Pete Segal's Top 8 Spy Movie Inspirations for Get Smart
by Alex Billington
June 18, 2008
In honor of the upcoming release of Get Smart this weekend, director Pete Segal and I put together a short list of spy movie inspirations to get you in the mood for Agent 86's shenanigans. In my second interview with Segal a few weeks back, I decided to focus on his inspirations for the film and we were able to come up with a great list of films that inspired what you'll see in theaters. If you're looking forward to Get Smart, you might want to start here with this list. We all know that the original TV series was the basis for the film, but what other great spy movies had an influence on the action, the comedy, and the style in Get Smart? Here are Pete Segal's top 8 spy movie inspirations for Get Smart.
Some of these may bend the spy movie rule, but they all fall into a similar genre and their influence on Get Smart can certainly be seen in the film. I think it's great to see Segal working from so many great classics and it definitely pays off in the end when you see the film. Without further ado, let's begin!
Get Smart TV Series
Directed by: Mel Brooks / Buck Henry
Starring: Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, Edward Platt
It's not a movie, but it definitely is the biggest inspiration for the film (obviously) and should be mentioned. If you want to go back and see how it all began, then this is where you should start.
Pete Says: "I have to obviously start with the original series first, if people want to go back and refresh their memory on that."
The Spy Who Loved Me / Moonraker
Directed by: Lewis Gilbert
Released: 1977 / 1979
Starring: Roger Moore, Richard Kiel
Given Get Smart is in essence a comedic Bond, it's perfect to reference two of the best Bond movies. Both featured the iconic henchman Jaws who chased Bond all over the world.
Pete Says: "Obviously I loved Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me because Richard Kiel [who played Jaws] was such an iconic bad guy and that's exactly who I thought of obviously with Dalip Singh."
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, James Earl Jones
So this isn't really a spy movie, per se, but it definitely had an influence on everything from the military scenes in Get Smart to the action and comedy. Dr. Strangelove is undeniably a comedy classic and its inspirations in countless films are far and wide. Definitely a great point of reference for Segal and Get Smart. It's always a fun watch no matter how many times you've seen it and the perfect preface for the arrival of Get Smart this weekend.
The Bourne Trilogy
Directed by: Doug Liman / Paul Greengrass
Released: 2002 / 2004 / 2007
Starring: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles
Yet another great series of spy movies. We've all come to appreciate this trilogy and it's exciting to see a bit of that style show up in Get Smart as well.
Pete Says: "Just from a stylistic standpoint - the Bournes. We gave Max a little bit less of a bloody realism in the fights because we thought [it would] be hard to get people to laugh but Doug Coleman, who was our stunt coordinator, had done a lot of epic movies and he brought everything he had to it and I thought he did a great job."
Directed by: James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold
I'm also excited to hear that one of my personal favorite action flicks, True Lies, ended up inspiring Get Smart. This is such a fun action flick that features Schwarzenegger at his best. I can't say exactly how it inspired Get Smart, but it definitely played a part in inspiring Pete during the action scenes.
Pete Says: "I think Cameron is one of the great action directors of all time."
Directed by: Jon Amiel
Starring: Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ving Rhames
While not exactly the greatest movie, Entrapment definitely does inspire a particular laser scene in Get Smart.
Pete Says: "There was a homage to Entrapment, that was the closest to parody that we had come in this movie. Naked Gun is the king of parody, so we wanted to stay away from it, but because we had our own joke spin in that laser scene, I thought that was okay."
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey
It inspired a great scene in Edgar Wright's Hot Fuzz, now it makes its mark on Get Smart, too. It's crazy to see it come so far since '91.
Pete Says: "It was one of the best sky diving movie sequences and as a matter of fact the guys who photographed that in Florida worked on this. There are very few people who do that kind of stunt photography as their specialty and so we went to them and I pointed to his work saying 'I like that!'"
Directed by: Chuck Russell
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, Vanessa Williams
One of the most forgotten Schwarzenegger action films, Eraser definitely still holds its own and obviously had enough of an impact on Pete that he included it as inspiration. There were some great action scenes in it and the mid-air fight was certainly one of them. Eraser is a truly fun film to revisit before this weekend.
Pete Says: "To a degree there were elements of Eraser in there. That also was a great inspiration for elements of our mid-air fight."
We hope this list of spy movies helps get you in the mood for Get Smart this weekend. I can confirm that there are a lot of great inspirations in Get Smart and it's actually great to see them in there. Instead of complaining about originality, I'll say that Get Smart is a refreshing amalgamation of many great classic films that Pete Segal has wonderfully reimagined in a new light. Get Smart is not a rehash of any of these, but rather takes the best elements of each to make up a unique and wildly entertaining action comedy. Thanks to Pete Segal for helping put this list together. See you in theaters!