Look Who's Talking (1989)

PG-13 | 96 mins | Comedy | 13 October 1989

Director:

Amy Heckerling

Writer:

Amy Heckerling

Producer:

Jonathan D. Krane

Cinematographer:

Thomas Del Ruth

Editor:

Debra Chiate

Production Designers:

Reuben Freed, Graeme Murray

Production Company:

M.C.E.G.
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HISTORY

       The film was identified by its working title, Daddy’s Home, in a 29 Jun 1988 HR item and 4 Oct 1988 HR production chart.
       A 26 Oct 1989 LAT article stated that writer-director Amy Heckerling was inspired to write Look Who’s Talking shortly after the birth of her daughter, Mollie Israel, on 3 Sep 1985. Heckerling brought the idea to Tri-Star Pictures, as stated in a 25 Oct 1989 HR “Hollywood Report” column, and collaborated with the studio on ten drafts of the script. Although the project was initially budgeted at $13 million, Tri-Star wanted to produce it for less. With Kirstie Alley interested in the role of “Mollie,” Tri-Star approached John Travolta for the role of “James.” Jonathan D. Krane, Travolta’s manager and founder of Management Company Entertainment Group, Inc. (M.C.E.G.), also represented Heckerling’s husband, Neal Israel, and had previously declared the screenplay “the funniest comedy script” he had ever read, according to an 18 Oct 1989 HR “Hollywood Report” column. Krane informed Tri-Star of Travolta’s interest, but the actor’s fee was deemed too high. Krane then offered to produce the film for just over $8 million by substituting Vancouver, British Columbia, for New York City, so that Travolta’s fee could be accommodated. An 18 Oct 1989 LAHExam article noted that the lead actors’ salaries, along with Heckerling’s, cost nearly half the film’s budget. Bruce Willis, who provided the voice of “Mikey,” received a percentage of the film’s gross in addition to his salary, according to a 23 Jul 1990 People item, which estimated Willis’s potential earnings at over ... More Less

       The film was identified by its working title, Daddy’s Home, in a 29 Jun 1988 HR item and 4 Oct 1988 HR production chart.
       A 26 Oct 1989 LAT article stated that writer-director Amy Heckerling was inspired to write Look Who’s Talking shortly after the birth of her daughter, Mollie Israel, on 3 Sep 1985. Heckerling brought the idea to Tri-Star Pictures, as stated in a 25 Oct 1989 HR “Hollywood Report” column, and collaborated with the studio on ten drafts of the script. Although the project was initially budgeted at $13 million, Tri-Star wanted to produce it for less. With Kirstie Alley interested in the role of “Mollie,” Tri-Star approached John Travolta for the role of “James.” Jonathan D. Krane, Travolta’s manager and founder of Management Company Entertainment Group, Inc. (M.C.E.G.), also represented Heckerling’s husband, Neal Israel, and had previously declared the screenplay “the funniest comedy script” he had ever read, according to an 18 Oct 1989 HR “Hollywood Report” column. Krane informed Tri-Star of Travolta’s interest, but the actor’s fee was deemed too high. Krane then offered to produce the film for just over $8 million by substituting Vancouver, British Columbia, for New York City, so that Travolta’s fee could be accommodated. An 18 Oct 1989 LAHExam article noted that the lead actors’ salaries, along with Heckerling’s, cost nearly half the film’s budget. Bruce Willis, who provided the voice of “Mikey,” received a percentage of the film’s gross in addition to his salary, according to a 23 Jul 1990 People item, which estimated Willis’s potential earnings at over $10 million.
