Cool Runnings (1993)

PG | 97 mins | Comedy-drama | 1 October 1993

Director:

Jon Turteltaub

Producer:

Dawn Steel

Cinematographer:

Phedon Papamichael

Editor:

Bruce Green

Production Designer:

Stephen Marsh

Production Companies:

Walt Disney Pictures , Steel Pictures
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HISTORY

       A 26 Sep 1993 NYT article reported that in 1989, Jeff Sagansky of Tri-Star Pictures, a Columbia Pictures subsidiary, purchased motion picture rights to the story of the 1988 Jamaican Olympic bobsled team. The athletes reportedly agreed to support the final film provided that it was “not derogatory about either the team or Jamaica.” According to the 28 Sep 1993 DV, producer Michael Ritchie and director Fran Kuzui began developing the project under the working title, Blue Maaga. Although the studio secured financing with German sponsors, the deal quickly fell through due to reservations about the international appeal of cast members Mario Van Peebles, Wesley Snipes, and George Carlin. When Kuzui decided to pursue other projects, NYT stated that Dawn Steel, then head of Columbia, proceeded as the film’s producer. Steel eventually left Columbia; her successors did not plan to continue with development on the project, and she re-acquired the property in early 1991 under her new position at Walt Disney Pictures.
       On 9 Apr 1991, DV announced that Jeremiah Chechik dropped out of Steel’s concurrent Disney production of Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992, see entry) to direct Blue Maaga for Disney’s Touchstone Pictures. Preproduction was scheduled to begin in early summer 1991, followed by production later that summer or early fall. A 10 May 1991 Screen International brief reported that Eddie Murphy was released from his exclusive contract with Paramount Pictures in order to be considered for a role in the film. A few months later, the 19 Aug 1991 DV stated that Chechik left the project ... More Less

