« (Almost). | Main | You look like a POW of the Italian Tuna. »

The world saw evil that day. Two men saw something else.

Zoolander, starring Hunter Morrow

[Trailer via Hillary, who saw plenty of facial hair.]


When I watched this preview earlier, the Zoolander billboard is the only thing I noticed.

That billboard was actually there. I have a picture of the same street from that day showing the same poster....

That's funny, because I remember seeing Zoolander billboards all over the place on the news reports that day too; billboards and on the sides of busses.

I remember Zoolander actually getting a lot of press being one of the first major studio release post 9-11. The press was asking the question along the lines of "are comedies appropriate any more after such a tragedy".

A link to The State of Movies After 9-11

Hey! What about the poster below it for that Keanu Reeves masterpiece, "Hardball"!?! Oh, you do not remember Hardball?


Hmmm... that building didn't open until 2002: http://www.hotelinteractive.com/index.asp?page_id=5000&article_id=1650

I doubt the facade of a building under construction looked that finished on 9/11/01.

Coincidence? OR CONSPIRACY?>???

Actually, I think Zoolander was the very first film to digitally remove the trade towers before it was released -- that's probably the news you remember about it.


Construction began on June 28, '00. Is that scoffolding around the lower half? Given some construction techniques it's plausable that the exterior could look that finished at 15 months.

When I saw it, I didn't even notice the plane shadow, I just saw the Zoolander billboard.

Release Date: September 28th, 2001

9/16/01 - Confirming recent online rumors, Variety reports that last-minute digital editing is being done to remove shots of the World Trade Center, following recent events.

Source: http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/preview/1808406687

I think it was a ZOOBOMB!

The billbaord for Hardball, which is another Paramount film, was definitely never there. Showtime owned that billboard space at the time.

I don't think there even was a billboard in the Zoolander space.

fyi sometimes studios have to digitally replace other companies films and/or products in trailers, for legal reasons. that might have happened in this case too. it won't exactly match reality, but it also won't cause problems for the studio.

I used to look out my window at that view everyday (including Sep 11). I lived directly across the street in the old Sussex House dorms, before the New York Times got them condemned (eminent domain) and leveled them....I don't ever remember that ZooLander ad (not to say it wasn't there, I just have zero recollection...).

If I recall correctly, there was an Internet.bomb billboard hanging there on Sep 11. It was for some medical advice website who's name escapes me at the moment. The logo was similar in color/style to that of Computer Associates. eMedical.com or something, I dunno, I'm pretty sure they're out of business. The ad was of surgeons looking down on someone (you were looking up from the patient's eyeball's perspective), and the text said "Oops". There were a lot of people in the hospital that day so I think it came down quickly as all people could think about was dying people.

I also think there may have been an ad that was of coincident bad taste in the parking lot in front of that view that came down in like day....it might have been an SUV ad with some weird reference...where's my photographic memory when I need it.

I do believe that Westin (SO UGLY) was complete at the base then, if I remember right they started pixelating it from the bottom up. Note the scaffolding. I don't remember that Zoolander billboard, but I do remember a lot of rotating Showtime billboards.

INTERESTING TRIVIA! On the corner, there's a giant Target lava lamp, like a giant piece of plastic with plastic lava around a plastic Target logo that moves around. I haven't been on that corner in a while but I assume it's still there. Anyway, on the 8th Ave side it used to have a big "I" and on the 42nd st side it has a giant "NY", all glittery. The idea was "I lava NY" (get it?). Except a few days after Sep 11 they took down the I and made it another NY. I'm guessing cuz people thought it said "I Target NY".

AHAAH! I remembered! Not a medical website...I now remember being confused because I had THOUGHT it was for a medical website - obviously poor advertising, and why they went out of business.

It was for eYada.com

Ok, here's a real picture. Sorry, I lost my original high res copy. I'm not sure when around Sep 11 this was taken...but as you can see, the view in the trailer is a complete fraud:

Fantastic work there, JE.

And everyone, really. Who knew there was so much fun packed into a single frame? Each and every one of you is my fact-checkin' cuz!

Thanks, np...oh and I'm 80% sure that Reuters sign wasn't up there either.

