According to Michael Mann, Vincent is a man able to get in and out of anywhere without anyone recognizing or remembering him. To prepare for the movie, Tom Cruise had to make FedEx deliveries in a crowded Los Angeles market without anyone recognizing him.
Tom Cruise really fell when he stepped on the office chair. Michael Mann liked the anomaly so much that he left it in the film.
Although he never uses his gun in the film, Mark Ruffalo nevertheless underwent rigorous weapons training so he would look believable wielding a gun.
The seating of the two leads was crucial to certain scenes. For their more intimate exchanges, Tom Cruise would sit directly behind Jamie Foxx, out of his peripheral vision, making him more vulnerable and uncertain of his opponent.
Before Michael Mann was hired, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg were all offered the chance to direct the movie. Scorsese and Lee both showed interest before passing on the offer.
When Max and Vincent are driving to Club Fever, a coyote crosses the road in front of them. The native American Navajos have an omen that can also be considered as a taboo. They say that if a coyote crosses your path, turn back and do not continue your journey. If you keep traveling, something terrible will happen to you. You will be in an accident, hurt, or killed.
Australian screenwriter Stuart Beattie was only seventeen when he took a cab home from the Sydney airport. It was on that ride that he had the idea of a homicidal maniac sitting in the back of a cab, with the driver nonchalantly entering into conversation with him, trusting his passenger implicitly. Beattie drafted his idea into a two-page treatment. Later, when he was enrolled at Oregon State University, he fleshed it out into his first screenplay. Titled "The Last Domino", he put the script away, taking it out occasionally for revisions and re-writes over the following years.
Jada Pinkett Smith spent an entire day with a couple Michael Mann felt were quite similar to her character. She also spent a day shadowing a female prosecuting attorney, being given ideas on how to dress and carry herself.
Javier Bardem only spent 2 days filming. He did however spend several months learning to speak English with a Mexican inflection for the role.
This movie sat on DreamWorks development books for three years. Mimi Leder was initially attached to direct until it passed on to Janusz Kaminski. It wasn't until Russell Crowe became interested in playing Vincent, the hitman, that the project started generating any heat. Crowe brought Michael Mann on board, but the constant delays pushed Crowe off the project. Mann immediately went to Tom Cruise with the idea of him playing the hitman and Adam Sandler as the cabbie.
To help Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx best capture the spirit of their characters, Michael Mann wrote documents on the background of Vincent and Max. Cruise said that the document of Vincent had information on how he began to like jazz.
Mick Gould was hired to train Tom Cruise for the action sequences, including showing him how to fire live rounds. Michael Mann himself trained with various weapons, so he knew how to direct the action sequences to full effect.
On-set, Jamie Foxx accidentally drove his car into Tom Cruise's. Foxx was bemused to see that the crew immediately rushed to Cruise's aid first, he being the bigger star.
There are no opening credits to the film, nor title. The only credits seen are at the end, starting with "Directed by Michael Mann". The title is at the end.
Mark Ruffalo states that the scene where Fanning first discovers Ramon Ayala's disappearance; and proceeds to call for "S.I.D", that Michael Mann insisted on eighty or more takes. Ruffalo goes on to say that "you begin to lose your shit." Jamie Foxx and Barry Shabaka Henley confirmed that Mann did in fact, film a massive number of takes. Foxx stated: "Oh yeah, that hurts, 'cause Michael Mann can take a lot of takes until he gets what he wants."
Tom Cruise was highly impressed when he came on-board, as much of the backstory on his character had already been completed by Michael Mann.
Stuart Beattie wanted the studio to cast Robert De Niro as Max (once again making him a taxi driver, though the exact opposite of Travis Bickle). However the studio refused, insisting they wanted a younger actor in the role.
According to Jamie Foxx, one night during production, Tom Cruise bought In-N-Out fast food for the entire cast and crew.
Jamie Foxx actually crashed the cab with Tom Cruise in it during a "side swipe" scene.
The song played in the jazz club was "Spanish Key" from Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" album, and it wasn't improvised, it was played almost note for note as it was on the original album.
According to Cuba Gooding Jr., he met with Michael Mann about playing the role of Max but Mann turned Gooding down, because he and Cruise had already worked together in Jerry Maguire (1996).
