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The character George, the biker boyfriend played by Aaron Eckhart, was based on Erin Brockovich-Ellis's Mexican-American biker boyfriend Jorge. Erin and Jorge did break up, but he did not leave her life. He was hired as a full time live-in nanny for Erin's children for several years, paid for by the law firm so that she would have more time to devote to her work.
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Julia Roberts received an unprecedented salary for her lead role, making her the first woman to break the $20m barrier.
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The real Erin Brockovich-Ellis claimed that the film was 98-99% accurate.
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As of 2003, Erin Brockovich-Ellis was still with Ed Masry's law firm and had been given the title Director of Research.
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Julia Roberts won the Academy Award for best actress for her role as Erin Brockovich and famously forgot to thank the real Erin Brockovich-Ellis in her acceptance speech. Afterward she was quoted as saying, "It doesn't bring out the Albert Einstein moment that you hoped it would."
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Ed mentions to Erin that he has the challenge of living with diabetes while managing the firm. The real Ed Masry ultimately died from complications of his diabetes.
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Judge LeRoy A. Simmons officiated at the pleading and discovery for Hinkley v. PG&E, and came out of retirement to repeat his decision, this time in front of actors and cameras.
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The real Erin Brockovich-Ellis sold the rights to her story to Universal Pictures for a reported $100,000.
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The real Erin Brockovich-Ellis actually got sick from the chromium poisoning she was investigating. Steven Soderbergh decided to leave that aspect out of the film as it would make Erin out to be too much of a martyr.
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The amazing car-crash in the opening sequence was done by digitally compositing shots of Julia Roberts taking off with the car and a radio-controlled car being hit by a stunt driver.
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For her performance in this film, Julia Roberts became the first actress to win Best Actress at the Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTA Awards and Critics' Choice Awards, as well as Best Actress - Drama at the Golden Globe Awards.
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Hinkley's toxins made the real Brockovich sick at one point. Steven Soderbergh filmed a scene set at the hospital, but later cut it from the final product. "I didn't want people to think that this was going to turn into one of those movies where the protagonist gets terminally ill," he said on the DVD commentary. "It was a tough call, because Erin really did get sick and was hospitalized for a while."
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Executive producer Carla Santos Shamberg's chiropractor told her about one of her other patients, Erin Brockovich-Ellis, during an appointment. Carla told her husband, producer Michael Shamberg.
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Albert Finney initially turned down the film. Danny DeVito had to convince Finney's girlfriend to convince the actor to change his mind, offering to schedule all of the actor's scenes as Ed Masry closer together so he wouldn't have to be in Los Angeles as long as earlier scheduled.
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Studio executives were worried that audiences would not forgive the title character's language. Most audience members at the test screenings for the film enjoyed themselves anyway.
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Together with his cinematographer Edward Lachman, Steven Soderbergh set out to shoot a major commercial film with an independent approach, filming it in a point-of-view manner. Shooting on location helped achieve a very naturalistic tone, and recruiting local extras from Hinkley who had been involved in the case added to the authenticity.
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This is the last of Steven Soderbergh's films to be shot by a cinematographer other than himself, in this case, Edward Lachman. All of his subsequent films and TV productions have been shot by him, using the pseudonym Peter Andrews.
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When Julia Roberts sent her then-boyfriend, Benjamin Bratt, pictures of her new décolletage, he responded, "You can't go out like that!"
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Steven Soderbergh's original cut of the film ran over 3 hours.
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Steven Soderbergh was attracted to Susannah Grant's script because of its linear approach, something that he had largely stayed away from in his own directorial choices.
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The burgundy t-shirt with gold lettering she wears that is cut off says "Oakton Cougars". The costumers found this t-shirt in a thrift store and bought it, then researched online where this school may be. Once they learned that it is a high school in Vienna, Virginia, they contacted the school to ask if they could use the t-shirt in the film.
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Had a budget of $52 million and grossed over $250 million at the box-office.
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The Office and House sets are in use at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura, CA.
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Coincidentally, six supporting players here went on to appear as regulars on highly successful TV series: Conchata Ferrell (Brenda) played Berta in Two and a Half Men (2003), Marg Helgenberger (Donna Jensen) played Catherine Willows in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000), Cherry Jones (Pamela Duncan) played President Allison Taylor in 24 (2001) Wade Williams (Ted Daniels) played Brad Bellick in Prison Break (2005), T.J. Thyne (David Foil) played Dr. Jack Hodgins in Bones (2005) and Valente Rodriguez (Donald) played Ernesto Cardenas in George Lopez (2002).
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A test screening audience member did take one issue with the film: "The first 99 times I saw her breasts were enough," he said of Julia Roberts.
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After the success of the movie about her, Erin Brockovich was the target of a blackmail attempt by her first husband and an old boyfriend (the 'George' biker character in the movie), with their attorney, who threatened to smear her reputation as a parent. She called the police, who recorded his shake down threats and arrested them. The attorney reportedly served time in prison as a result.
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Julia Roberts is one of two Best Actress winners to portray a right handed character (Erin Brockovich-Ellis) although the actress is naturally left handed. Two years later, left-hand Nicole Kidman won her Oscar for playing right-handed Virginia Woolf in The Hours (2002).
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When Erin is searching for Matthew and Katy, in the second house she goes to there is a poster on a bedroom wall for Jurassic Park, an earlier Universal Pictures release.
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Erin Brockovich (in real life) won the Miss Pacific Coast title, but soon gave up the beauty pageants because she found them "shallow".
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