated in an early table read. But Hunnam eventually turned down the role, later admitting, “I was in a dark night of the soul in my career, at that point, and felt as though I needed to seize the trajectory and that just wasn’t really aligning with, at that period of my life and career, what I wanted to be doing.”
Kristen Bell Thought One Joke Was Specifically Making Fun of Her Career
Sarah Marshall’s résumé includes a crappy horror flick about killer cell phones, which Bell originally thought was a joke about her own personal filmography, specifically the 2006 movie Pulse. But both Segel and director Nicholas Stoller claim they knew nothing about it.
Segel Wanted to Make a Dracula Musical for Real
The climactic puppet Dracula musical was a genuine project Segel was working on during a "slow period" in which he was "smoking a lot of pot."
The Puppets Were Made by the Jim Henson Creature Shop
For the scene in which we get to see Peter’s musical A Taste For Love performed, Segel was able to get the Jim Henson Creature Shop to make 30 puppets for the fake production.
It Was Filmed at Turtle Bay Resort
Much of the movie was filmed at Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu — as was Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, apparently.
The Studio Created a Fake Blog to Promote the Movie
Part of the film’s viral marketing campaign involved releasing a fake website supposedly belonging to Peter Bretter, complete with depressing blog entries and desperate YouTube videos. Amazingly, the site is still up, and the blog kind of makes Peter seem like a huge dirtbag? In one entry about how “meeting lots of hot/kinda slutty girls is super fun,” he complains that a “gorgeous” girl “was like a corpse in the sack. Literally a dead person.”
Some of the Ads Pissed Off Real-Life Sarah Marshalls
The ad campaign also involved posters that contained no images, just hand-scrawled phrases like, “You suck Sarah Marshall,” and “You do look fat in those jeans Sarah Marshall.” Of course, Sarah Marshall is a pretty common name, and, understandably, a lot of real-life Sarah Marshalls were pretty pissed off about these posters.
A Guitar Shop Sells the T-Shirt from the Movie
At one point, Peter wears a T-shirt featuring the logo for Norman’s Rare Guitars, which is a real shop in Tarzana. They still sell the same shirt on their website, bragging that it was “seen in the famous movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
Segel’s Real-Life Attacker Was Inadvertently Cast as His Attacker
While writing the first draft of the screenplay in Hawaii, Segel “accidentally flirted” with a woman who happened to be dating an "ultimate fighter named Claw," who then threatened to “beat the shit” out of the actor. Despite being terrified, Segel “thought it would be a funny thing to happen in the movie,” so he wrote a similar scene.
When it came time to cast the part of the angry thug, Stoller inadvertently hired Claw, aka Kala Alexander, who, not surprisingly, seemed perfect for the role. A totally freaked-out Segel had to be convinced to go through with the scene, which he did, thanks to good old-fashioned denial: “I never mentioned it, and he never mentioned it,” Segel said. “But I know that we both knew.”
Bell Learned About the Cancelation of ‘Veronica Mars’ During Filming
Oddly, Bell learned that her beloved teen detective show Veronica Mars "wasn't going to be picked up for another season" one day before she had to film the scene where Sarah Marshall finds out that her show has been canceled. “I was able to draw on a lot of personal feelings for that scene,” Bell later said.
A Lot of People Think That Cynthia Nixon Has a Cameo
During the moment when Peter drunkenly jokes, “I’m on Sex and the City. What’s up Miranda?” while sipping cocktails in a hotel bar, fans have noticed that a woman who looks suspiciously like Cynthia Nixon, Miranda herself, walks into the bar just behind him. Which, if true, is a “Beetlejuice in Community”-tier subtle gag.
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