16 Things You Never Knew About 'That Thing You Do'
But even after two decades, that catchy hit song from The Oneders, er, The Wonders, is still stuck in our heads. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Tom Hanks' directorial debut, here are some interesting facts you might not know about this fan-favorite.
1. Though composed specifically for the film, the song "That Thing You Do" became quite popular in the real world. In 1996, It reached as high as #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts that year. It was also nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.
2. The song was written by Fountains of Wayne's bass player, Adam Schlesinger. He entered the contest that Hanks and the producers had, asking people to submit a Beatles-like tune called "That Thing You Do." Out of 300 entries, Schlesinger's was picked.
3. The song proved so catchy, that other bands released their own covers. Both NSYNC (really?!) and New Found Glory recorded their own takes on the retro-flavored song.
4. The band is purely fictional, obviously, but they are inspired by at least two others named "The Wonders" in the early 1960's. Their brief, localized success might have inspired the film; one had a radio hit in Iowa, and the other was popular in Ohio.
5. Though the film is set in Erie, PA, it wasn't filmed there. The exterior shots were actually filmed in Orange, CA, in the section of town named Old Town. The entire block was converted to look like Erie as it existed in the '60s.
6. Hanks wrote the script in 30 days, while on the press junket for a little movie called "Forrest Gump."
7. Most fans are probably aware that Tom Hanks wrote and directed "That Thing You Do," but did you know he also wrote some of the music? Hanks composed the opening song, "Lovin' You Lots and Lots" (which is credited to the fictional "Norm Wooster Singers" in the credits). He also wrote the drum solo, "I Am Spartacus."
8. No actual music from the 1960s was used in the film. (I know, right?!) Hanks avoided including any source music from the period, sticking to a soundtrack of original compositions. This was mainly because of the cost involved in licensing popular music, but also because Hanks had recently worked on the pop music-filled "Forrest Gump."9. Hanks cast several family members in small cameo roles. His daughter, Elizabeth, can be seen waiting in a dress shop. His son (and future movie star himself), Colin (above), is the usher escorting Liv Tyler's character, Faye. And Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson, played a cocktail waitress.10. Hanks also populated the film with three notable celebrity cameos: Chris Isaak plays Uncle Bob, who records the band's son on vinyl in a church. Director Paul Feig plays the eccentric DJ that plays the Wonders' tune. And the guy directing the beach movie above? Hanks' director from "Philadelphia," Jonathan Demme.
11. Even though the music was mostly re-recorded in post-production, Hanks insisted that all of the actors in the band learn how to play their respective instruments. That required weeks of intensive practice before filming actually began.
12.Fans curious about what became of The Oneders/Wonders after the events of the movie can turn to the soundtrack album for answers. The album's liner notes reveal that "That Thing You Do" wound up peaking at #2 on the Billboard charts, and that Mr. White eventually became president of the Playtone label.
13. Ethan Embry's bass player (above) is never actually referred to by name in the film. Even in the credits, he's simply named "T.B. Player."
14. Unsurprisingly, the film includes many nods to the hugely popular band The Beatles, whose rise to fame in the early '60s inspired the film's story. But perhaps the most interesting Beatles homage is that Hanks' character, Mr. White, is named after Andy White, a session drummer who filled in for Ringo Starr on the hit single "Love Me Do."
15. In an extended addition of the film, it is revealed that Mr. White has a boyfriend, played by Howie Long.
16. Here are some alternate names for the band: Mom's Hot Dish (a creation of actor Steve Zahn), The Lords of Erie, Jimmy in This and Jimmy in That, The Hanks, and Faye's Addiction.