       A 26 Sep 1993 NYT article reported that in 1989, Jeff Sagansky of Tri-Star Pictures, a Columbia Pictures subsidiary, purchased motion picture rights to the story of the 1988 Jamaican Olympic bobsled team. The athletes reportedly agreed to support the final film provided that it was “not derogatory about either the team or Jamaica.” According to the 28 Sep 1993 DV, producer Michael Ritchie and director Fran Kuzui began developing the project under the working title, Blue Maaga. Although the studio secured financing with German sponsors, the deal quickly fell through due to reservations about the international appeal of cast members Mario Van Peebles, Wesley Snipes, and George Carlin. When Kuzui decided to pursue other projects, NYT stated that Dawn Steel, then head of Columbia, proceeded as the film’s producer. Steel eventually left Columbia; her successors did not plan to continue with development on the project, and she re-acquired the property in early 1991 under her new position at Walt Disney Pictures.
       On 9 Apr 1991, DV announced that Jeremiah Chechik dropped out of Steel’s concurrent Disney production of Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992, see entry) to direct Blue Maaga for Disney’s Touchstone Pictures. Preproduction was scheduled to begin in early summer 1991, followed by production later that summer or early fall. A 10 May 1991 Screen International brief reported that Eddie Murphy was released from his exclusive contract with Paramount Pictures in order to be considered for a role in the film. A few months later, the 19 Aug 1991 DV stated that Chechik left the project due to “creative differences” with Steel and the studio over Lynn Siefert’s script, which was being rewritten by Tony Winkler. Winkler, however, does not receive onscreen credit.
       The 4 Sep 1991 DV reported that Brian Gibson was hired as Chechik’s replacement, with production delayed until the first week of Jan 1992 to allow for further preparations. The story noted that the film would mark the reunion of Gibson, Steel, and Disney executives Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner, who worked together at Paramount over ten years earlier, when Katzenberg picked up Gibson’s British feature, Breaking Glass, for domestic distribution in 1980.
       Although 3 Dec 1991 HR production charts indicated that principal photography was rescheduled for Feb 1992, a 2 Jan 1992 DV article announced that Disney canceled production on 20 Dec 1991, claiming the $17 million budget was “too high” for a picture without a major star. With release initially locked for summer 1993, filmmakers would not be able to shoot a revised script before the snow and ice melted on location in Canada. If Steel did not want to produce the $17 million project elsewhere, Disney offered to re-consider an edited script and budget for production in late 1992. That summer, a 2 Jun 1992 DV news item announced that Steel reduced the budget by $3-4 million, and production was scheduled to resume in early Dec 1992. The 26 Sep 1993 NYT indicated that the eliminated material included a sequence in which the bobsledders qualify for the Olympics at a trial in Austria, which was modeled after real-life events. Although still attached at the time, Gibson was also rumored to be contracted for a film at Paramount Pictures, and the 29 Oct 1992 HR later announced that Jon Turteltaub was hired as his replacement. The revised budget was listed as $14 million.
       Although the project allegedly went through three casting directors, the 26 Sep 1993 NYT reported that Leon was involved with the project since the “first days of development.” Production notes in AMPAS library files indicated that Doug E. Doug expressed interested in the role of “Sanka Coffie” after seeing the script on his agent’s desk; according to the NYT, Doug interviewed with Steel in 1991, but was later selected to star in the television series Where I Live (ABC, 5 Mar 1993—20 Nov 1993). Due to Disney’s production delays, however, he was able to return to the role during the show’s hiatus. After searching Los Angeles, CA, Chicago, IL, and London, England, for an actor to portray “Yul Brenner,” Malik Yoba was selected from an open casting call in New York City. During the project’s turnaround, he returned to his job working at the nonprofit City Kids Foundation, and successfully re-auditioned for the new casting director, Chemin Sylvia Bernard, in 1992. Rawle D. Lewis worked for the casting department reading lines with auditioning actors using a Jamaican accent, and was subsequently chosen to play “Junior Bevil.” Although filmmakers originally wrote “Irv Blitzer” as a dramatic role, the part was tailored for John Candy after he expressed interest in the project. Prior to filming, the four principal actors practiced with a track coach and underwent weight training with stunt coordinator Jacob Rupp.
       5 Jan 1993 HR production charts noted that filming was scheduled to begin 25 Jan 1993, under the title, Cool Running. The 28 Sep 1993 DV explained that the change was made when “Maaga,” the intended name of the team’s sled, was discovered to translate as “Ragamuffin,” and considered politically incorrect. According to production notes, filmmakers were scouting locations in Jamaica when they spotted a T-shirt bearing the phrase, “Cool Runnings,” which means “peaceful journeys.” The “s” was temporarily dropped, but 9 Feb 1993 HR production charts confirmed Cool Runnings began principal photography 1 Feb 1993, one week behind schedule.
