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13 Shocking Behind-the-Scenes Facts About ‘Overboard’ 1987

Billy was almost played by who?! 


When it comes to 1980’s rom-coms, one film continues to reign supreme. Known for its fun yet slightly ridiculous plot, Overboard was first released to theaters in 1987. It follows Joanna (Goldie Hawn), a rude rich woman who falls off a boat, gets amnesia and ends up falling in love with a single father named Dean (Kurt Russell), who in turn convinces her she is the mother of his four kids. But it turns out the laughter and drama didn’t end when the cameras stopped rolling, and we’ve uncovered the 13 best and most surprising facts about Overboard

MUST READ: Cast of the Original ‘Overboard’ Then and Now: See Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell and More 

1. It was the third movie real-life couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell starred in together

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987) (Facts about overboard)
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987)

Longtime partners Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are best known for their team-up in Overboard, but they actually starred in the 1984 movie Swing Shift and, long before that, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968).

After Overboard, the two starred in The Christmas Chronicles (2018) and The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (2020). 

MUST READ: Goldie Hawn Young: Incredible Retro Photos That You Have to See To Believe

2. There was a reference to another Kurt Russell movie in the film: Facts About Overboard

Kurt Russell  (1987)

A year before Overboard was released, Russel starred in The Best of Times (1986). His character is married to Gigi and dates a football played known as “Dr. Death.”

In Overboard, the letters “G.G” are spray painted on the boys’ clubhouse, and they say “Dr. Death” is coming to rescue their mother, both in reference to The Best of Times. 

MUST READKurt Russell Has the Same Hunky Charm He Did in the 70s and 80s — Check Out His Best Movies & TV Shows Over the Years

3. Malcolm McDowell was referenced

Roddy McDowall and Goldie Hawn (1987) (Facts about overboard)
Roddy McDowall and Goldie Hawn (1987)

As a tribute to actor Malcolm McDowell, the crew of Overboard added in a scarecrow that had a star-shaped patch on his right eye. This was a reference to the right eye makeup of the lead character Alex in A Clockwork Orange (1971) McDowell played. 

4. Dean’s truck was used in another film: Facts About Overboard

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987)
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987)

In Overboard, Dean drives an old Dodge pickup, which was later used in the opening scene of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), which starred actor Chevy Chase. Coincidentally, Hawn starred alongside Chase in the 1978 movie Foul Play. Obviously this is six degrees of … something.

MUST READ: ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ Cast, Then and Now

5. One actor starred in all of Garry Marshall’s films

Hector Elizondo (1997) (Facts about overboard)
Hector Elizondo (1997) Frank Trapper / Contributor/Getty

Actor Hector Elizondo and director Garry Marshall were very close friends in real life. As a result, Elizondo starred in all 18 of Marshall’s films. 

6. Hawn and Russell’s kids were always on set: Facts About Overboard

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987)
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987)

While filming Overboard, Hawn and Russell had young kids of their own and would often bring them to set. In fact, their youngest, actor Wyatt Russell, took his first steps on the sound stage. 

Their most famous kids are Kate Hudson and Oliver Hudson, both of whom went into show business as well. 

7. There was also a reference to two other Hawn films

Goldie Hawn (1987)
Goldie Hawn (1987)

In the scene where Dean is reminding Joanna how they met, he tells her they used to hang out at Hank’s Donut World while she was in the Navy. This is a reference to Private Benjamin (1980), in which Hawn played Judy Benjamin, a high-strung lady who joined the Army.  

There was also a reference to the 1971 film $. In Overboard, Hawn’s character Joanna says “Burn, Baby, burn!” and Hawn’s character in $, Dawn Divine, says the exact same thing. 

8. Pee Wee Herman had a lot of mentions: Facts About Overboard

Brian Price, Jared Rushton and Goldie Hawn (1987) (Facts about overboard)
Brian Price, Jared Rushton and Goldie Hawn (1987)

The fictional character Pee-Wee Herman (played by Paul Reubens) first appeared on screen in 1981. In this film, John has an obsession with Pee-Wee and, as a result, we see a t-shirt with Pee-Wee’s face on it when Joanna is waking the boys up for school.

There is also a reference to the 1985 film Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure when Grant is listening to the song “Tequila,” by The Champs, which was played when Pee Wee danced around the biker bar. The last reference is Captain Karl, the yacht captain. Captain Carl (different spelling, but the same character) was featured on the TV series Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. These can also be spotted throughout the film. 

9. Overboard is based on two different films 

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987)
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987)

While the idea of Overboard might seem original, it was actually loosely based on the 1958 comedy Houseboat and heavily influenced by a 1974 Italian movie called Swept Away

10. Various family members made cameos: Facts About Overboard

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987) (Facts about overboard)
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987)

Throughout filming, many cast and crew members had family members make small cameo appearances. Director Garry Marshall’s son, Scott , plays the Coast Guard spotter. Kurt Russell’s father, Bing Russell, also makes an appearance as the Sheriff. 

11. A lot of the lines were improvised 

Garry Marshall, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987) (Facts about overboard)
Garry Marshall, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (1987)

Director Garry Marshall thought the cast was funny enough on their own, so he let them improvise a lot on set, leading to Joey talking in Pee-Wee Herman’s voice. Apparently Kurt Russell was the best at it, though, and this led to some of the movie’s funniest moments and lines. 

12. It was remade in 2018: Facts About Overboard

Eungeino Derbez and Anna Faris (2018) (Facts about overboard)
Eungeino Derbez and Anna Faris (2018)

The original film became such a cult classic that Hollywood decided to remake it in 2018. While it has the same premise, the roles are reversed. A wealthy man falls down off a boat and loses his memory, so a single mom takes him in with nothing but revenge on her mind for the way he treated her. It stars Eugenio Derbez , Anna Faris and Eva Longoria.

13. Some of the stars weren’t the production’s first choice 

Mike Hagerty (2006)
Mike Hagerty (2006) Rebecca Sapp / Contributor/Getty

When it was time to cast the film, actor John Candy was considered for the role of Billy. However, he was working on Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) at the time, so the role went to Mike Hagerty instead.  

For all things 1980’s, click here!

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