Coyote Ugly

Coyote Ugly isn’t exactly a classic for the ages, but it has done a surprisingly good job of not being forgotten. 15 years on, people still have fond memories of watching Piper Perabo dance on bars, aided by the fact that the film still plays on cable TV from time to time.

But the movie almost turned out very differently. In a recent interview, director David McNally reveals that Jessica Simpson was up for the part that Perabo eventually won, and that Kevin Smith once submitted a much raunchier draft of the script. More about the Coyote Ugly Jessica Simpson and Kevin Smith trivia factoids below.

On the occasion of Coyote Ugly‘s 15th anniversary, THR took a look back at the making of the film. Among other things, they discovered that Simpson and singer-songwriter Jewel both vied for the lead role of Violet.

Casting the lead role of Violet was no easy task. “We did our due diligence and saw everybody,” McNally says. The director admits that Jessica Simpson was a “contender” for the role, with Perabo adding that Jewel was also up for the part. “Toward the end of the process, Piper walked in,” McNally explains. “She was actually from New Jersey and seemed to get it.” He adds that “everyone loved” her screen test and “that was the end of that.”

Perabo’s singing voice was eventually dubbed over by Leann Rimes (much to Perabo’s disappointment), which likely wouldn’t have happened if Jewel or Simpson had gotten the part. But it’s probably for the best that the film went with an actual actress, especially given how Simpson has fared in the films she has done.

Perhaps even more intriguing is the notion that Coyote Ugly almost had a script by Kevin Smith.

[Gina] Wendkos‘ script underwent a series of rewrites, with Kevin Smith stepping in to write a draft. McNally calls Smith’s effort “terrific” but “pretty raunchy” and ultimately “missing an emotional element to the relationship thing.” McNally credits Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can) as the writer who ultimately “brought the thing home.”

High on raunch and iffy on emotions? Yeah, that sounds like Smith. The filmmaker has actually spoken about his involvement in the film before. “[T]he only true line of mine that made it into the flick was ‘I’m not a lesbian. I played in the minors, but never went pro,'” he wrote in 2000, adding that “they kept scenes, scenarios, and set-pieces I wrote, but used someone else’s dialogue.”

Smith has also clarified that one stereotypically Smith-y detail in the film actually didn’t come from him at all:

For the record, a major plot-point which I had NOTHING TO DO WITH is something that most people are going to assume I wrote. The love interest of the main character is into comics, and ‘Amazing Spiderman’ #109 figures prominently (first appearance of the ‘Punisher’). I didn’t write any of that in; a writer who came after me did.

So perhaps in some alternate universe, people are marking the 15th anniversary of a Coyote Ugly that starred Jessica Simpson, featured Kevin Smith dialogue, and had nothing to do with Spider-Man comics. Do you suppose the film is more celebrated in that universe than it is in ours, or less?

For much more on the making of Coyote Ugly, including how Bridget Moynahan won her role, why Adam Garcia‘s dancing was a problem, and why Maria Bello thinks the film holds up, click over to THR. And maybe put Rimes’ earworm of a theme song on first to put yourself in the mood.

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