       Principal photography began 25 May 1988, as stated in the 4 Oct 1988 HR production chart. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, filming took place entirely in Vancouver. There, Stanley Park stood in for Central Park, and Lions Gate Hospital served as the location for the birth scenes. Mikey was portrayed by four different babies, and a life-sized doll nicknamed “Corky” was used as the baby’s stand-in. Scenes depicting the inside of Mollie’s womb were shot in six-foot-long vertical tanks, with seven puppets representing the fetus in different stages of development. An 8 Sep 1988 DV item announced that filming had been completed.
       According to a 17 Oct 1989 LAHExam news brief, comedienne Joan Rivers was rumored to have written some of Mikey’s “best lines” in the film. Rivers appeared in an uncredited role as the voice of baby “Julie.”
       The 26 Oct 1989 LAT noted that a rough cut of the film was finished in Feb 1989. A Mar 1989 release was initially slated, and test screenings garnered positive feedback from “an unusually high 95% of theater audiences.” However, due to heavy competition from bigger films, the release was delayed until Oct 1989. A sneak preview was held 7-8 Oct 1989 on 434 screens, one week before the 13 Oct 1989 release on approximately 1,200 screens. Again, audience reception at the sneak previews was very positive, with ninety-two% of viewers rating the film “either excellent or very good,” as noted in an 11 Oct 1989 HR “Hollywood Report” column. The Los Angeles, CA, premiere took place 12 Oct 1989 at the AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater, according to a 6 Oct 1989 HR brief. The premiere benefited the environmental group Earth Communications Office.
       Critical reception was mixed. In a negative review predicting the film’s “short life in theaters,” the 9 Oct 1989 DV cited “Cleo the Bassett Hound” from the television sitcom People’s Choice (NBC, 6 Oct 1955--25 Sep 1958) as the obvious inspiration for Mikey.
       Despite DV’s prediction, Look Who’s Talking was an overwhelming box-office success, taking in $12.1 million in box-office receipts its first three days, according to the 18 Oct 1989 LAHExam. the film went on to become Columbia’s second-highest grossing film internationally after 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer (see entry), earning $55 million overseas as of 6 Aug 1990, according to a DV brief of the same date. The 16 May 1990 issue of Var reported the domestic box-office gross as $137,888,381, and noted that the film was still drawing business at theaters despite its availability on home video.
       After twenty-five days of release, a 9 Nov 1989 HR news item announced that Tri-Star was in talks with Heckerling, Travolta, and Willis to make a sequel. Look Who’s Talking Too (see entry) was released in 1990, with the lead actors, including Kirstie Alley, reprising their roles alongside several supporting actors from the original cast, and Heckerling returning to direct and co-write with husband Neal Israel. A third installment, Look Who’s Talking Now (1993, see entry), again featured Travolta and Alley in leading roles, as well as Olympia Dukakis and George Segal from the original cast, with Tom Ropelewski directing.
       A 27 Jan 1990 Screen International item reported that producers Rita Stern and Jeanne Meyers filed a lawsuit against Tri-Star, Heckerling, and Heckerling’s associate, actress Twink Caplan, for breach of contract, unfair competition, and copyright infringement. Stern and Meyers claimed that, in 1986, they submitted Special Delivery, a short film produced for AFI, to Heckerling with hopes of developing the idea into a feature film. The producers claimed their project also featured “a pregnant Jewish-American woman whose unborn child addresses the audience through a comedic voiceover.” Items in the 14 Jun 1991 NYT and 17 Jun 1991 LAT announced that a settlement had been reached, but the terms remained confidential.