Jedman's picture is of the wrong location. The shot in the film is taken from the steps of the Port Authority Bus Terminal (see a few frames before the shadow falls on the building) and islooking across the street. Jedman's picture is one or two blocks over.

Also for what it's worth I have some shots taken right after Sept 11th also with Zoolander billboards/bus ads in them... Mine were mainly taken in Soho & the village.

I thought ZOOLANDER was a pretty funny comedy -- it just happened to be released at the worst possible moment in history.

Basically, it was a 90s film. And the 1990s officially ended on 9/11. Unlucky timing. (Quick: which other films were released in September 2001?)

Whether Zoolander was or wasn't in that exact location, I remember the campaign distinctly on buses and billboards in that exact time frame, because I'm an advertising creative director and I had a different bus board and outdoor campaign running in the city at the same time, so I was noticing this stuff on the news (while I was in LA.) In fact, I remember watching a heartbreaking story on the news about someone scouring NY for their loved one right after 9/11, putting flyers all over the city, and in the background of the news report, a bus went by with my creative running on it. As a shallow asshole, I had to say, "Hey! There's my ad!"

OK I give. What is the evil arrow pointing to?

salbot, it is the same identical location. Notice the Duane Reade in the upper left. The Port Authority is directly south of that Duane Reade, or directly to my left. The Port Authority sits half between 40th-41st, and the 2nd half 41st-42nd. 41st street runs through the middle (and there's a skyway over top). The bar at the back end of port authority on 41st was called Tobacco Road (it closed) back then. It used to be you could drive right through there - after Sep 11, they closed off through-traffic on 41st. My view is overlooking the parking lot on 8th ave between 41st/42nd, which is opposite the 41st/42nd half of port authority. That parking lot was closed the same time we were condemned, and I'm not sure what they're building there today. I'm on the 40th/41st half, on the opposite side of 8th ave from the Port Authority, overlooking the parking lot, looking directly at the Westin. And the Chevy's. And you can see the old blue stand that used to sell bootleg videos (last I saw it was just a normal news stand) on the corner there just to the left of the billboard in the parking lot.

Trust me, it's the right shot.

In Times Square (IIRC) on the morning of 9/13/01, there was an immense billboard with the words:

(No, it's not the World Trade Center.)

The Hallmark Channel"

Two hours later it was down. But I have photos...

ajay, post it on flickr! Also, (too bad it's not in the trailer shot...), on the north east corner of the Port Authority, facing the Westin, there was a crappy smallish-jumbotron type screen. Maybe a delta air advertisement? Along it's top it had the New York skyline w/wtc lit up....that went dark and stayed dark for a long time, I think there's a new one there now...

Here's a funny one...just north of all this on the west side of 8th ave, is the famous Playpen...you know...with the booths. Forever, they had a giant, neon, red, naked female on either side of their sign, for all to see. They had cleaned this up sometime shortly before sep 11, with of course, a big neon skyline, featuring a prominent wtc on it. I believe that is still up today.

I cannot believe this incredibly stupid discussion of whether this billboard / building were there or not! This movie is not a documentary! It was shot this past year! This whole scene is fake. It's a movie! You poor saps probably believe ET is real!

Wasn't "Glitter" another September movie?

re: Glitter, fact-checkin' cuz says: indeed. Release date was 9/21/01.

they tried to attribute the poor box office to post-9/11 trauma, but let's face it, "Glitter" blew.

Don't forget Donnie Darko!!

Jedman's picture is wrong. Where is the Loews theater? Where is the bldg with the clock.

Manny, Salbot,

Do you work for the team who generated that image in the trailer? Are you trying to cast doubt for an alterior motive? (cuz the other answer is you're just stupid, derp)

Loews Cineplex
247 W 42nd St

Chevys Fresh Mex
259 W 42nd St

Here's a pic (not mine), that should clarify everything for you.

Here's a diagram of the "e-walk" (get it? pages 3 and 4):

Yoshinoya had not opened yet.

My shot is facing NORTH WEST. The trailer shot is facing NORTH EAST. The Loews is to the immediate right of my shot, since my shot chops off at the end of the Soul Food billboard.

Here's a small pic of the left side of "I Target NY" I mentioned above, to complete it (exciting!)

Cripes people, I LIVED THERE. Now, Can we start talking about Aaliyah or something?


