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The Greatest Showman Movie Poster

Trivia for The Greatest Showman

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  • Carey Mulligan and Ellen Page were originally considered for the role of Jenny Lind, but director Michael Gracey, instead, wanted Rebecca Ferguson for the role.
  • Hugh Jackman sang a preview of one of the musical numbers on his Hugh Jackman: Broadway to Oz tour.
  • This has been a dream project for Hugh Jackman since 2009.
  • This is Zac Efron's fifth musical along with the High School Musical trilogy and Hairspray (2007).
  • In January 2017, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that their doors were closing forever, due to decreased attendance and protests by animal rights activists. Their last shows were in May 2017.
  • This is Hugh Jackman's first musical since Les Misérables (2012).
  • Zac Efron and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II previously worked on Baywatch (2017). Michelle Williams debuted in Baywatch (1989).
  • Jenny Lind was written with Anne Hathaway in mind.
  • While shooting a scene where Hugh Jackman saves Zac Efron from a fire, forcing the set to be evacuated.
  • The Greatest Showman (2017) marks the directorial debut of Michael Gracey, after having spent twenty years as an animator, digital compositor, and visual effects supervisor.
  • Michael Gracey said the movie is similar to West Side Story (1961), Mary Poppins (1964), and The Sound of Music (1965).
  • This is the second movie for Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams since Deception (2008).
  • A well known musical based on P.T.'s life, "Barnum," starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close, was a fine hit on Broadway. With songs written by Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart, the show demands a tour-de-force performance from its star.
  • Zendaya did all of her own trapeze stunts in the film.
  • Although Rebecca Ferguson graduated from Adolf Fredrik's Music School in Stockholm in 1999, her performance as Jenny Lind will be her first appearance on film as a singer.
  • Rebecca Ferguson admitted in an interview that she was extremely nervous when she had to perform a song in the film because she had to sing in front of a full audience plus all the crew. She commented that it was Hugh Jackman and his encouraging response to her performance that really helped her at the time.
  • The Greatest Showman (2017) features eleven new songs written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the Academy Award winning lyricists of La La Land (2016). From early on in pre-production on the film, the decision was made to have the musical style to evoke more that of contemporary musical genres like pop and hip hop rather than that of a traditional, classical musical style that would accurately evoke the film's 1800s setting. As Pasek said, "The choice was to express not just the characters' feelings, but also how ahead of his time P.T. Barnum was. He wasn't bound by the world in which he lived; he wanted to create one."
  • Hugh Jackman read some three dozen books on PT Barnum to prepare for the title role.
  • Rebecca Ferguson's voice was dubbed by Loren Allred. Ferguson had studied music and admitted that she can carry a tune but since Jenny Lind, her character, is considered the best singer in the world, dubbing her voice would be in service of the movie. However, in order to get into the role, Ferguson insisted on singing the song in front of the extras while filming.
  • Hugh Jackman stated that this film was the hardest he prepared for compared to Logan.
  • Many of the costumes used in the ensemble circus scenes at the beginning and end of the film were borrowed from Feld Entertainment, the current owners of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and were used in productions of "The Greatest Show on Earth".
  • James Mangold was brought in by the studio to oversee a week of reshoots and post-production, because the studio were concerned that Michael Gracey would be overwhelmed by the scale of the production. Mangold was given an executive producer credit as a result.
  • Barnum's wife's family's name is "Hallett." This is pronounced the same way as "Howlett," which was the last name of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine character (James "Logan" Howlett) from the X-Men movies.
  • The young version of Hugh Jackman's character, P.T. Barnum, in The Greatest Showman is caught stealing a loaf of bread to feed himself. Hugh Jackman's character in Les Misérables, Jean Valjean, was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's children.
  • Hugh Jackman and Michael Gracey met on a commercial shoot. Jackman told Gracey he wanted to make a film with him, and Gracey thought he was joking. Jackman later called wanting him to direct 'The Greatest Showman'.
  • Barnum's American Museum was so popular that the crowds inside would linger much too long thereby cutting into profits. To make way for additional paying customers, he posted signs indicating "This Way to the Egress". Not knowing that "Egress" was another word for "Exit", people followed the signs to what they assumed was a fascinating exhibit - and ended up outside.