In an interview in American Cinematographer, Michael Mann said that as far as he was aware, this was one of the first movies to attempt to make a "look" out of digital video, rather than trying to make digital video look like film. This approach meant the movie could be shot in the low-light scenes of urban desolation Mann wanted, because digital reacts much better to low light than film. The approximately twenty percent of the picture that was shot on film was mostly ( according to Mann) the portion set in the "Fever" nightclub, because this is the scene with the brightest lighting, in which digital video does not perform as well.
The film has particular resonance for Michael Mann. He used to drive a cab, as did his father, and his grandfather owned a cab company.
Although Max refers to himself as "collateral" in the scene where he briefly stands up to Vincent after the hitman kills the jazz club owner, that's not where the movie got its title. The original script had Vincent's professional name as "Vincent Collateral", and there is a deleted scene that confirms this. The title was considered for a change after the unsuccessful release of the Arnold Schwarzenegger action film Collateral Damage (2002), but everyone agreed that they shouldn't avoid a title everyone liked, just because it echoed a movie that no one cared about.
Jamie Foxx prepared for the car chase sequences by racing old cars at Willow Springs Raceway in the Mohave Desert. Michael Mann often joined him.
The original draft was set in Manhattan, New York. When Michael Mann came on-board, he shifted the setting to Los Angeles, California.
Val Kilmer was cast in the role of Detective Fanning, but pulled out before filming began, due to schedule conflicts with Alexander (2004). Mark Ruffalo later took the role.
James Newton Howard, who scored this film recorded more than an hour of music for this film, only to have it replaced with source music, and additional music by Antonio Pinto. This is a trademark of Michael Mann's films of this type.
One of very few films where Tom Cruise plays a villain, the others being Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) and Taps (1981) where he plays rogue cadet Sean.
The train sequence was shot with a greenscreen background, because Michael Mann had very precise ideas about what should be visible through the train windows.
Stuart Beattie was waiting tables when he ran into friend Julie Richardson, whom he'd met in a U.C.L.A. Screenwriting Extension course. Richardson had become a producer on the lookout for good thriller scripts in particular. Beattie pitched her his screenplay "The Last Domino", and she liked it. Her boss, Frank Darabont, also liked it, and set up a meeting with HBO. They passed on the project after Beattie submitted another draft. He then begged his agent to set up a meeting at DreamWorks, where executive Marc Haines read the script over a weekend. The studio bought the screenplay the following week.
Starting with the car crash sequence up to the film's finale and end credits, James Newton Howard's score lasts roughly around seventeen minutes, and was intended this way according to Michael Mann on his DVD commentary.
Frank Darabont wrote a draft of the screenplay in September 2000. Once attached as director, Michael Mann revised the screenplay substantially.
Adam Sandler was considered for the role of Max, and even met with Michael Mann, before Jamie Foxx was cast.
Dennis Farina was originally announced for the role of Pedrosa. Bruce McGill eventually played the role. Both actors have been frequently used by Michael Mann, and both had pivotal guest spots on Miami Vice (1984) during Mann's two-season stint as showrunner.
While Annie is in Max's cab, the song "Hands of Time" by Groove Armada is heard on the radio. Annie asks Max to turn the volume up, to which Max responds "Like the classics?" The song "Hands of Time" appears on their 2002 album "Lovebox", released only two years before the movie.
The F.B.I. Tactical Unit in the SUV (LA 105) is composed of real Tactical Unit officers from the F.B.I., D.E.A., and L.A.P.D.
Between them, Michael Mann and Stuart Beattie constructed elaborate backstories and family histories for the main characters, right down to photographs of their hometowns.
Many of the addresses that Vincent gives Max are the actual filming locations. If you search them in Google Maps Street View, you'll see they are the locations where the scenes were shot.
Tom Cruise trained for three months in how to handle firearms under the supervision of the LAPD. This was the first time Cruise had worked with live rounds.
Leonardo DiCaprio was considered for the role of Vincent, but he was too busy shooting The Aviator (2004).
Contrary to Michael Mann's interview with American Cinematographer, Paul Cameron, with whom he worked for the first three weeks of photography, claimed that the digital cameras used lacked the ergonomics, color bandwidth and the standard camera lens support. These interviews and claims were brought to the attention of Panavision U.S.A., who subsequently developed the Genesis camera system based on that feedback, and its usage was pioneered in Superman Returns (2006).
Russell Crowe came close to playing the role of Vincent, but couldn't commit to the picture, because he was busy preparing for "Eucalyptus", a doomed Australian film project co-starring Nicole Kidman.