Don't be surprised. Talking about advertisements is nice and safe, and distracts the feeble-minded from dealing with the harsh reality of what happened that day. These people discuss the presence of an advertisement because they can't deal with what happened.

To mns, Jackson...there's a lot of history that could be lost from that day, when movies open that distort what the world was really like. It makes me happy to share photos that show what New York was really like at the time - I even saved the newspapers. I'm not sure where you were living at the time, but please don't diminish how we felt and still feel, those of us who lived in the middle of it. I may have lived in dorms, but I was an intern in finance at the time...

Thanks x amount for fixing that!

One more thing (gee, this became my latest obsession)...if you look in that tiny cityguide pic, you can squint and see the Reuters sign indeed had not gone up yet.

Ben Stiller was a guest on Dennis Miller's HBO show not long after the attacks. He mentions seeing news footage of a city bus, Zoolander ads hung on the side, crushed under debris next to dozens of emergency vehicles.

remember in zoolander when he makes those funny faces. that was awesome.

The good Dr. Red Duke is referring to facial contortions such as the runway-ready "Blue Steel". This is indeed awesome.

Also - re: super-commenter JE's mention of Donnie Darko, while that film did not start its extremely-limited theatrical run until 10/26/01, it was certainly a film that was completely derailed by 9/11, any buzz generated by Sundance and festival screenings evaporated by M. Ata & Co. I think it's safe to say that if a mysterious plane crash + end-of-the-worldishness is at the core of your little indie with a then-unknown lead, you kinda had the worst release window of all-time. Though it worked out in the end -- DVD fave, re-release, cult classic, etc.

Little-known fact: most of the 9/11 terrorists were deeply committed to Sparkle Motion.

I for one remember very distinctly after 9/11, Zoolander was the first movie I saw. Me and all of my supercool friends. It was a stand for American Freedom. Anyone who knows me, knows I stand for that first and foremost! I also stand for iced coffee drinks.

To JE: I lost four friends that day, and one uncle. Taking pictures of what things were like that day doesn't disturb me in the least. However, WHO CARES IF THERE WAS A ZOOLANDER POSTER UP? Is it shocking that there was a movie poster up? Are there not movie posters up right now? Were there not movie posters up on September 10th? Did you expect they'd take them down as soon as the WTC was hit?

My point is that a discussion this lengthy about a friggin' Zoolander billboard is retarded, and smacks of some serious avoidance problems. Don't try to distort the matter by pulling Regionalism on me. I lost people I love. That's why I find this entire post obnoxiously retarded. Get it? Good.

To mns: Surely all of this pictoral-historical research is FAR less "obnoxiously retarded" than Nic Cage's New Yawk accent in the trailer itself. If this discussion is avoiding anything, it's that the film looks horrendous.

I agree, the film does look horrendous, and Cage's accent is awful, as well. Then again, I can't stand Oliver Stone, so maybe I'm biased.

mns: the point is not about a Zoolander poster (ps, this ain't my blog). Now why have you gotten nasty about it?

If Paramount is willing to gratuitously plug themselves in a short trailer, instead of getting it right, with their property plastered on a building that was not even built yet, what are we looking forward to in a full length feature? Was the film shot in Toronto? The shadow of a plane on the building was clearly meant to manipulatively provoke emotion. Obviously, it worked, albeit the wrong way. Was this the fault of a hack location scout? Hack computer graphics guy? Who knows.

Why do you list your webpage as "xenisucks.com"? I take that as a reference to Xeni Jardin, who linked to this on Boing Boing.

Clearly, you have a vested interest in this.

Now, if you think that one kid who lived across the street noticed how innacurate the trailer is, just wait till the movie comes out. This is a touchy subject, you should know that. Whatever damage you think has been done to you is already done, via here/Boing boing/Defamer/aintitcool. Who knows how many sites linked that I don't even read.

What is wrong with you? Please stop putting us down.

Here's the aintitcool post I was referring to, which sums it up nicely (my respect to the author):

And anyone notice the ZOOLANDER billboard?

Perhaps they were going for ultra-realisim and that was, in fact, the billboard on that street corner when the planes shadow passed over... But if not, then it feels odd that Paramount is, in essence, plugging one of there own movies. I know, dumb observation, but it caught my eye...