  • According to Jackman, the seven year development process was, in part, due to studios unwilling to take a risk on an original musical.
  • Hugh Jackman (P.T. Barnum), Keala Settle (Bearded Woman) and Will Swenson (Barnum's Father) were all in Les Miserables. Jackman played Jean Val Jean in the 2012 Les Miserables movie. Settle and Swenson were both in the 2014 Broadway revival of Les Miserables, portraying Madame Thenardier and Javert, respectively.
  • Both Hugh Jackman and Zach Efron have played characters with the name "Logan". Jackman in the X-men movies and Efron in The Lucky One (2012)
  • Zendaya and Zac Efron have worked with Disney.
  • Early in the film, young Barnum gets caught stealing a loaf of bread. The same thing happens to Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Both characters are played by Hugh Jackman.
  • Keala Settle and Will Swenson have both appeared in the Broadway musical Waitress.
  • Ziv Zaifman provides the singing voice for young P.T. Barnum for the song "A Million Dreams". It was Ziv's singing debut in a major motion picture.
  • Sam Humphrey, the 22 year old Australian actor who plays Tom Thumb in The Greatest Showman is 127cm or 4' 2" in real life. The real Tom Thumb never grew taller than 103cm and was adopted by P.T. Barnum at the age of 4 to join the Barnum Circus. Sam Humphrey had to walk on his knees in the movie, to make him look smaller. His real lower legs and feet were digitally edited out of the shots where they would have showed, but mostly he is filmed sitting or standing with his lower legs out of shot.
  • In real life, P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb met Queen Victoria, but the rest of Barnum's performers did not.
  • In the movie, Barnum starts a museum from scratch. In reality, he bought an already existing museum from a man named Scudder and improved it.
  • Two members of the original Broadway cast of the musical "Barnum" worked on Greatest Showman as background actors: Marianne Tatum played the original Jenny Lind, and Leonard Crofoot was the original Tom Thumb. The musical ran at the St. James Theatre from April 30, 1980 - May 16, 1982. Tatum and Crofoot stayed with the production for the entirety of its run. "Barnum" also starred Jim Dale as P.T. Barnum and Glenn Close as Chairy Barnum.
  • Rebecca Ferguson, the actress who played Jenny Lind, and the actual Jenny Lind were both born in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • During the scene where Barnum (Hugh Jackman) tries to persuade Carlyle (Zac Efron) to join his circus, Barnum says that Carlyle has a flair for show business. The scene originally ran longer, with Carlyle remarking that he doesn't know what 'show business' means, to which Barnum responds that it is because he just invented it. This line featured prominently in trailer, but was cut from the finished movie.
  • The large arched art nouveau stained glass window that is shown prominently above the entrance to the refurbished American Museum building is a replica of the large window above the main entrance to Flinders Street Railway Station, Melbourne Australia.
  • The headline of first newspaper review describes Barnum's show as a "Circus of Humbug". When he's given his top hat before the next show, someone had put a gold crown around the top hat which says "Prince Humbug" or "Prince of Humbug". The words gets mentioned another couple of times in the movie: when introducing Jenny Lind on stage in New York for the first time, Barnum says that people might dismiss the performance as "Barnum Humbug," and when he comes home part way through her tour, he tells his wife that he has come home because he misses her and their girls. She tells him that sounds "like humbug".
  • At one point, when the circus is struggling, Barnum's girls suggest him to get something fantastic, like "a unicorn or a mermaid". In reality, Barnum famously bought and exhibited the "Fidji Mermaid", a monkey carcass sewn to the body of a fish.
  • Among Barnum's "freaks", the film portrays two Asian conjoined twins. These are the real Chang and Eng Bunker, two brothers born in Siam, modern day Thailand, whose origin was the basis of the term "siamese twins". Chang and Eng retired after their life in Barnum's circus to North Carolina, got married and had 11 and 10 children respectively. However, they were broke after the American Civil War and went on touring again. They both died on 1874, Cheng from a brain blood clot and Feng from heart failure -or shock, the sources differ- merely three hours later.


  • In real life, P.T. Barnum dabbled in several industries before "show business", including the lottery business. In an early apartment scene, various old signs can be seen lying against a corner wall including one that says "Barnham Lottery" in large letters - a nod to his many colorful endeavors prior to becoming the greatest showman.
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