When Max enters Annie's office, the names on the door are Annie Farrell and David Canning. David A. Canning is the digital imaging technician on the movie.
The voice-enhancing software that is used by the FBI to enhance what Max is telling the bouncers is Sony Vegas 4.0 video-editing software.
Colin Farrell was offered the role of Vincent. He would later play Crockett in Miami Vice (2006), also directed by Michael Mann, and co-starring Jamie Foxx. Farrell and Cruise also worked together in Minority Report (2002) two years earlier.
Vincent's primary weapon of choice in the movie is a Heckler and Koch USP .45 caliber, as stated by Mann in the commentary. He also uses a Ruger MKII .22 caliber long-rifle handgun with integral sound suppressor, for the hit in the jazz club. For the final part of the film, he uses a 9mm Smith & Wesson 5906, that he takes from a security guard he kills.
The only non-Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to be nominated for Best Editing.
Hans Zimmer was attached to the film, in an early stage. He was replaced by James Newton Howard, probably due to scheduling conflicts.
Before it was offered to Michael Mann, the script was offered to the Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles, who was planning on doing it in the style of Martin Scorsese's After Hours (1985).
Fernando Meirelles revealed on the BBC Radio 4 program "Front Row" that he turned down the chance to direct the film because it would mean relocating from his home in São Paulo, Brazil to Los Angeles for eight months.
Tom Cruise used to date Penélope Cruz, who is now married to his Collateral co-star Javier Bardem. Cruise was also married to Katie Holmes, who later dated his other Collateral co-star Jamie Foxx.
Tom Cruise's tactical draw is so good in a scene from Collateral that it's used by experts in lessons for handgun training.
It's not often mentioned that Vincent is working for Felix (Javier Bardem). It is Max (Jamie Foxx) who speaks in person with him, because Vincent has never been seen by Felix. Tom Cruise and Bardem dated Penélope Cruz, with whom Javier married and has two children. Tom and Javier have remained good friends for many years.
On the DVD commentary Michael Mann states that Tom Cruise received combat training from SAS Sergeant and novelist Andy McNab.
Three weeks into principal photography, cinematographer Paul Cameron left the project due to "creative differences". Michael Mann replaced him with Dion Beebe.
Vincent is being intentionally rude upon first entering Max's cab, but it's not because he's a jerk, he's testing Max to see if he's a man with an aggressive streak. Had he been, Vincent would have quickly changed cabs.
This idea was done in Mission: Impossible: The Killer (1970), with Robert Conrad as the killer, getting into the taxi of IMF agent Paris. The IMF was commissioned to stop Eddie Lorca from killing an unknown target within twenty-four hours. Tom Cruise starred in numerous Mission: Impossible movies.
The film cast includes two Oscar winners (Javier Bardem and Jamie Foxx) and two Oscar nominees (Mark Ruffalo and Tom Cruise) .
The song that plays in the theatrical trailer to this film is "Man in the Box", performed by Alice in Chains.
The song that plays in the Club Fever scene is called "Ready Steady Go" by Paul Oakenfold. This is the same song that was used during the car chase in The Bourne Identity (2002). (As a side note, the film's sequel, The Bourne Supremacy (2004) was released the same year as this film.
Michael Mann had already experimented with high-definition digital photography on his short-lived television series Robbery Homicide Division (2002).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Though Max's character's last name is only seen in print on his cab license, it can be deduced when Vincent meets his mother in the hospital and without being introduced to her by Max, he takes her hand and says, "It's an honor to meet you, Mrs. Durocher".
Max's mom is played by Irma P. Hall who they discovered was from a small Texas town very near to Jamie Foxx's own home town. They compared notes and realized they knew some of the same people.
Vincent is dressed like Neil McCauley, Robert De Niro's character from the movie Heat (1995) which was written and directed by Michael Mann who also directed this film.
At one point in development, leading cinematographer Janusz Kaminski was in talks to direct.
Second of three film collaborations between Jamie Foxx and Michael Mann. They worked on Ali (2001) and would later work together on Miami Vice (2006).
Michael Mann intended the opening montage with Max (Jamie Foxx) to show off Los Angeles' specific diversity in -- "a Pac-Rim, Hispanic, Los Angeles way."
The sequence with Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith) in the cab was shot with a Sony F900 high-definition video camera. ""If we were shooting film, you wouldn't see any definition of the images behind them." Michael Mann stated.
