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13 secrets you never know about ‘Zoolander’

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The 2001 comedy film ‘Zoolander‘ has become a cult classic, loved by audiences for its quirky humor, memorable characters, and satirical take on the fashion industry. Despite its popularity, there are many behind-the-scenes secrets and interesting facts about the film that even the most dedicated fans may not know. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into 13 secrets about ‘Zoolander’ that will surprise and intrigue you.

Secret 1. The Origin of ‘Zoolander’

The character of Derek Zoolander was not originally created for the film. In fact, the character first appeared in a skit for the 1996 VH1 Fashion Awards. The skit was so popular that it inspired Ben Stiller to develop a full-length feature film based on the character.

The original skit was a mockumentary-style piece that followed Zoolander during his daily routine as a male model. Many of the character’s signature traits, including his “Blue Steel” look, were introduced in this initial skit.

Secret 2. The Film’s Controversial Release

‘Zoolander’ was released on September 28, 2001, just a few weeks after the tragic events of 9/11. Due to its depiction of a plot to assassinate the Malaysian Prime Minister, the film was deemed insensitive and was banned in Malaysia.

In addition, the film’s release was delayed in several other countries due to its perceived insensitivity in the wake of 9/11. Despite these controversies, the film was a commercial success, grossing over $60 million worldwide.

Secret 3. The Real-Life Inspiration for Mugatu

The character of Mugatu, played by Will Ferrell, is one of the film’s most memorable characters. However, many fans may not know that Mugatu was inspired by a real-life fashion figure.

Mugatu’s character was based on the German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, known for his distinctive look with high-collared white shirts, black sunglasses, and powdered wigs. The character’s name, however, was taken from a creature in the original ‘Star Trek’ series.

Secret 4. The Film’s Star-Studded Cast

‘Zoolander’ boasts an impressive cast, with many famous faces making cameo appearances. These include David Bowie, Billy Zane, and even the then-future President of the United States, Donald Trump.

However, one of the film’s most surprising cameos comes from Vince Vaughn, who plays Derek’s brother, Luke Zoolander. Vaughn’s role is uncredited, and he doesn’t have a single line in the film.

Secret 5. The Hidden ‘Star Trek’ References

As mentioned earlier, the character of Mugatu was named after a creature from ‘Star Trek’. However, this isn’t the only ‘Star Trek’ reference in the film.

The ‘Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good’ is a reference to the ‘Star Trek’ episode ‘The Galileo Seven’, in which Spock mentions a ‘Vulcan Institute for Defective Logic’. Additionally, the ‘hand phone’ used by Mugatu is a nod to the communicators used in the original ‘Star Trek’ series.

Secret 6. The Film’s Unusual Marketing Strategy

In a unique marketing move, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson walked the runway as their ‘Zoolander’ characters at the Valentino show during Paris Fashion Week in 2015. This stunt was part of the promotion for ‘Zoolander 2’.

The surprise appearance was a hit, with the audience erupting in applause as Stiller and Wilson strutted down the runway in character. The stunt generated a lot of buzz for the sequel and was widely covered in the media.

Secret 7. The ‘Blue Steel’ Look

One of the most iconic aspects of ‘Zoolander’ is Derek’s signature ‘Blue Steel’ look. However, Stiller has admitted that there’s no real difference between ‘Blue Steel’, ‘Le Tigre’, or ‘Magnum’ – they’re all the same look.

Stiller has also revealed that ‘Blue Steel’ was inspired by a look he used to do himself in the mirror, a look of surprise mixed with a pout, which he thought was really, really good looking.

Secret 8. The Film’s Connection to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

It may seem unlikely, but ‘Zoolander’ has a connection to the dystopian drama ‘The Handmaid’s Tale‘. The connection lies in the film’s director, Ben Stiller.

Stiller’s mother, Anne Meara, appears in ‘Zoolander’ as the protesting woman who throws a egg at Mugatu. Meara was also the mother-in-law of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ star Elisabeth Moss, making for an unexpected connection between the two vastly different projects.

Secret 9. The Film’s Impact on Pop Culture

‘Zoolander’ has had a significant impact on pop culture, with many of its catchphrases and scenes becoming iconic. The film’s influence can be seen in everything from fashion trends to internet memes.

One of the most enduring aspects of the film is its quotability. Lines like “I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking” and “What is this? A center for ants?” have become ingrained in pop culture.

Secret 10. The Film’s Sequel

Despite the original film’s success, it took 15 years for a sequel to ‘Zoolander’ to be made. ‘Zoolander 2’ was released in 2016, with Stiller, Wilson, and Ferrell reprising their roles.

While the sequel was not as well-received as the original, it still had its share of memorable moments and brought back many of the original film’s beloved characters.

Secret 11. The Film’s Soundtrack

The ‘Zoolander’ soundtrack is a mix of popular songs from the late ’90s and early 2000s, featuring artists like Wham!, Michael Jackson, and No Doubt. The film’s most memorable musical moment, however, comes from the song “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

The song plays a crucial role in the film, serving as the trigger for Derek’s brainwashing. The song was chosen because Stiller felt it was a song that everyone knew but hadn’t heard in a while.

Secret 12. The Film’s Fashion Influence

Despite its satirical take on the fashion industry, ‘Zoolander’ has had a significant influence on fashion. The film’s outrageous outfits and hairstyles have inspired many fashion trends and have even been referenced in fashion shows.

Additionally, the film’s portrayal of male models helped to popularize the idea of ‘metrosexuality’, a term used to describe men who spend a lot of time and money on their appearance.

Secret 13. The Film’s Legacy

Despite its initial controversy and mixed reviews, ‘Zoolander’ has become a beloved comedy classic. The film’s unique humor, memorable characters, and satirical take on the fashion industry have ensured its lasting legacy.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the film, there’s no denying the impact and influence of ‘Zoolander’. These 14 secrets offer a deeper look into the making of this iconic film, revealing the surprising stories and interesting facts behind its creation.

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