      End credits include the following statements: “Sincere appreciation to: Motion Picture Studio Production Technicians, I.A.T.S.E. Local 891, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; the cities of Vancouver and North Vancouver; North and West Vancouver Hospital Society; Lions Gate Hospital, Dr. Ted Wilford, M.D., Theresa Brady, R.N. – Head Nurse, Lynette Best, V.P. Nursing, Erika Zimprich, R.N., B.S.N.; Baby Guess”; “Peanuts characters © 1958, 1965 United Feature Syndicate, Inc.”; “Filmed on location in British Columbia, Canada.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
8 Sep 1988.
---
Daily Variety
9 Oct 1989
p. 2, 10.
Daily Variety
6 Aug 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 1989
p. 10, 15.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1989
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 1989
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 1989
p. 3, 19.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 1989
p. 1, 21.
L. B. Press-Telegram
23 Sep 1989.
---
LAHExam
17 Oct 1989.
---
LAHExam
18 Oct 1989
Section B, p. 1, 5.
Los Angeles Times
13 Oct 1989
Section F, pp. 12-13.
Los Angeles Times
26 Oct 1989
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
17 Jun 1991
Calendar, p. 2.
New York Times
13 Oct 1989
p. 12.
New York Times
14 Jun 1991
Section C, p. 6.
People
23 Jul 1990.
---
Screen International
27 Jan 1990.
---
Variety
18 Oct 1989
p. 28.
Variety
28 Mar 1990.
---
Variety
16 May 1990.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Jonathan D. Krane/M.C.E.G. Production
An Amy Heckerling Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
DGC trainee
2d unit dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Line prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Steadicam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam trainee
Cam trainee
Video playback
Elec best boy
Generator op
Lamp op
Lamp op
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Still photog
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed, Canada
2d asst ed, Canada
1st asst ed, U.S.
2d asst ed, U.S.
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Asst set dec
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Head painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Addl cost des
Assoc U.S. cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus supv
Mus supv
Orch
Orch
SOUND
Sd mixer
Post prod sd services
Post prod sd services
Post prod sd services
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley/ADR mixer
Foley/ADR mixer
Transfers
Sd eff supv
Sd eff supv
ADR supv
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Boom op
Dolby SR provided by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff coord
Spec eff coord
Spec visual eff by
San Francsico, California
Sr prod, Magic Vista Studios, Inc.
Prod, Magic Vista Studios, Inc.
Spec eff photog, Magic Vista Studios, Inc.
Project supv - San Francisco, Magic Vista Studios,
Project supv - Los Angeles, Magic Vista Studios, I
JEX FX tank specialist, Magic Vista Studios, Inc.
Des environments, Magic Vista Studios, Inc.
Storyboard artist/Des, Magic Vista Studios, Inc.
Opticals/Anim, Magic Vista Studios, Inc.
Titles and opticals
DANCE
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist for Kirstie Alley
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting, USA
Casting, Canada
Unit mgr
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Post prod accountant
Scr supv
Unit pub
Promotional consultant
Clearance admin
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst to Ms. Heckerling
Asst to Mr. Krane
Asst to Mr. Travolta
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Addl casting
Baby casting & on set instruction
Extras casting
Animal trainer
Catering by
Scr supv, 2d unit
Scr supv, 2d unit
First aid/Craft service, 2d unit
Nurse, 2d unit
Baby nurse/Tech adv, 2d unit
STAND INS
Mikey stunt double
Mikey double
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Love You So," written by Morris Levy and Sonny Norton, performed by The Chantels, courtesy of Roulette Records, a division of A B Z Music Corp.
"I Get Around," written by Brian Wilson, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., Special Markets Division
"And She Was," written by David Byrne, performed by Talking Heads, courtesy of EMI Records, Ltd. and Sire Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
+
SONGS
"I Love You So," written by Morris Levy and Sonny Norton, performed by The Chantels, courtesy of Roulette Records, a division of A B Z Music Corp.
"I Get Around," written by Brian Wilson, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., Special Markets Division
"And She Was," written by David Byrne, performed by Talking Heads, courtesy of EMI Records, Ltd. and Sire Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Dumb Things," written by Paul Kelly, performed by Paul Kelly and the Messengers, courtesy of A&M Records and Mushroom Records Pty Ltd.
"When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)," written by Brian Wilson, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., Special Markets Division
"Cry Baby," written by Norman Meade and Burt Russell, performed by Janis Joplin, courtesy of CBS Records, by arrangement with CBS Records Music Licensing Department
"Stayin' Alive," written by Barry, Maurice & Robin Gibb, performed by The Bee Gees, courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
"Walking On Sunshine," written by Kimberly Rew, performed by Katrina and the Waves, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., Special Markets Division
"Daddy's Home," written by J. Sheppard and W.H. Miller, performed by Shep and the Limelights, courtesy of Roulette Records, a division of ABZ Music Corp.
"Town Without Pity," written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, performed by Gene Pitney, courtesy of CBS Special Products, a service of CBS Records, Inc.
"Let My Love Open The Door," written and performed by Pete Townshend, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"You Need Hands," written by Max Bygraves, performed by Dan Lennon
"(You're) Having My Baby," written by Paul Anka.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Daddy's Home
Release Date:
13 October 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 12 October 1989
Los Angeles and New York openings: 13 October 1989
Production Date:
25 May--late August or early September 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Tri-Star Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 November 1989
Copyright Number:
PA447110
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29431
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, an accountant named Mollie is impregnated by her married client, Albert. She informs Albert that she wants to keep the child. He encourages her but says he needs more time to leave his bulimic wife, Beth. Inside the womb, Mollie’s self-aware fetus delivers a running commentary that continues throughout her pregnancy. When Mollie tells her mother, Rosie, about the baby, she claims to have used artificial insemination. Rosie, who wants her daughter to be married, reprimands Mollie for having a child on her own. Months later, a very pregnant Mollie goes to Albert’s office and notices Melissa, a pretty interior decorator, on her way out. Albert shows off his new office furnishings, then warns Mollie against gaining too much weight. Offended, Mollie asks how Albert can love her and his wife, Beth, at the same time. Albert promises he has taken the first step toward getting a divorce by leasing his own apartment, but discourages Mollie from visiting right away. Later, as Mollie and her co-worker, Rona, shop for dresses, Mollie discovers Albert and interior designer Melissa kissing in a dressing room. Albert apologizes but claims he has fallen in love with Melissa. Mollie hits him and storms off. On the street, she goes into labor and hails a taxicab. James, the cab driver, frightens Mollie as he speeds through the city. Arriving at the hospital, Mollie pummels James, who accompanies her inside despite her ire. A nurse assumes James is the father, hands him a pair of scrubs, and ushers him into the delivery room. There, James holds Mollie’s hand and coaches her through her son Mikey’s birth. Afterward, Mollie observes new fathers ... +


