Zoë Bell does all her own stunts (she was the stunt double for Uma Thurman in the "Kill Bill" series, which was also directed by Quentin Tarantino).
In an interview with Newsweek, Quentin Tarantino stated he came up with the idea of "Death Proof" when he was talking to a friend about buying a car. Tarantino wanted to buy a Volvo because he "didn't want to die in some auto accident like the one in Pulp Fiction (1994)". In regards to the safety of the car, his friend had said, "Well, you could take any car and give it to a stunt team, and for $10,000 or $15,000, they can death-proof it for you." The "death proof" phrase had stuck to Tarantino after that.
The film was physically scratched to achieve its dirty look, rather than digitally scratch the film footage.
Stuntman Mike's two "death proof" cars are a 1970 Chevy Nova and a 1969 Dodge Charger.
In an interview, Quentin Tarantino said that the version of "Down in Mexico" heard in 'Death Proof' was likely the rarest recording in his entire collection. When he was working at a stag theater in his teens, he showed the record to the projectionist, another record collector, who immediately pointed out the words "Newly Recorded" on the record's label. Tarantino said this version soon became one of his favorite tracks of all time.
The juke-box (named AMi, pronounced "Amy"), is Quentin Tarantino's own. It was trucked to Austin to be used in the film in its very own rig. The list of songs on it was also hand-written by Tarantino. One of the songs is "You Never Can Tell" by Chuck Berry, the song that Mia and Vincent dance to in Pulp Fiction (1994).
Kurt Russell can be seen eating in the background through the diner scene in the film's second half.
The only Quentin Tarantino movie that takes place completely in chronological order and without flash-backs.
Jack Burton's tank top (white tank top with a Japanese Rising Sun and a Samurai) from Big Trouble in Little China (1986) can be seen hung up on the wall of the bar where the first segment of the film takes place. It is right above Jungle Julie,slightly to the right of the AMi Jukebox.
Quentin Tarantino admitted later in an interview that he believed he "over-tweaked" Death Proof (2007), but was still very proud of it.
According to Zoë Bell, when her friend Quentin Tarantino told her she would be starring in the movie she thought she would be just a featured extra. She caught on when she saw her name on the poster.
The jukebox (named AMi, pronounced "Amy"), is the same one as in the opening diner scene of Natural Born Killers (1994) (written by Quentin Tarantino).
The two waitresses that do shots with the group in The Texas Chili Parlor are Lonestar Roller Derby girls "Venis Envy" from the "Putas del Fuego", and "Punky Bruiser" from the "Holy Rollers".
Rosario Dawson convinced Quentin Tarantino to cut her hair like pin-up icon Bettie Page for her role.
Quentin Tarantino named the character "Jungle Julia Lucai" after his personal assistant, Victoria Lucai.
The original name for this film, which pops up for only a few frames, is "Quentin Tarantino's Thunder Bolt".
According to Tarantino Universe aficionados, this is the third appearance of "Jungle" Julia, The first was as Unruly Julie in My Best Friend's Birthday (1987), mentioned as a rival D.J. to Clarence, and the second was as Wayne Gale's assistant in Natural Born Killers (1994).
The poster of Brigitte Bardot in Jungle Julia's house above the sofa was made especially for the movie.
In the car scene with Abernathy, Kim, Lee, and Zoe, the girls are discussing men they have had relationships with on a movie set they work on. In the scene, Kim (Tracie Thoms) mentions that Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has a relationship with a man known as "The Rock" on the crew of the film set. When Zoë Bell asks if it's the actual actor Dwayne Johnson, Lee explains that it's actually just an electrician named Bruce who looks like "The Rock". In the closing credits of Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), in the grips section, one of the names of the grips is Bruce Del Castillo, nicknamed "The Rock" in the credits.
When one of the girls gets a phone call before buying a magazine in the store, her ring-tone is the same as the whistling tune from Twisted Nerve (1968) Quentin Tarantino reused in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003).
At Warren's bar, there is a sign that says "CASH ONLY" with the famous photo of Johnny Cash giving the middle finger.
The. Car driven by the girls has door frames. The original did not have door frames. The crew most likely added the door frames for the "ship's mast" stunt to be possible.
