Bowfinger True Story Explained: How Much Is Real? | Screen Rant

Comedic actors Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy star in one of Frank Oz's most underrated satire films Bowfinger, and the movie's ridiculous events are actually based on truth. There are a ton of scenes in Bowfinger that bring reality into question, making viewers skeptical of the fact that the movie is based on anything remotely real. It doesn't seem like there's a Hollywood producer out there desperate enough to go to the lengths Bobby Bowfinger does in order to make a picture. He goes over the border to recruit a camera crew. He follows Kit Ramsey around feeding him lines and filming candid responses. He even goes so far as to exploit Kit's mental health, making him genuinely believe that aliens are after him. While some of the smaller details come from the brilliant mind of Steve Martin, the overall story is too crazy to not be true.

Eddie Murphy stars as both Kit and Jiff Ramsey, while Steve Martin takes on the lead role as Bobby Bowfinger. Heather Graham also appears as aspiring actress Daisy, a girl who will do anything to get the part. Bowfinger is a down-on-his-luck B-movie producer who has raised enough money to make his own film ($2,184, to be exact). Universal executive Jerry Renfro (Robert Downey Jr.) promises that the studio will distribute the movie if Bowfinger can get A-lister Kit Ramsey to sign on. Ramsey refuses, so Bowfinger takes a different approach. He begins to film the movie without Ramsey's knowledge, having crew members say lines and filming the actor's responses. All goes well until the actor starts to believe that aliens are following him. Out of desperation, Bowfinger hires Jiff Ramsey, who turns out to be Kit's nerdy brother.

Related: Eddie Murphy Can Now Be Amazon's Answer To Adam Sandler

Star Wars' Yoda puppeteer Frank Oz and Steve Martin based Bowfinger's story on a real event that happened to legendary film star Mary Pickford. According to IMDB, a Russian filmmaker followed the actress around while she was vacationing there. Apparently, the director filmed candid footage of Pickford, unbeknownst to her, and put together an entire movie around it. This sold the idea that the famous American actress was starring in a Russian movie, which was beneficial to the budding USSR film industry. While the finer details of Bowfinger are different than the Russian film Potseluy Meri Pikford, the overall idea is exactly the same. The rumor was well known amongst Hollywood. Steve Martin must've thought the implications of such a story could have a hilarious outcome - and he was right.

There are plenty other comedy films that are based on a true story, such as Battle of the Sexes50 First Dates, and The Big SickWhile the rumor of Pickford's voyeuristic film ran rampant for a time, the story of Potseluy Meri Pikford has been updated. Though not as interesting as the rumor, another tale behind the film is that Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks knowingly made cameos in the movie. The reasoning behind their appearances was to show support for the new USSR film movement. It must've not worked very well for director Sergey Komarov, as he only directed one other movie after (though his acting career took off). Bowfinger isn't based on this rendition, and obviously for good reason. 

Beverly Hills Cop star Eddie Murphy brings his comedic A-game to the screen, using one of his main bits by playing both Kit and Jiff Ramsey. Steve Martin tackles the ridiculously ambitious Bobby Bowfinger with full force as he tries to bring his secret movie to fruition. All in all, Bowfinger is an underrated satire semi-based on reality that pokes fun at movies and the Hollywood industry as a whole.

Next: Why Steve Martin Stopped Acting (And Why He's Back)

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