The script for Collateral was originally written to take place in New York City, but he had been wanting to shoot an LA-set film taking place at night. The original also featured the Russian mob.
It's not explicitly spelled out in the film, but Michael Mann says it's intended that Vincent (Tom Cruise) has been contacted and hired through a tangled network of ex-KGB, ex-Stasi, and cartels who "have the best of computer technicians, signal-intercept capabilities, to run sophisticated counter intel" to discover any pending investigations.
Michael Mann imagines that Vincent lives offshore in "a domicile that's maybe in Uttahorn Province in Thailand or Songkhla a Buddhist country where people leave everybody else alone a lot."
Michael Mann used Cary Grant's performance in His Girl Friday (1940) which he refers to as Front Page, the name of the play it's based upon "in preparation for Vincent's use of irony, his droll wit, and his facile nihilism."
The apartment where Vincent kills his first target is essentially as they found it. The crew only added a big screen television, although Michael Mann doesn't say if they left the TV as a parting gift.
Tom Cruise trained for roughly three months on the LA County Sheriff's combat shooting ranges, and it was apparently his first time with live rounds. Surprising exactly no one, Michael Mann adds that "Tom is extraordinarily skilled at everything athletic that he tries."
Michael Mann and Tom Cruise worked out where exactly Vincent came from, and while nearly none of it is mentioned in the film their collaborative backstory is pretty detailed. "If he was in a foster home for part of his childhood, and he was back in public school at age 11, that would have been sometime in the 70s. He would have been dressed very awkwardly. He would've probably been ostracized 'cause he'd have looked odd. We postulated an alcoholic, abusive father who was culturally very progressive, he was probably part of Ed Sadlowski's Steelworkers Local, he was a Vietnam veteran, he had friends who were African-American on the South side of Chicago. The Checkerboard Lounge is thirty minutes away on the Calumet Skyway. The father was probably an aficionado of jazz. There was a great jazz scene on the South side of Chicago, but it's almost as if the father blamed the son for what happened to the mother. The father never tutored the boy in jazz" And so on.
"There's a stillness to the depth of which Tom is into the moment," he says regarding the scene at (44 mins.) with Vincent and Max at the table with Daniel in the jazz club. Michael Mann adds that he admires Tom Cruise's acting skill here and that he's "so economically. completely in the moment." That stillness fractures for the first time after he shoots Daniel. "And there's a paroxysm of regret. That's the first anomaly to the perfect, machine-like presentation we've had from Vincent."
Lenny the taxi company dispatcher is voiced by Michael Waxman, the film's first assistant director. He read them offscreen with the intention of having an actor perform them properly later, but "we couldn't find a voice as wonderfully kind of annoying as Michael's voice can be."
"This night we had elaborate security precautions," Michael Mann says regarding the filming of the sequence on the footbridge outside the hospital. Apparently the whole area is "hotly contested" by opposing gangs on either side of the freeway.
Michael Mann knew immediately upon hearing Audioslave's "Shadow on the Sun" with Chris Cornell's vocals that he wanted it for the scene in the cab where Vincent and Max see the coyotes trotting through the downtown intersection.
'Fever', the club in the film, is a real club actually named 'Bliss'. The characters enter at the real location, but the interior was filmed on a set built to handle the large number of extras and facilitate the impending action.
At 1hr 25 mins.) Jamie Foxx was supposed to drive forward with his door open and have it hit the parked cars, but the door closed so he just swerved the cab itself into the cars instead.
Michael Mann views the cab ride after the club shooting as the film's pivotal scene. "Max, for the first time, is seeing beyond the end of the gun, and is seeing Vincent for who Vincent is."
The cab stunt when Max rams it into the concrete wall and flips the car was captured in a single take with the car coming to a stop exactly where they planned. Michael Mann thought it looked "too violent" though and did two more takes, but they ended up using the first take footage anyway.
The parking garage rooftop belongs to the Secret Service, and it was a long haul convincing them to let the film shoot up there.
When Vincent repeats the bit about a man dying on the MTA and no one noticing, he's actually asking "'Will anybody note that once upon a time I was here?', and he's sincere."
Max says he sometimes gets lucky with the (traffic) lights. In the finale, the lights on the train go out just before he engages Vincent, which lets Max win by sheer luck.
The Anthony Horowitz novel "Russian Roulette" homages this movie, when an assassin gets into a taxi.
