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10+ Behind The Scenes Secrets About 'Meet The Parents' Fans Didn't Know

I can still remember watching Meet the Parents in theaters. Even 20 years after its theatrical release, the film remains as funny, relevant, and heartwarming as it ever was.

As a way of reflecting, I've managed to compile these 10+ behind the scenes secrets about Meet the Parents that fans didn't know. Prepare yourself for a heavy helping of hilarity and nostalgia!

Naomi Watts campaigned hard to play Pam.

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“I came to New York and auditioned at least five times for Meet the Parents. I think the director liked me but the studio didn’t. I heard every piece of feedback you could imagine, and in this case, it was 'not sexy enough.'”

The opening scene was originally going to take place at a Cubs game.

"There are only a couple of scenes I wish were different--Jay wanted to shoot the opening I originally wrote, but it was too expensive. So they took the basic idea of that scene and re-did it as a proposal scene gone awry outside a children's school."

The film was originally going to star Jim Carrey.

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According to Jim, he was the one who created the Focker family during a creative meeting with Steven Spielberg.

Unable to come to an agreement with the studio, Spielberg and Carrey parted ways with the project.

Blythe Danner based her character on famous comedian, Gracie Allen.

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Gracie Allen was a trailblazer. In an era dominated by male comics, Gracie paved the way for women to begin to venture into the comedic arena.

She's most well-known for The George Burns and Gracie Allen TV Show.

Ben Stiller proposed to his girlfriend, Christine, while he was making the film!

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"Christine’s father is an intimidating guy who owns a security company; we’re good friends now, but at the time I was in the basement rec room saying, ‘I really would like to marry your daughter…’ He’s a man of few words but he was very welcoming."

*Meet The Parents* is actually a remake!

It's a little-known fact, but the film is actually based on a 1992 indie film of the same name.

After the director of the original flick wasn't able to find a buyer, the rights were sold to Universal.

There's a clever nod to another very famous Robert De Niro film!

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When Jack is confronting Greg about smoking pot in the tux shop, he says "I'm a patient man. That's what 19 months in a Vietnamese prison camp will do to you."

He's referring to his character Michael, whom he played in The Deer Hunter.

The pharmacy in the film was real and it stayed open while production was filming.

"It was pretty hilarious. Usually on these big-budget movies, they'd just rent out a place for the whole day, but in this case, they actually kept the store open the entire day."

The most hilarious joke of the entire film almost didn't make the cut.

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The MPAA had a very hard time with the last name Focker. Apparently, they refused to sign off unless production could actually find someone who had the same last name.

Thankfully, they were able to do so.

The director, Jay Roach, was terrified in the early phases.

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Ben Stiller accused Roach of faking his nervousness as a way of drawing him toward the project. Roach's response was:

"I don’t think it was strategy. I wanted them to know I was terrified. I’m really bad at faking."

Mr. Jinx was actually played by two different cats!

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There were always two cats on set in case one decided to get temperamental. Robert De Niro apparently grew incredibly close to the animals.

He'd even go so far as to keep kibble in his pockets!

The film was heavily influenced by Dustin Hoffman's work in *The Graduate*.

"In the case of Meet the Parents, I was always thinking of Greg's character as a guy who was misunderstood, so I'd have to say The Graduate was an influence."

Ironically, Dustin Hoffman was cast as Greg's father, Bernie, in the sequel!

Jack toilet training Mr. Jinx inspired a real life training tool for cats!

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The device works similarly to the way that Jack describes it in the film. A series of plastic rings forms a barrier around the toilet seat with a hole in the center.

As the cat gets more and more comfortable, the rings are gradually removed until it can balance in the seat itself!

You won't see Greg's airplane rant on an airplane.

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If you ever happen to be watching Meet the Parents on a plane, the scene where he snaps on the flight attendant is omitted.

I guess you really can't say "bomb" on an airplane after all!

Robert De Niro was the inspiration for Jack Burns.

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"He went into all this detail about the mythology of these guys who give these lie detector tests. And suddenly it clicked with the character Bob would play in our movie, this ex-CIA psychological profiler whose job was to root out moles and double agents. "