       The 26 Sep 1993 NYT listed locations in Calgary, Canada, and Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, Jamaica. Production notes stated that equipment was shipped to Jamaica from Miami, FL, by boat, which forced the crew to “improvise” with the shooting schedule. The 30 Sep 1993 LA Daily News revealed that the crash sequence was stock footage of the actual 1988 accident, which Steel claimed would have been difficult to recreate. The 12 May 1993 LA Daily News announced completion of principal photography, and the 30 Sep 1993 LA Daily News stated that production lasted fifty days.
       According to the 7 Sep 1993 DV, the film was scheduled to play at Canada’s Montreal Film Festival, followed by a benefit screening in Jamaica. A 13 Oct 1993 DV news item stated that the premiere took place that week, with proceeds funding Jamaica’s bobsled team in the 1994 Olympics. That same day, Leon was in Chicago to present the sled used onscreen for display in the city’s Planet Hollywood restaurant.
       A 27 Sep 1993 DV article announced that following the film’s national opening in 1,700 theaters, Sony’s Columbia/Chaos Records planned a thirty-city U.S. tour for the reggae artists who contributed to the soundtrack. Beginning 3 Oct 1992, the tour was scheduled to continue through Dec of that year.
       Despite the story’s fictionalized characters and numerous departures from historical events, Cool Runnings received largely positive reviews. A 28 Jun 1994 DV advertisement announced that the picture earned a domestic box-office gross of $68,856,263 to date.
       Cool Runnings marked John Candy’s final film be released before his death of a heart attack on 4 Mar 1994. Wagons East! (1994, see entry) and Canadian Bacon (1995, see entry) both debuted posthumously.
      An epilogue states: “The Jamaican bobsled team returned to their country as heroes. Four years later, they returned to the Olympics…as equals.” End credits note that the film was “Based on the true story of the 1988 Jamaican Olympic bobsled team.” The following acknowledgments are also included: “The producers wish to thank Jampro; Alberta Film Commission; ABC Sports, Inc.; CTV Television Network, Ltd."; “Olympic marks used by permission of the International Olympic Committee, United States Olympic Committee (36 U.S.C. 380) and Canadian Olympic Association. In Canada, Olympic marks and symbols are official marks of the Canadian Olympic Association"; and, “This motion picture is inspired by actual events, but the names and characters have been changed and certain characters, organizations and events have been created and/or fictionalized.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1991
p. 1, 19.
Daily Variety
19 Aug 1991.
---
Daily Variety
4 Sep 1991
p. 1, 20.
Daily Variety
2 Jan 1992
p. 1, 7.
Daily Variety
2 Jun 1992.
---
Daily Variety
7 Sep 1993.
---
Daily Variety
28 Sep 1993.
---
Daily Variety
13 Oct 1993.
---
Daily Variety
28 Jun 1994.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 1992
p. 1, 66.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1993
p. 4, 27.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1993
p. 8, 32.
LA Daily News
12 May 1993.
---
LA Daily News
30 Sep 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Oct 1993
Section F, p. 4.
New York Times
26 Sep 1993
p. 15, 26.
New York Times
1 Oct 1993
p. 8.
Screen International
10 May 1991.
---
Variety
20 Sep 1993
p. 29.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Walt Disney Pictures Presents
A Dawn Steel Production
A John Turteltaub Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
DGC trainee
Unit prod mgr, Jamaica crew
Addl 1st asst dir, Jamaica crew
2d 2d asst dir, Jamaica crew
3d asst dir, Jamaica crew
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
3d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Video playback
B cam op
B cam focus
Cam loader
B cam 2d asst
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Rigging gaffer/Best boy
Elec best boy
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept P.A.
Art dir, Jamaica crew
Asst art dir, Jamaica crew
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Asst set dec
Prop master
Asst props
Const coord
Scenic artist
Set dec, Jamaica crew
Leadperson, Jamaica crew
Asst props, Jamaica crew
Const coord, Jamaica crew
Asst const coord, Jamaica crew
Scenic artist, Jamaica crew
Prop master, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
John Candy's dresser
Cost supv, Jamaica crew
Ward costumer, Jamaica crew
Addl costumer, Jamaica crew
MUSIC
Score by
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Orch/Addl mus by
Mus contractor
SOUND
Sd mixer
Cableman
Supv sd ed
Supv ADR ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
ADR mixer
ADR mixer
Foley mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Cableman, Jamaica crew
Sd mixer, 2d unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
SPFX asst/Foreman
SPFX asst
Best boy
Title des
Spec eff asst, Jamaica crew
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Key hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Dialect consultant
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst to Dawn Steel
Asst to Susan B. Landau
Asst to John Turteltaub
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
