A 1995 movie that you may not want to admit that you enjoyed, Showgirls stars former Saved by the Bell actress Elizabeth Berkley as a street smart girl who travels to Las Vegas and begins to climb the seedy ladder from stripper to showgirl.
Released alongside an extremely large amount of controversy due to its gratuitous sex and nudity, Showgirls is now regarded as something of a cult classic, and below are 10 completely revealing facts about Paul Verhoeven’s infamous erotic drama.
10. The movie’s director and screenwriter interviewed over two hundred real life strippers
Director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas interviewed over 200 real Las Vegas strippers as part of their research.
The pair used these testimonies in the making of the movie, keen to shed light on the exploitation of strippers in Las Vegas.
9. It made Joe Eszterhas the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood history
Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas’ original idea for Showgirls was written on a napkin during a meeting in a restaurant, for which he was paid $2 million in advance.
Eszterhas also made another $1.7 when his script was turned into a movie, which alongside his previous scripts for Basic Instinct (which was also directed by Paul Verhoeven) and Sliver, made him the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood history.
8. Many Hollywood actresses turned it down before Elizabeth Berkley was cast
The list of actresses who turned down the role of Nomi Malone (that eventually went to Elizabeth Berkley) was extremely long.
Actresses who turned the part down included Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, Pamela Anderson, Charlize Theron and Denise Richards.
7. Madonna and Sharon Stone were both considered for a supporting role
A number of actresses were also considered for the role of Cristal Connors, including Madonna, Sharon Stone and Sean Young.
However, Gina Gershon was thought to be favourite for the role right from the start, and was offered it as soon as she became available.
6. Extra staff were sent to cinemas to ensure that underage viewers didn’t sneak into screenings
Showgirls was given an NC-17 for ‘nudity and erotic sexuality throughout, some graphic language, and sexual violence,’ and it was the first and so far only NC-17 movie to be given a large mainstream release in cinemas.
In an attempt to ease the controversy that surrounded it, the movie’s distributor United Artists sent hundreds of extra staff members to cinemas all over the US, to ensure that people under the age of 17 couldn’t sneak into screenings illegally.
5. Many of the cast and crew have since admitted that it’s not very good
A number of the movie’s cast and crew have since been quoted as saying that they do not like it, with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas being one of them.
Eszterhas has said “that rape scene was a god-awful mistake. In retrospect, a terrible mistake. And musically it was eminently forgettable. And in casting mistakes were made.”
4. It received a record seven Golden Raspberry Awards
Showgirls was the ‘winner’ of a record seven Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Actress for Elizabeth Berkley and Worst Director for Paul Verhoeven.
It also picked up the award for Worst Screenplay for Joe Eszterhas, Worst New Star for Elizabeth Berkley, Worst Screen Couple and Worst Original Song.
3. It bombed at the box office but was an unprecedented success on video
Showgirl’s adult rating, alongside the bashing it took from critics, meant that it became a box office bomb, making only $37 million from a budget of $45 million.
However, it enjoyed massive success on the home video market, making more than $100 million from rentals alone. This meant that the movie ended up making a profit, and also became one of MGM’s all time top 20 VHS best sellers.
2. Some critics now consider it to be a brilliant satire
Showgirls was completely panned by critics upon its initial release, and it often features on lists of the worst movies of all time.
But more recently, some critics have re-evaluated the movie, with some even declaring that it is actually a brilliant satire that should be praised. Critic Jacques Rivette has even gone so far as to claim that it is “one of the great American films.”
1.There was a straight to video sequel
Did you know that Showgirls spawned an unofficial sequel that focused on the minor character of Penny, who was played by Rena Riffel?
Called Showgirls 2: Penny’s from Heaven, the sequel was also written, produced, directed and edited by Riffel, and it went straight to video in 2011.