FILM 1517: MYSTERY MEN
TRIVIA: According to Ben Stiller in an interview on Late Show with David Letterman (1993), he and Greg Kinnear got into a heated argument on the set. Afterwards, Stiller tried to be released from the film.
Tom Waits' odd hand gestures when explaining the psychofrakulator were the result of him writing his dialogue on his fingers and reading the words as he went along.
A number of the sets used in the film are the same sets used in Batman Forever (1995).
The Mystery Men were the supporting cast of an underground superhero comic book called the Flaming Carrot. Mr. Furious and the Shoveler were the only ones from the comic to make it into the movie. Captain Amazing was created as a replacement for the Flaming Carrot, who was felt to be too bizarre to bring to the silver screen.
The Bowler's stream-of-consciousness monologue in support of independent filmmaking at the conclusion of the film was originally not intended to be included in the finished print. Janeane Garofalo was instructed by director Kinka Usher to say whatever came to her mind at the time (Usher simply wanted to use up some excess film.) Usher liked her performance so much he edited it into the final print.
CAMEOS: Michael Bay (noted action director) and Riki Rachtman, (former host of MTV's Headbangers Ball (1987)) as two of the Frat Boys. Bay asks "can we bring the brewskies?".
According to Hank Azaria, the cast argued constantly with each other over the comedic tone of the film.
As the team enters Dr. Heller's amusement park workshop, creepy music is heard. This is not just incidental music, but turns out to be Dr. Heller practicing on a 'waterphone', the strange cylindrical device with steel wires he can briefly be seen holding. The waterphone is primarily used in the motion picture industry in the composition of creepy incidental music.
In an odd parallel, Tom Waits actually creates curious machines from junk and hardware store purchases, in the same way that his character (Dr. Heller) does. Waits' machines are musical, and one is 6-stringed steel dumpster.
A subtle reference to William Shatner: once, while recording lines for the video game Star Trek: Judgment Rites (1993), Shatner pronounced "sabotage" strangely and was asked twice to repeat the line. He finally blurted, "Don't tell me how to act - it sickens me!" In Mystery Men (1999), this line is repeated by Ben Stiller. Later, Janeane Garofalo says to Stiller, "You say 'sabotage', I say 'saboTAGE'," another Shatner quote from the Star Trek recording session.
Ricky Jay's character tells Captain Amazing, "I'm a publicist, not a magician." Jay is in fact a well-known magician.
In a 2011 interview with A.V. Club, Hank Azaria claimed that during production Kinka Usher declared "I'm going back to commercials when this is done. I've had enough. I'd much rather do my cool little one-minute shorts that I make than deal with all this nonsense."