1st asst accountant
Payroll asst accountant
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Canadian casting by
Casting assoc
Canadian casting asst
Extras casting
Prod coord, Jamaica crew
Loc mgr, Jamaica crew
Prod asst, Jamaica crew
Prod asst, Jamaica crew
Prod asst, Jamaica crew
Asst accountant, Jamaica crew
Transportation capt, Jamaica crew
Transportation capt, Jamaica crew
Transportation coord, Jamaica crew
Jamaica casting, Jamaica crew
Jamaica casting, Jamaica crew
Extras casting, Jamaica crew
Animal trainer, Jamaica crew
Animal wrangler, Jamaica crew
Asst wrangler, Jamaica crew
Scr supv, 2d unit
Loc mgr/Unit mgr, 2d unit
Transportation coord, 2d unit
Jamaican Bobsled Federation
Jamaican Bobsled Federation
Jamaican Bobsled Federation
Jamaican Bobsled Federation
Jamaican Bobsled Federation
Jamaican Bobsled Federation
Jamaican Bobsled Federation
Jamaican Bobsled Federation
Jamaican Bobsled Federation
STAND INS
Stunt coord/Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
"Love You Want," written by Winston Matthews, Lloyd McDonald and Richard Feldman, performed by Wailing Souls, courtesy of Chaos/Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Stir It Up," written by Bob Marley, performed by Diana King, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Picky Picky Head," written by Lloyd McDonald, performed by Wailing Souls, courtesy of Chaos/Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
+
SONGS
"Love You Want," written by Winston Matthews, Lloyd McDonald and Richard Feldman, performed by Wailing Souls, courtesy of Chaos/Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Stir It Up," written by Bob Marley, performed by Diana King, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Picky Picky Head," written by Lloyd McDonald, performed by Wailing Souls, courtesy of Chaos/Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Cool Me Down," written by Norman Jackson, performed by Tiger, courtesy of Chaos/Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Jamaican Bobsledding Chant," written by Malik Yoba
"Sweet Jamaica," written by Patrick Barrett and Garnett Smith, performed by Tony Rebel, courtesy of Chaos/Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Blue Danube," written by Johann Strauss, arranged by Louis Knatchbull, courtesy of Bruton/APM
"Rise Above It," written by P. C. Harris and Peter Curry, performed by Lock, Stock and Barrel
"Wild Wild Life," written by David Byrne, performed by Wailing Souls, courtesy of Chaos/Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"I Can See Clearly Now," written by Johnny Nash, performed by Jimmy Cliff, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Going Nowhere And Getting There Fast," written by Ron Livingston
"Jamaican Bobsledding Chant," written by Malik Yoba, Charmaine LaCosta, Sabrina Cohen, Angela Wilks and Linda Scott, performed by Worl-A-Girl, courtesy of Chaos/Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Dolly My Baby," written by William Maragh and T. Sparks, performed by Super Cat, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Blue Maaga
Cool Running
Release Date:
1 October 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 1 October 1993
New York opening: week of 1 October 1993
Production Date:
1 February--early May 1993 in Calgary, Canada, and Jamaica
Copyright Claimant:
Walt Disney Company
Copyright Date:
12 October 1993
Copyright Number:
PA644591
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®; Produced and distributed on Eastman Film
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32624
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In November 1987, Jamaican 100-meter runner Derice Bannock trains for the 1988 Summer Olympic trials before attending the nation’s annual pushcart derby to cheer on his friend, Sanka Coffie. Although Sanka is the seven-time pushcart record holder, he loses control and crashes his cart into a shed. In Derice’s final Olympic trial, a runner named Junior Bevil trips and knocks Derice and his opponent, Yul Brenner, to the ground, ending their chances to qualify. Afterward, Derice speaks with Barrington Coolidge, Jamaican Olympic Committee President, and learns about Irving “Irv” Blitzer, an American gold-medal bobsledder who attempted to recruit his track star father for the Jamaican team. Despite knowing nothing about the sport, Derice and Sanka find Irv and persistently suggest he coach them for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. Irv grudgingly agrees to hold a meeting to educate the Jamaicans about bobsledding, but the dangers of the sport scare away all but Derice, Sanka, Junior Bevil, and Yul Brenner. Once the team is assembled, they practice racing a wooden cart downhill with Derice as sled driver. Despite their progress, Coolidge refuses to use the country’s limited finances to fund the team, and other potential sponsors laugh at their proposal. After failing to collect money arm wrestling, singing on the streets, and opening a kissing booth, Junior Bevil eventually acquires the cash by selling his car. He reveals he has kept his bobsled training a secret from his wealthy, disapproving father, who believes he has accepted a job as a notary in Miami, Florida. Once in Calgary, Canada, Irv registers the Jamaican team for tryouts and borrows a practice sled from his former teammate, Roger. In addition to struggling against ... +


