It was 18 years ago that Vince Vaughn played Trent in Doug Liman’s Swingers — the fast-talking Los Angeles scenester with a penchant for cocktails, honeys and anything “money.” Vaughn truly became the smarmy but lovable character entirely. His good looks, manic disposition, and snappy one-liners were magnetic, and the actor hasn’t been able to top the role since then. Writer and costar Jon Favreau played Trent’s wingman — a soft-spoken, emo guy still obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, but willing to go along for the ride when dragged on an overnight to Las Vegas. Sin City was the perfect setting for the story that embodied Sinatra-era cool through a 1990s lens. The film was responsible for the swing music (and style) revival during the decade of grunge, and its catchy slang pervades pop culture to this day.
Grantland has just published an excellent oral history of Swingers that is a must-read for any fan. During the conversation, Favreau admits he didn’t initially set out to write the movie. He just wanted to see if he could complete a screenplay after a frustrating breakup. “I started writing, just drawing from the environment I was living in. I had characters loosely based on people I knew. None of the events were real; it was all a story that came out of my head without an outline,” he told the website.
Hilarious anecdotes include a tale about a script read for a potential buyer who also happened to be an arms dealer from Pakistan. “We had to figure out how to get out of the meeting cause it was scary,” line producer Nicole LaLoggia shares. As star Ron Livingston (Rob) puts it, indie films weren’t on everyone’s radar at that time: “So it was really only crazy people, oddballs and weirdos that would even sit down and entertain the idea of buying this movie. Nobody really wanted it.” We also find out that Jason Priestley almost got the part of Trent, with the hopes that his name (then big for Beverly Hills 90210) could help secure the money needed to make the movie. The stories don’t stop there. Grantland has also published a few excerpts from Favreau’s sketchbook, which are pretty great.
Associate producer and first AD Avram Ludwig sums up the appeal of Swingers for many audiences:
It wasn’t just a movie, but something that meant something to people who were going through a similar experience. It made them feel better. It gave them someone to relate to. I met this kid one time who claimed to have seen the movie 20 or 30 times. I said, “Why did you see this movie that many times?” And he said, “You don’t understand. I go out, I get rejected by girls, and then I go home and watch Swingers.”
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