Speed is one of the great ’90s action movies, a clean post-Die Hard action flick that elevated a preposterous (but compelling) premise with Keanu Reeves’ physical showmanship and Sandra Bullock’s considerable charisma. But that almost wasn’t the case. Stephen Baldwin actually turned down the role before it went to Reeves, and Bullock’s part was almost occupied by Ellen DeGeneres. Thank god they didn’t, though. As a new video from Art Of The Scene details, the likability of Reeves and Bullock helped sell viewers on the film’s gonzo centerpiece scene, in which a bus leaps over a missing chunk of interstate.
The video goes into great detail on how director Jan De Bont pulled the scene off, filming it from five different angles to stretch a .49-second jump into 11 seconds of screen-time. That might make the actual stunt seem somewhat puny, but seeing the unaltered footage is actually a little frightening. The filmmakers were concerned that it might shatter the stunt driver’s back, or that the camera rig could become dislodged and impale him. (It did not, for the record.)
The video’s full of little tidbits like this—including the fact that a young Joss Whedon was brought on to retool the script to Reeves’ liking—but, mostly, it deserves commendation for dispensing right away with whether or not the jump as portrayed in the movie is physically possible. Who cares when the result was so much fun?