20 Things You Didn't Know About Speed

One of the best actioners of the 90s had a lot of working parts thanks to circumstance and talent.

Speed Movie
20th Century Fox

Every generation, one action film seems to sum up the entire genre for the era. Since the dawn of the blockbuster, imitators of major successes followed shamelessly and constantly. The 70s clearly belonged to revenge pictures with Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson and remained dominant until Bruce Willis dethroned them with Die Hard as we headed into the 90s.

Die Hard became the go-to elevator pitch for a movie. "Die Hard in a plane", "Die Hard in the subway", "Die Hard in a submarine" were, at one point, words spoken by a fairly educated, flustered screenwriter to a studio executive who only saw dollar signs, not celluloid reels.

So when Jan De Bont, who served as cinematographer on Die Hard, first heard about 'Die Hard on a Bus' - the script that would later become Speed - his initial instinct was, "This is going to be boring." Action films taking place in one location are always a gamble - seemingly taking sprawling setpieces off the table. But he must have seen potential reading the original script from Graham Yost, taking the directing gig - his first.

Today, Speed is still fondly remembered as one of the best action films of the 90s, helping launch Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock to superstardom with a villainous performance from Dennis Hopper that would define his later career.

Speed's journey to screen certainly wasn't at 50 mph; some major changes had to be made throughout production. Let's take a look back at how it all came together...

20. Sandra Bullock Actually Learned To Drive A Bus

20th Century Fox

It's not rare for an actor to learn new skills when preparing for a role, particularly if they're method. While no one is claiming 90s Sandra Bullock of being of the Day Lewis-caliber, she was certainly determined to prove herself on the set of her first major blockbuster.

Prior to Speed, her biggest role was the love interest in the Aldous-Huxley-on-Cocaine goofiness that was Demolition Man but this was her time to blossom.

So dedicated to lending authenticity to a role best described as "bus driver", she learned to drive a bus, passing on her first test.


Kenny Hedges is carbon-based. So I suppose a simple top 5 in no order will do: Halloween, Crimes and Misdemeanors, L.A. Confidential, Billy Liar, Blow Out He has his own website - thefilmreal.com - and is always looking for new writers with differing views to broaden the discussion.