Mickey Rourke, Sylvester Stallone, Ving Rhames, Kurt Russell, and Australian actor John Jarratt were all considered for the role of Stuntman Mike, with Tarantino, upon the urging of Grindhouse (2007) co-director Robert Rodriguez, finally settling with Russell.
"The poem that Jungle Julia has her listeners recite to Butterfly is an excerpt of the poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. It's also a reference to the '70s thriller Telefon (1977), in which the poem was used as a posthypnotic signal to activate Russian sleeper agents.
In a 2012 directors round-table conducted by The Hollywood Reporter, Quentin Tarantino said "'Death Proof' has got to be the worst movie I ever did." It is important to note, that he was saying "it has to be the worst movie I make." Not saying that it was a bad movie, but that it is the worst on his filmography.
The Crazy Babysitter Twins from Planet Terror (2007) are featured prominently in the shot introducing Warren's Bar, and can be seen again during the lap-dance sequence.
The complete list of songs contained in the jukebox is as follows: 01. Isaac Hayes - "Theme from Shaft" / "Ellie's Love Theme" (from Shaft (1971)); 02. Barry White - "You're My First, My Last, My Everything" / "Can't Get Enough"; 03. Bob Dylan - "George Jackson (Acoustic)" / "George Jackson (Big Band)"; 04. Stevie Wonder - "Lately" / "If It's Magic"; 05. The Chi-Lites - "Have You Seen Her" / "Oh Girl"; 06. The THP Orchestra - "Theme from S.W.A.T., Pt. 1" / "Oh Girl"; 07. Stevie Wonder - "I Ain't Gonna Stand for It" / "Knocks Me off My Feet"; 08. Bloodstone - "Natural High" / "This Thing is Heavy" ("Natural High" is heard in Jackie Brown (1997)); 09. Don McLean - "American Pie, Pt. 1" / "American Pie, Pt. 2"; 10. Sweet - "Little Willy" / "Man from Mecca"; 11. The Isley Brothers - "Take Me to the Next Phase, Pt. 1" / "Take Me to the Next Phase, Pt. 2"; 12. The Miracles - "Love Machine, Pt. 1" / "Love Machine, Pt. 2"; 13. Bob Dylan - "Subterranean Homesick Blues" / "She Belongs to Me"; 14. Honey Cone - "Stick Up" / "V.I.P."; 15. Earth Wind & Fire - "Shining Star" / "Yearning, Learning"; 16. Amii Stewart - "Knock on Wood" / "When You Are Beautiful"; 17. Honey Cone - "Want Ads" / "We Belong Together"; 18. Kool & The Gang - "Hollywood Swinging" / "Jungle Boogie" ("Jungle Boogie" is heard in Pulp Fiction (1994)); 19. Bob Dylan - "Band of the Hand" / "Theme from Joe's Death" (from Band of the Hand (1986)); 20. Sweet - "Wig-Wam-Bam" / "New York Connection"; 21. Friends of Distinction - "Grazing in the Grass" / "I Really Hope You Do"; 22. Marvin Gaye - ":Trouble Man" / "Don't Mess With Mr. T "(from Trouble Man (1972)); 23. Bob Dylan - "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" / "Rita May"; 24. Pacific Gas & Electric - "Are You Ready?" / "Staggolee"; 25. Donna Summer - "Love to Love you Baby" / "Need-A-Man Blues"; 26. Michael Zager Band - "Let's All Chant" / "Love Express"; 27. Santa Esmeralda - "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" / "You're My Everything" ("Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" is heard in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)); 28. Jigsaw - "Sky High" / "Brand New Love Affair"; 29. George Baker Selection - "Little Green Bag" / "Pretty Little Dreamer" ("Little Green Bag" is heard in Reservoir Dogs (1992)); 30. Sweet - "Blockbuster" / "Need a Lot of Lovin'"; 31. Eddie Floyd - "Good Love, Bad Love" / "Things Get Better"; 32. Joe Tex - "The Love You Save" / "If Sugar Was as Sweet as You"; 33. Bob Dylan - "Gotta Serve Somebody (Long Version)" / "Gotta Serve Somebody (Short Version)"; 34. Dick Dale - "Misirlou" / "Eight Till Midnight" ("Miserlou" is heard in Pulp Fiction (1994)); 35. Lee Williams - "They Told a Lie" / "I'm Tore Up"; 36. William Bell - "Formula of Love" / "You Don't Miss Your Water"; 37. Dinah Washington - "Mad About the Boy" / "Stormy Weather"; 38. The Box Tops - "Cry Like a Baby" / "The Door You Closed to Me"; 39. The Checkmates Ltd. - "Black Pearl" / "Lazy Susan"; 40. Sweet - "Fox on the Run" / "Miss Demeanor"; 41. The Delfonics - "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" / "La-La Means I Love You" ("Didn't I" is heard in Jackie Brown (1997)); 42. Brothers Johnson - "Get the Funk Outta Ma Face" / "Tomorrow"; 43. Bob Dylan - "Hurricane, Pt. 1" / "Hurricane, Pt. 2"; 44. ABBA - "Waterloo" / "Watch Out"; 45. 