A lot of Lost Boys and Girls have grown up and had kids of their own since the release of "Hook" 25 years ago this week, on December 11, 1991.

Steven Spielberg's "Peter Pan" sequel, a fable for adults disguised as a kid's movie, has scarcely left our consciousness since -- thanks to the director's overstuffed visuals and swashbuckling performances by Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams as the older Captain Hook and Peter Pan.

Still, as many times as you've revisited Spielberg's Neverland, there's plenty you may not know about "Hook," from its secret cameos to its Michael Jackson connection. (You knew there had to be one, right?)
1. Naturally, Spielberg had long been interested in making a "Peter Pan" movie. As far back as 1985, he already knew he wanted Hoffman as Hook. But then the director's first son, Max, was born. Echoing the theme of the film, Spielberg decided he'd rather spend time with his son than go off to London and make a movie with other people's kids. So he dropped out of the project.

2. During the time of Spielberg's initial interest, Michael Jackson was up for the part of Peter Pan. Years later, when Spielberg returned to the project, the king of Neverland Ranch again lobbied for the part. Spielberg explained to him that Peter was now an adult lawyer who'd forgotten he was ever Pan. The filmmaker told Entertainment Weekly that Jackson understood this was no longer a role he'd want, but Vanity Fair reported that the singer didn't take the news well and tried to wreak vengeance upon Spielberg via a deadly voodoo curse.
3. Had Jackson played Pan, the film would have been a musical. Indeed, Spielberg's usual composer, John Williams, composed eight songs for that version. Only two of them made it into the finished film: "We Don't Wanna Grow Up" and "When You're Alone."

4. The words came from Leslie Bricusse, the lyricist behind "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and many other stage and screen musicals.
5. Screenwriter Jim V. Hart credited his little boy with coming up with the film's basic premise: a Hook who'd escaped the crocodile, and a Peter Pan who'd grown up. "I realized that Peter did grow up, just like all of us baby boomers who are now in our forties," Hart told Spielberg biographer Joseph McBride. "I patterned him after several of my friends on Wall Street, where the pirates wear three-piece suits and ride in limos."

6. The production hired John Bradshaw, the then-popular psychologist who specialized in helping stressed-out adults find their inner children, as a story advisor.
7.Carrie Fisher, at the height of her script-doctoring career, did an uncredited rewrite of Hart's script to give Julia Roberts' Tinker Bell better dialogue.

8.Dodi Fayed, ill-fated future beau of Princess Diana, owned a piece of the "Pan" film rights. He sold them to the filmmakers in return for an executive producer credit.

9. Roberts did not wear a wig to play Tinker Bell. Instead, she dyed her famous tresses and cropped them short.
10. "Hook" is full of unusual cameos you might have missed. Fisher and her mentor, "Star Wars" creator and Spielberg's "Indiana Jones" collaborator George Lucas, are both in the film. (They're the couple kissing on the bridge who get fairy dust sprinkled over them.) That police detective is singer Phil Collins. And the pirates include singers David Crosby and Jimmy Buffett. And yes, that GIF above is indeed Glenn Close (in drag, rocking a beard).

11. One walk-on actor you might have recognized is Gwyneth Paltrow, making her screen debut at 19 as the young Wendy. She's also Spielberg's goddaughter, and he recalled to Entertainment Weekly that he suddenly realized she was right for the part one night in his car after the Spielbergs and the Paltrows were returning from a screening of "The Silence of the Lambs."
12. Thanks in part to the elaborate production design, "Hook" is one of the very few movies by the usually efficient director that went over schedule and over budget. Set to run 76 days, the shoot ran 116 days instead, and the cost, which started out at $48 million, ballooned to somewhere between $60 and $80 million.

13. Though considered a box office disappointment by Spielberg's usual standards, "Hook" did gross $120 million in North America and a total of $301 million worldwide. Outside of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films, it's the most lucrative pirate-themed movie ever made.
14. "Hook" earned five Oscar nominations: Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Makeup, and Best Song ("When You're Alone"). It was shut out in all categories.

15. Roberts was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress.
16. Two decades after releasing "Hook," Spielberg had mixed feelings about the movie.

"There are parts of 'Hook' I love. I'm really proud of my work right up through Peter being hauled off in the parachute out the window, heading for Neverland," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2011. "I'm a little less proud of the Neverland sequences, because I'm uncomfortable with that highly stylized world that today, of course, I would probably have done with live-action character work inside a completely digital set. But we didn't have the technology to do it then, and my imagination only went as far as building physical sets and trying to paint trees blue and red."

Hook Movie Poster
Hook
PG1991
Based on 19 critics

When his young children are abducted by his old nemesis, Capt. Hook (Dustin Hoffman), middle-aged lawyer... Read More

categories Movies