Posters for Schwarzenegger's soon-to-be-released "Collateral Damage" were up at the time (I remember there being a big billboard downtown) but that would be too on-the-nose symbolic for the movie. (After 9/11 "Collateral Damage's" release was pushed back.)

I liked Blue Steel, but I thought Magnum was the better look, all in all.

JE: Occam's Razor applies here; Stone doesn't make documentaries, and this isn't a documentary. As for why Paramount would "gratuitously plug themselves", perhaps it isn't a plug so much as a timely reference that they happened to have access to the intellectual property rights for? Say, for instance, the actual poster had been for some movie made by Columbia Pictures. First, I highly doubt Stone, or anyone working for Stone, in the process of making WTC, gave much thought to what billboard would be portrayed in the shot, but if they *did*, it would have been a lot simpler and easier for them to pull up a film that may have been promoted in NYC on that day; that way, they don't have to call legal, have legal call the company who *did* have a billboard up there, negotiate a price to use a similar billboard in the shot, reconstruct it, then film it. Motion picture companies are already shelling out who knows how much to make this piece of crap (IMHO) in the first place, they're going to cut whatever corners they can, and using a Zoolander billboard saves them two or three thousand bucks that they can then blow on catering or promotion once the film is done.

I've not gotten nasty about it, I just voiced my opinion. Believe me, there's a difference. And as for why I link to xenisucks.com, that'd be because it's a blog I run.

What I don't get is why anyone would be the least bit surprised that Stone is going to take liberties with history in *any* story he tells. I mean, the dude's been doing it since he started making "historical" films. He can't help himself. It's damn near compulsive. For those that like his movies, they maintain a suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy them. Those that don't, don't bother seeing them. But the pedantry over whether there was or was not a Zoolander billboard up in a half-second trailer for what will no doubt be a three hour film? I can't bring myself to care.

My apologies if you felt "put down", but seriously, in my opinion (since I'm the only person who I feel comfortable expressing an opinion for), this whole discussion is a waste of everyone's time. Then again, it's America, where everyone has the right to spend their time getting worked up about whatever they want. I just don't get it, is all.

I'm not going to get into this any further. A better representation for the time would have been the dot-com wonderland that the corner was, rather than Paramount doing a hack job plugging their own films. I agree with you one on point, obviously when making the trailer "no one cared". You are hung up on timely films ads, fine, check out the Spiderman posters and trailer at the time, far more relevant.

You did get nasty about it - I took umbrage with someone (you probably?) who said people talking about this can't deal with reality...in which you responded with "regionalism" and started counting deaths.

You're going to find that those people's reactions who physically saw that shadow of the plane (or the plane itself) in person will differ from everyone else's view of that trailer, when they are forced into watching it, when they went to see another film. You should not be surprised the critique that single shot is getting, they chose to play with fire when they started producing it - stop being so defensive about it.

Well I'm glad you've clarified - let's all welcome with open arms hollywood's artistic interpretations of the day! Here's my $10.50!

You have spent way too much time trying to obscure this to not have an interest - the majority of my time I was proving idiots wrong about my picture for my own self-respect. I'm done.

Ha ha:

"And as for why I link to xenisucks.com, that'd be because it's a blog I run."

So this whole discussion is a "waste of time", unlike, say, a website dedicated to "the Lameness of 'blogger' and 'journalist', 'Xeni Jardin'"?!

A more practical problem is this: That view faces north. That shadow seems to cast by a plane flying north, with the sun to the west. Of course, the plane was actually flying south, with the sun to the east.

Furthermore, this is miles from Ground Zero. The plane is too low for that area- in fact, I don't think it ever got that low.

Of course, the billboards are necessary for the scene, right? I mean, without them, the movie wouldn't make any sense! My point is, they got a great shot in of one of their own movies (make that two, thanks for pointing out Keanu's 'Hardball' earlier.) And for something that was supposed to inspire a gut-dropping sigh (the shadow gliding across the building, it sure takes second stage to that big honkin' print they used for "ZOOlander."

It's also a little crappy they hired Nicolas Cage for this. They shouldn't have hired any well-knowns that'll overshadow the story. But then, I'm kidding myself if I think they're just in it for the story, not the revenue.

they were getting ready to put the comcast advertisment up

Post a comment

If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.