'T. Rex (I)' - "Jeepster" / "Life's a Gas"; 46. Melanie - "What Have They Done to My Song Ma?" / "Ruby Tuesday"; 47. George Frayne - "Hot Rod Lincoln" / "Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar"; 48. Robert Mitchum - "The Ballad of Thunder Road" / "The Tip of My Fingers" ("Ballad" is the theme from Thunder Road (1958)); 49. Dean Martin - "Rio Bravo" / "My Rifle My Pony and Me" (From Rio Bravo (1959)); 50. Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich - "Hold Tight" / "You Know What I Want".
Pam's hair, make-up and clothing were designed to contrast heavily with Rose McGowan's appearance as Cherry Darling in Planet Terror (2007).
The posters and D.V.D. cover feature a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, though this car never actually appears in the movie.
In the second segment of Death Proof (2007), the yellow car with the black stripes the girls drive has a license plate that reads "Brand X", this is a reference to Brand X Action Specialists, the stunt company of Quentin Tarantino's stunt coordinator Jeffrey J. Dashnaw.
When Kim, Zoe and Abby are in the Challenger, ready to go on their "test drive", they pull up by Lee and Kim says, "Hey good looking, we'll be back to pick YOU up later!" This was a line in a commercial for a cheesy Ronco product, Mr. Microphone, in the '70s. It was used again in a 1990s episode of The Simpsons (1989).
The Sheriff and "his #1 son" discussing the crash while walking down the hall of the hospital in Death Proof are the same two, Sheriff and #1son in Kill Bill that go to the church massacre and find Uma Thurman"s character still alive.
The front plate on Stuntman Mike's '70 Nova has the same characters as the 68 Fastback Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt (1968) (JJZ109) as a Texas plate rather than a California one. The wheels on Stuntman Mike's '69 Charger are the same American Racing vectors used on the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard (1979), also a '69 Charger.
The yellow Mustang from the second segment is labeled "Lil' Pussy Wagon", a reference to the Pussy Wagon in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), which is stolen by the Bride from Buck, who had just let Jasper (the same character who sells the white Dodge in this film) molest her.
WILHEMSCREAM: When Stuntman Mike crashes into the first group of girls in the head on collision.
Quentin Tarantino considered John Travolta, Willem Dafoe, John Malkovich, Mickey Rourke, Ron Perlman, Bruce Willis, Kal Penn, Ving Rhames and Sylvester Stallone for the role of Stuntman Mike. Willis did star in Planet Terror (2007), the other half of Grindhouse (2007).
At the beginning, Vanessa Ferlito's character is drinking from a soda cup. The restaurant on the cup is the same Mexican restaurant (Acuna Boys) that is advertised during the transition between Planet Terror (2007) and Death Proof (2007) in the original Grindhouse (2007). The Acuna boys are also mentioned in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), said to be a gang made up of the children of Esteban Vihaio's prostitutes.
The opening production company logo used is from Dimension Pictures which was a theatrical distributor of grind-house and exploitation films of the 1970s. Dimension Pictures is not associated with Dimension Films however, which actually distributed 'Death Proof'.
There was originally to be a scene near the beginning where Jungle Julia and her friends hang out in her apartment. In the excised scene, Jungle Julia dances on her coffee table while holding the jacket for The Cars album "Candy-O".
