The idea of casting Mark Harmon in the role of Freddy Shoop was Reiner's idea. "We originally discussed having a major comedian for the role. However Mark impressed me very much in the mini-series 'The Deliberate Stranger,' in which he portrayed convicted murderer Ted Bundy. When I saw him being interviewed on a news program, he was so personable and had such a winning smile that it was clear he would be well suited for the role of our gym coach-turned-instructor. And he brings surprising depth to the character."
agreed to direct "Summer School" almost immediately after reading the screenplay by Franklin. "The script really held my interest and made me laugh," he recalls.
Contributed by: C.T. Warren
The movie's final scene was scripted, but the closing gag wasn't. Mark Harmon and Kirstie Alley are walking on the beach and were meant to fall into a wave-covered kiss a la "From Here To Eternity", but Mark's dog 'Wondermutt' got loose on the beach, and the entire crew was laughing when he dove between them for a kiss of his own! Director Carl Reiner thought it was so funny that he left it as the movie's last frame.
Finding the young actors for the major student roles in "Summer School" became an arduous and time-consuming process. The filmmakers and casting director Penny Ferry interviewed hundreds of applicants before making the decisions. "The actors we picked clearly stood out from the others because they were the best," says Reiner. "I never imagined finding a supporting group as good as this. During filming, they consistently created over and above what we had given them on the written page."
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