The computer is an HP TC-1100 tablet PC. Text can be entered via a stylus or a detachable keyboard (not shown in the film).
One of the big reasons why Michael Mann chose to make 'Collateral' was the way Stuart Beattie's script captures an entire story in a very short period of time. The whole movie is "like the third act of a traditional drama." He likes how it doesn't go backward to offer more detail into these characters' lives, and instead we're just catching them at this moment.
One of the brief faces we see early on belongs to Manny Urrego who, as an ex limo driver himself, helped Michael Mann by providing spreadsheets and a complete business plan for Max's limousine company.
Michael Mann mentions during one of the film's many overhead shots that they were "only possible with high-definition video."
The scene in the jazz club is a metaphor of sorts for Collateral's themes with Max's inability to improvise being chief among them.
"I view music as telling different parts of the story," Michael Mann says, adding that he equates it to having multiple characters with varied perspectives.
Michael Mann points out several shots in the film that wouldn't have been possible on 35mm film including the one at (1hr38mins.) a closeup of Vincent in the office that shifts focus to reveal Max on the parking garage rooftop across the street. "Max would either be not exposed at all, and/or he would not be able to carry the focus."
As meticulous of a filmmaker as he is, Michael Mann loves unplanned beats including the one where Vincent throws the chair into the glass and tries to jump over it- only to fall on it instead.
Early on, Vincent complains about how much he hates LA, and how impersonal and disconnected everyone is, to the point that he heard a story about a man who died on the MTA, and whose corpse went unnoticed for six hours before anyone realized he was dead. At the end of the film, he dies, alone on a train car, sitting upright and well-dressed, in the wee hours of the morning... where no one is likely to find him for hours.
Max, impersonating Vincent, threatens to take the gun away from Felix's henchman behind him and beat him with it. He does something very similar with a cop later.
Cab drivers described their back seats like a radio station with a randomized tuner in that you never know what's gonna end up playing out back there.
Max's full name is Max Durocher. It can be seen on the ID in the cab, early in the film. Also, his mother is addressed as Mrs. Durocher.
The second time Tom Cruise has played in a lead role with the first name "Vincent". The first was The Color of Money (1986).
He's unsure if anyone will care, but Michael Mann points out during the long scene in the cab after Max realizes Vincent is a killer that "for myself, I have to know exactly what a scene is trying to do, and I believe that I should be able to distill that into one simple set of words called 'the action.'" For this scene that boils down to answering "what does Vincent want?" with the answer being that he needs "to manage Max."
In the club scene, Vincent is using a Chris Reeve Sebenza folding knife. The Sebenza is a high quality knife made of Crucible S30V steel and titanium handle. Today, the company is using S35VN steel, but in 2004, S30V was used.
Mark Ruffalo's 2nd out of 3 movies back in 2004. The other two were Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet while the other was the 2004 romantic comedy 13 Going On 30 with Jennifer Garner.
The phone Tom Cruise uses in the cab is a Nokia 6800. The phone that Max (Jamie Foxx) steals from the pedestrian to call Annie is a Motorola T720.
Richard T Jones, who played the first LAPD traffic cop who pulls over Max's cab for the busted windshield, now plays LAPD Sgt Grey in The Rookie TV series.
The reason Vincent was at Annie's building at the film's outset is that he was researching his final target (Annie, the prosecuting attorney).
Similar to Baby Driver (2017) which also stars Jamie Foxx who played a hitman. Whereas in Collateral he plays the cab driver who is assigned by a hitman to drive him around.
Jamie Foxx and Mark Ruffalo were born on the same year, except Mark is a month older than Jamie.
When Max (Jamie Foxx) and Vincent (Tom Cruise) are in the hospital room visiting Max's mother, at one point after Max exits the frame, you can clearly see a photograph of Mischa Barton in the background next to other photos and get-well cards. Barton, at the time, was the star of the hit television show The O.C. (2003), and a few years earlier appeared in the cult supernatural film The Sixth Sense (1999), which may help explaining her photo cameo.
Mark Ruffalo was also filming 13 Going on 30 (2004) earlier the same year, which also starred Jennifer Garner. Jamie Foxx would work with Garner in The Kingdom (2007) three years later.
Michael Mann: [military training] Vincent's methods of assassination show that he's undergone some sort of military training.
Michael Mann: [diegetic music] Use of source music and very little original music score.