The drive-in theater advertisement sign that Stuntman Mike crashes into during the final car chase scene lists the Australian horror classic Wolf Creek (2005), one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite horror films. In fact when production of Death Proof was in its early stages, Tarantino briefly considered the main actor of Wolf Creek, John Jarratt, to star as Stuntman Mike.
In one of the film's main posters, the car is depicted without its rubber duck hood ornament.
Stuntman Mike's second vehicle is a 1969 Dodge Charger, the same model car in "Bullitt" which has one of the most iconic car chases in history. The Mustang in Death Proof is a 1973 Mustang, which is the same model as in the original Gone in 60 Seconds (1974), another iconic car chase movie and of course the Challenger is like the one from Vanishing Point.
Australian actor John Jarratt was nearly selected to play Stuntman Mike until Quentin Tarantino decided to settle with Kurt Russell.
Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2007 (#02, tied with Inland Empire (2006) and "Still life")
At one point, Sheriff McGraw refers to Stuntman Mike as "Frankenstein." This may have been a reference to the Roger Corman film Death Race 2000 (1975), where the protagonist, a race-car driver named Frankenstein, was played by David Carradine, who also starred in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" films.
The director 'Cecil Evans' mentioned by Rosario Dawson in the car refers to Cecil D. Evans, transportation coordinator for Death Proof and Planet Terror (2007) and frequently used by Robert Rodriguez.
Quentin was so intrigued by Marcy Harriell's "southern boy" characterization during her audition, that he rewrote the part specifically for her and renamed the character "Marcy".
The license plate on Stuntman Mike's '69 Dodge Charger is the same as the '69 Dodge Charger in _Dirty Mary Crazy Larry_ driven by 'Peter Fonda' (938DAN).
This was Quentin Tarantino's first film since Reservoir Dogs (1992) to not be at least nominated for any major award. (Oscar, Golden Globe, etc...)
When Kurt Russell's Stuntman Mike looks into the camera with a smile before getting into his Chevy Nova, it's homage to what Burt Reynolds would do in several movies involving fast cars.
During the closing credits are random shots of beautiful women (from what looks like vintage films or advertisements, etc) that have nothing to do with the movie and doesn't include the cast: except one where Vanessa Ferlito (who plays Butterfly) is sitting in the girls' red car, smiling, with two 3cP Chart computer monitors (including color bars having to do with coloring the shots) taking up the entire passenger seat beside her.
The song playing while Jungle Julia texts a mystery character is the theme song from the movie Blow Out (1981).
Ironically, Rose McGowan appeared in this movie and the other Grindhouse feature, Planet Terror, almost a decade after having sued producer Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment on another Dimension Films production, Scream.
Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms worked together previously in the movie "Rent" (2005).
Kurt Russell played the lead in 1982 horror classic 'The Thing'. Mary Elizabeth Winstead would play the lead in it's 2011 prequel.
Kanan Hooker (Buddy Joe Hooker's son) and production assistant for Hoonigan TV still owns one of the 4 stunt Novas - the car in his possession is the first car built for the production (dubbed #1 The Jesus since it was the only one which was operational and retaining the Rubber Duck hood ornament) and still retains the stunt livery including the internal roof panel and tractor seat but the Plexiglas panel used in the film (used as a partition in the film as the Killbox) was removed.
The character of Rosario Dawson are arguing with her friends and says: "So, what is it you two daredevils are doing, that i'm just so uncool, I couldn't possible understand?" 8 years after Rosario Dawson plays Claire Temple in Daredevil (2015)
Quentin Tarantino: [Long Take] In the scene in the second half of the film where the four women are talking in a diner, the shot is held for eight minutes and seven seconds.
Quentin Tarantino: [Red Apple] One of the characters asks for 'Red Apple' cigarettes, a fictional brand which appears in most of Tarantino's movies.
Quentin Tarantino: [burger] Stuntman Mike asks Jungle Julia about having a billboard "near Big Kahuna Burger", a fictitious brand used by Tarantino in his movies. She then replies, "I got one there, too, Zatoichi". This is a reference to the famous Japanese blind samurai character who has appeared in several films and TV series - Tarantino is a big fan of the franchise.
Quentin Tarantino: [bare feet] opening credits, Jungle Julia is constantly wearing no shoes and Abernathy has her bare feet hanging out of the car when she is asleep.