Pop quiz, hot shot - it's the summer of 1994 and there have already been dozens of Die Hard knock-offs in the wake of that franchise's success. How do you get your film to stand out from the rest of that pack? In the case of Speed, the first step was hiring director Jan de Bont and trusting in some of his more unconventional decisions. The next was to bring Joss Whedon aboard for a rewrite of the script that removed some of its more overt Die Hard-isms.
There was a lot about Speed that probably made 20th Century Fox very nervous. de Bont was a first time director, no one knew who Sandra Bullock was, and Keanu Reeves had no track record for opening this type of film. Their faith in the project was of course handsomely rewarded, but the story behind this production is still a fascinating one.
All three of us remembered absolutely loving this movie... but it had been a good 15-20 years since we'd seen it. Does it work as well now as it did back then?
Topics include: the original choices for Jack, Annie, and Howard, Whedon's contributions to the script, the poor bus passenger who's consistently saddled with the worst dialogue, Sam's slow and painful off-screen death, why this composer was worth fighting for, the incredible opening set piece, some issues with the final showdown, a few of the more baffling aspects of Speed 2, and much much more!