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Five Groundhog Day facts you might not know!

by Dana Andersen. Published Tue 02 Feb 2021 08:35, last updated: 02/02/21

Groundhog Day is well and truly cemented in pop culture history, with references across movies and TV shows alike.

It’s a certified classic that everyone’s pretty much seen at least once, but there are still plenty of things viewers may not know about the iconic movie.

For one, it wasn’t filmed in Pennsylvania. Although set in Punxsutawney, filming actually took place in Woodstock, Illinois.

Apparently, the movies director and co-writer Harold Ramis, thought the town centre of the real Punxsutawney didn’t look good enough on film, leading them to record in Woodstock instead.

Not only was it not filmed where it's set, but it wasn’t filmed during the time of year it’s set either.

Phil Connors may have been waking up to the same February morning each day, but in reality filming took place from mid-March through to early June of 1992.

Woodstock can reach temperatures up to 25c at that time of year, meaning the snow in the movie is of course fake and the cast must have been more than just a little warm in their winter costumes.

We could have been looking at a very different cast too. Tom Hanks and Michael Keaton both turned down the lead role of TV weatherman Phil.

Tom Hanks was too busy to take on the movie, and also thought audiences would be expecting him to become a nice guy, since he was known to play nice characters.

Michael Keaton reportedly didn’t understand the script, though he later admitted he regretted turning it down.

Luckily Bill Murray was perfect for the part, but that didn’t stop three full days of shooting from being wasted.

Scenes were filmed with Phil repainting his room, giving himself a mohawk and having fun with a chainsaw, none of which was used in the movie.

Director Ramis decided that having him break a pencil and find it undamaged again the next morning, was enough to get the point across to the audience.

Finally, Murray and Ramis unfortunately had many disagreements while working on Groundhog Day.

Murray was going through a divorce at the time, which Ramis attributed his friend's irratic behaviour to, but once filming wrapped, the two barely spoke more than a few words to each other for 20 years.

Thankfully the pair reunited and made up before Ramis passed away in 2014.


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