In November 1987, Jamaican 100-meter runner Derice Bannock trains for the 1988 Summer Olympic trials before attending the nation’s annual pushcart derby to cheer on his friend, Sanka Coffie. Although Sanka is the seven-time pushcart record holder, he loses control and crashes his cart into a shed. In Derice’s final Olympic trial, a runner named Junior Bevil trips and knocks Derice and his opponent, Yul Brenner, to the ground, ending their chances to qualify. Afterward, Derice speaks with Barrington Coolidge, Jamaican Olympic Committee President, and learns about Irving “Irv” Blitzer, an American gold-medal bobsledder who attempted to recruit his track star father for the Jamaican team. Despite knowing nothing about the sport, Derice and Sanka find Irv and persistently suggest he coach them for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. Irv grudgingly agrees to hold a meeting to educate the Jamaicans about bobsledding, but the dangers of the sport scare away all but Derice, Sanka, Junior Bevil, and Yul Brenner. Once the team is assembled, they practice racing a wooden cart downhill with Derice as sled driver. Despite their progress, Coolidge refuses to use the country’s limited finances to fund the team, and other potential sponsors laugh at their proposal. After failing to collect money arm wrestling, singing on the streets, and opening a kissing booth, Junior Bevil eventually acquires the cash by selling his car. He reveals he has kept his bobsled training a secret from his wealthy, disapproving father, who believes he has accepted a job as a notary in Miami, Florida. Once in Calgary, Canada, Irv registers the Jamaican team for tryouts and borrows a practice sled from his former teammate, Roger. In addition to struggling against cold weather, the Jamaicans immediately crash inside one of the track tunnels. That night, Junior encourages Yul’s ambitions to leave Jamaica and become successful. One day, Irv’s former teammate, Larry, tells Derice that Irv retired from bobsledding in disgrace after being caught cheating in the 1972 Games. When the team’s struggles are printed in a Jamaican newspaper, Junior receives a letter from his father instructing him to return home, but Yul convinces him to stay. At a bar, East German team captain, Josef Grool, taunts Yul and Junior, causing a fight to break out. After Irv reprimands them for their behavior, the Jamaicans resolve to take their training more seriously and barely qualify for the Olympic finals. Amid their celebration, however, they receive a letter informing them that they have been disqualified by the International Alliance of Winter Sports. Storming into their boardroom, Irv appeals to his former coach, Kurt Hemphill, by acknowledging his past mistakes and arguing for the Jamaicans’ right to represent their country. That night, the team receives a telephone call informing them that they have been reinstated. Once they move into their Olympic apartments, Junior’s father unexpectedly arrives to take him home, but Junior defies his orders. On the first day of competition, the Jamaicans place last, disappointing both Irv and their friends watching on television back home. Sanka reminds Derice they cannot win the race by imitating the other teams’ styles, and encourages them to embrace their Jamaican heritage. With renewed enthusiasm, the team re-enters the track the next day and greatly improve their score. That evening, Derice questions Irv about his cheating, and the coach admits that the prestige of winning two gold medals was not enough to bolster his low self-esteem. Regretting his mistakes, he encourages Derice to think of himself as a winner regardless of the next day’s outcome. Despite a promising start to the third and final race, a screw inside the sled comes loose, causing the team to capsize and skid down the course. Just short of the finish line, the Jamaicans lift the sled onto their shoulders and carry it across the finish line amid the enthusiastic applause of Junior’s father and their opponents in the crowd. +

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

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