Ben Stiller, David Bowie and Owen Wilson in hit 2001 comedy Zoolander.
Ben Stiller, David Bowie and Owen Wilson in hit 2001 comedy Zoolander. News Corp Australia

What you never knew about Zoolander

ZOOLANDER: the movie that first taught us that there's more to life than being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking.

It's hard to believe it's been sixteen years since we first met Ben Stiller's Derek Zoolander and his famous 'Blue Steel' look.

To celebrate the anniversary, here are some little known facts about the movie you probably never knew.

THE OPENING SEQUENCE WAS SHOT DURING THE 2000 VH1/VOGUE FASHION AWARDS

Thought those opening scenes featuring Derek Zoolander missing out on Male Model of the Year at a fashion event looked realistic?

That's because they were actually filmed at the real-life 2000 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards - during the commercial breaks, of course.

HANSEL WAS SPECIFICALLY WRITTEN FOR OWEN WILSON

That Hansel - he's so hot right now.

Turns out nobody else was even considered for the role of Zoolander's arch rival, because the part was specifically written for Owen Wilson.

"Owen was the most important casting to me in the movie because I think he is one of the funniest people around - and the part was written for him," Stiller once told Hollywood.com.

"I don't think [the movie] could have [been] made if he couldn't do it."

Owen Wilson was the first and only choice to play Hansel.
Owen Wilson was the first and only choice to play Hansel. News Corp Australia

BEN STILLER WAS SUPPOSED TO PLAY ZOOLANDER'S AGENT

Stiller might be a bit of an overachiever, but even he conceded at the last-minute that playing the lead character, a secondary character and also directing the movie would be a bit too much.

Up until two weeks before shooting, the actor was still planning to play Zoolander's agent Maury Ballstein, but changed his mind at the last minute and cast his own father Jerry Stiller instead.

THE 'BLUE STEEL' WAS INSPIRED BY STILLER'S OWN FACIAL EXPRESSION

'Blue Steel' is one of the things all Zoolander fans have probably impersonated one time or another. Stiller has revealed that the 'Look' it describes was inspired by own of his own facial expressions.

"It came of looking in the mirror when I was brushing my hair or whatever," Stiller said. "My wife would say, 'Why are you making that face? Why are you doing that?'"

Blue Steel. So hot right now.
Blue Steel. So hot right now. News Limited

WILSON HAD A YO-YO STUNT DOUBLE

Owen Wilson might be a great actor, but he's no yoyo pro - unlike his character Hansel.

To help him out, producers hired a yoyo stunt double named Steve Brown to handle all the crazy tricks.

In 2001, the same year the movie was released, Brown was named a National Yo-Yo Master.

STILLER ADLIBBED A FAMOUS LINE BECAUSE HE FORGOT WHAT TO SAY

One of the funniest moments in the movie comes about during a secret meeting between Zoolander and David Duchovny's character J.P. Prewitt, while they're discussing an underground plot to use male models as assassins.

Zoolander: "Why male models?"

Prewitt: "Think about it Derek. Male models are genetically constructed to become assassins. They're in peak physical condition, they can gain entry to the most secure places in the world. But most important of all? Models don't think for themselves. They do as they're told."

After that lengthy explanation, Stiller forgot his next line, so just asked again: "But why male models?"

Luckily, Duchovny went with it: "You serious? I just ... I just told you that a moment ago."

ZOOLANDER WAS SUPPOSED TO BE KILLED OFF IN THE END

Zoolander nearly didn't survive the first movie (which may have saved us all from the sequel).

He was originally supposed to die at the end after being hit by a train and ascending to heaven, but producers canned the idea when they realised how expensive it would have been to shoot.

THE MOVIE WAS BANNED IN MALAYSIA

It's not surprising the Malaysian government wasn't exactly thrilled with the movie's references to murdering the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The plot revolves around plans for Zoolander to be brainwashed and committing the assassination, and it led to Malaysia's censorship board deeming the film "definitely unsuitable" for public consumption.

News Corp Australia


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