TITS BITS... UH... TID BITS
by Hans ten Cate
Wednesday, 20 August 1997

Here are a few more interesting tid bits on Fierce Creatures. Know of any others? Give us a shout. In case you missed it earlier, The Daily Llama has some exclusive behind-the-scenes photographs taken on the set of Fierce Creatures. Thanks go to the Marwell Zoological Society Photographic Group for sending these to us. Click on the negative (left) to see them.

GROSS COMMERCIALIZATION?

No one could accuse Fierce Creatures of selling out. Except perhaps those who took issue with the 50 or so corporations who provided their logos and trademarks to the film. These were used to highlight Kevin Kline's outrageous scheme to have a sponsor for each animal at Marwood Zoo. Even John Cleese's expensive Italian suit has a large corporate logo emblazoned on the back.

Companies and product names like Motorola, Guinness, Sol, Esso, Perrier, Doritos, Sunkist, Absolut Vodka, Pilkington Glass, and British Airways all took part. Even famous celebrities such as Bruce Springsteen, Steve Martin, Kevin Costner, Tina Turner, and Miss Piggy lent their endorsements.

"The companies went along with this," producer Michael Shamberg said. "John wrote a letter explaining what was wanted and they saw it was tongue in cheek. Not a penny exchanged hands."

NEAR FATAL ACCIDENT FOR FIERCE CREATURES ACTRESS

Last August 13, a Spanish executive jet split in two after overshooting the runway at the Royal Air Force airfield at Northolt, crashing through a fence and sliding onto one of the main roads out of London. On board was Irish actress Lisa Hogan who plays the Sea lion Keeper in Fierce Creatures. She was on her way back to London from Palma, Majorca to assist in the reshoots of Fierce Creatures.

Fortunately for the three people on board (Lisa, the pilot, and co-pilot), no one was seriously injured. Lisa was treated for minor cuts and bruises. "It's remarkable that no one is dead," said David Robinson of the London Fire Brigade. Huge traffic jams built up as rescue services cleared the wreckage of the Learjet 25.

A LEMUR CALLED ROLLO

Fierce Creatures has many veiled (and some not-so-veiled) references to A Fish Called Wanda. For one, Creatures stars no fewer than nine actors from the original Wanda cast. In addition to the main cast members, Creatures also features Tom Georgeson (who played the crook George Thomason in A Fish Called Wanda), as well as Michael Percival, and Anthony Pedley.

People who saw Fierce Creatures surely remember one of the last lines of the film in which Rollo Lee stumbles whilst in mid-embrace with Jamie Lee Curtis's character. "Wanda..." he begins. "Willa...!" corrects Curtis, obviously a willing accomplice in the tongue-in-cheek reference.

The book of the film, by Iain Johnstone, takes many more liberties with the Wanda connection. From the first few pages, it is obvious that John Cleese's characters Rollo Lee (Creatures) and Archie Leach (Wanda) are actually brothers! It's just that Rollo changed his last name while working for the Hong Kong police. This, partially to disassociate himself from the scandalous affair in London in which his famous barrister/brother ran off with a jewel thief. But also to improve his chances of promotion in the Asian-dominated police force in Hong Kong.

Here's another odd little reference some die-hard Python fans may have spotted. In one of the scenes near the sea lion pen, Tom Georgeson and Anthony Pedley are admiring the animals, to wit Georgeson remarks "Beautiful plumage!" An obvious Parrot Sketch reference.