Joel Grey was offered the role of Chiun several times before accepting it, but kept turning it down because he didn't think he was the right kind of actor for the part. Moreover, Grey had no previous martial-arts experience (and received no such training for the movie once he was cast). What changed Grey's mind was a meeting with Carl Fullerton, the film's make-up artist. Grey said that if he could successfully be made to look like an 80-year-old Korean, he would take the job. Fullerton gave the task his best shot and afterward, a private screen test was held between himself and Grey. With Chiun now cast, Fullerton went on to receive an Oscar nomination for his work.
Although the Statue of Liberty was undergoing renovation in preparation for its centennial when the film was made, the filmmakers shot on and around the actual statue and its scaffolding as well as on a full-sized replica (from just below Liberty's book to the top of her torch) which was constructed in Mexico City. Because of weather and scheduling, the sequence required additional photography during the summer following the original mid-December (New York) and late-February (Mexico) shoots. Two different locations photographed during three separate time periods illustrates the value of storyboards and thorough pre-visualization.
Some of the actors who auditioned for the part of Remo Williams claimed to be proficient in the martial art of Sinanju, not realizing it was a fiction derived from the Destroyer novels on which the movie was based.
When movies are made, scenes are often
left on the cutting room floor.
Sometimes, there will be several versions
of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may
release a special cut of the movie.