In New York City, an accountant named Mollie is impregnated by her married client, Albert. She informs Albert that she wants to keep the child. He encourages her but says he needs more time to leave his bulimic wife, Beth. Inside the womb, Mollie’s self-aware fetus delivers a running commentary that continues throughout her pregnancy. When Mollie tells her mother, Rosie, about the baby, she claims to have used artificial insemination. Rosie, who wants her daughter to be married, reprimands Mollie for having a child on her own. Months later, a very pregnant Mollie goes to Albert’s office and notices Melissa, a pretty interior decorator, on her way out. Albert shows off his new office furnishings, then warns Mollie against gaining too much weight. Offended, Mollie asks how Albert can love her and his wife, Beth, at the same time. Albert promises he has taken the first step toward getting a divorce by leasing his own apartment, but discourages Mollie from visiting right away. Later, as Mollie and her co-worker, Rona, shop for dresses, Mollie discovers Albert and interior designer Melissa kissing in a dressing room. Albert apologizes but claims he has fallen in love with Melissa. Mollie hits him and storms off. On the street, she goes into labor and hails a taxicab. James, the cab driver, frightens Mollie as he speeds through the city. Arriving at the hospital, Mollie pummels James, who accompanies her inside despite her ire. A nurse assumes James is the father, hands him a pair of scrubs, and ushers him into the delivery room. There, James holds Mollie’s hand and coaches her through her son Mikey’s birth. Afterward, Mollie observes new fathers outside the hospital’s nursery and vows to find Mikey a great dad. Soon after, James goes to Mollie’s apartment to return the purse she left in his cab. She asks him to watch the baby while she changes, and overhears James talking to Mikey as he mistakes breast milk for regular milk and pours it into his coffee. Later, Mollie goes on a couple of bad dates and finds herself analyzing the type of father each man would be as they reveal their quirks. She catches James picking up mail in the lobby of her apartment building, and he confesses to using her mailing address to establish residency in Manhattan so he can move his grandfather, Vincent, to a better nursing home. Mollie does not want to get involved in anything illegal, but changes her mind when James offers to babysit on a regular basis. James follows the exhausted Mollie into her apartment, where she falls asleep and he carries her to bed. While she naps, he takes Mikey for a ride, explaining to the baby that he does not plan to drive a cab forever. They go to an airport, where James works part-time as a flight instructor, then go to visit James’s grandpa, Vincent. Mollie panics when she wakes up and finds Mikey gone. She calls police, but James returns and helps her remove a splinter after she beats him with a broom. Mollie continues going on dates while James babysits. One night, James sabotages Mollie’s date with another accountant by convincing the man to let Mollie pay for everything. She returns home to find James and Mikey asleep on the couch, surrounded by a big mess. Later, Mollie takes Mikey to a playground, where he learns what a “daddy” is. He decides he wants James to be his daddy. Mollie and Mikey join James as he moves his father to a nursing home in Manhattan. James reveals his money-saving tactic of dropping in on free corporate lunches and pretending to be a messenger so he can use other people’s telephones to make long-distance calls, and says he intends to become a pilot after accruing enough flight hours as an instructor. That night, Mollie and James kiss, but she stops short after hallucinating their future together, living in squalor on James’s paltry earnings as a cab driver. She apologizes and says she must put Mikey first in decisions about her love life. As tax season arrives, Mollie is forced to reunite with Albert, who refuses to work with anyone else at her firm. At his office, Albert sees a picture of Mikey and begs to meet him, claiming he wants to be a part of Mikey’s life. Mollie reluctantly agrees. Soon after, Albert goes to Mollie’s apartment while she is out, and James, who believes Mollie was artificially inseminated, rejects Albert’s claim that he is Mikey’s father. The men tussle. Mollie arrives home, and James accuses her of lying about Mikey’s parentage. He asks Mollie if she loves Albert, and Mollie evades the question, saying that Albert is successful and responsible. James insists he is Mikey’s only father figure and does not want Albert to see the boy. Mollie refuses to go along, and later, James returns to say goodbye to Mikey. Mollie overhears him, then takes Mikey to Albert’s office for a visit. She becomes enraged when Albert goes back on his word and says he cannot be a father to her child. Back home, Mollie apologizes to Mikey for subjecting him to Albert and thinks of James. Her musings are interrupted by a telephone call, alerting her that Vincent is being kicked out of his new nursing home. She takes Mikey to the nursing home and convinces the director that Vincent’s bad behavior is due to his unchecked sugar consumption. Vincent is given another chance, and James arrives to thank Mollie for her help. Meanwhile, Vincent, who agreed to watch Mikey while Mollie stepped out of his room, loses the baby. Mikey escapes the building and, pretending to be a cab driver like James, climbs into a car that is about to be towed. Mollie and James follow in his cab, finally stopping the truck. Mikey wanders into heavy traffic. James rescues Mikey, who says “Dada,” to the delight of both Mollie and James. Sometime later, at the hospital, James and Mollie introduce Mikey to his new baby sister, their daughter Julie. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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