An odd couple story with an edge, MIDNIGHT RUN stars AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Robert De Niro as bounty hunter Jack Walsh– and was directed by AFI Conservatory alum Martin Brest (AFI Class of 1973).
AFI Movie Club: MIDNIGHT RUN
Watch Keegan-Michael Key announce today’s film MIDNIGHT RUN.
Watch MIDNIGHT RUN star Robert De Niro accept the AFI Life Achievement Award.
DID YOU KNOW? While MIDNIGHT RUN was in early development at Paramount, Cher was originally considered for the role of the accountant in the film, opposite Robert De Niro. Director Martin Brest eventually brought the project to Universal, and Charles Grodin was instead cast in the part.
DID YOU KNOW? In his 1989 autobiography, Charles Grodin outlined his rigorous audition process for MIDNIGHT RUN – noting that his first audition, opposite director Martin Brest, lasted three hours and consisted entirely of improvisation.
DID YOU KNOW? Dennis Farina, an ex-Chicago detective, played mob boss “Jimmy Serrano” in the film – and Richard Foronjoy, an real-life ex-convict, portrayed a mob henchman. In his autobiography, star Charles Grodin said, “It was fascinating to watch the ex-cop, Dennis, watch the ex-con, Richie, talk about his past, kind of like a cat and mouse who had called a truce.”
DID YOU KNOW? For the scene in which Walsh and Mardukas leap from a cliff, the beginning was filmed in Arizona and the end – in which the characters land in white water rapids – was shot in New Zealand. The Arizona waters were too cold, so the producers found a location in the Southern Hemisphere in which to complete the sequence.
DID YOU KNOW? Director Martin Brest and star Robert De Niro received permission from the New York Police Department to ride along on police patrols. This involved accompanying them on nights that included arrests and time spent waiting in coffee shops, while “getting the lay of the land” to better understand the characters.
DID YOU KNOW? In 1994, Universal produced three made-for–television sequels to MIDNIGHT RUN that were presented as a three-part series, all starring Christopher McDonald in the role originated by Robert De Niro.
Learn more at the AFI Catalog.
The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Discussion Questions
- How would you characterize the film’s genre? How does it balance action, violence and comedy?
- Often considered one of the art form’s greatest dramatic actors, what do you think of Robert De Niro’s comedy chops? How is he playing to type and in what ways is he playing against his dramatic persona?
- How do you think MIDNIGHT RUN subverts or reinvents the odd couple formula? How does the formula lend itself to this kind of story and an edgy twist?
- How do you think the film’s stellar supporting cast rounds out the world? What effect does an all-star ensemble have on MIDNIGHT RUN’s narrative?
- What is your favorite scene in MIDNIGHT RUN?
- How would you rate MIDNIGHT RUN?
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