Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
June 13, 2013

Denice: I have the rights to Gone in 60 Seconds and Eleanor for both the original and remake. My dream was to finish what Toby started by completing Gone in 60 Seconds 2, which had a separate copyright. So for five years, whenever I talked to attorneys, my theme was to finish 1989's Gone in 60 Seconds 2. Then I met Michael Lynton, who was president of Hollywood Pictures, which was under Disney. He was a huge fan of Gone in 60 Seconds. So he tracked me down to talk about doing a remake of the 1974 Gone in 60 Seconds and I agreed. We started filming the remake in 1999 and I was on the set for long hours, which was a great joy. On the 10th anniversary of Toby's death, on August 20, 1999, Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Eleanor, and I were on the set filming the remake. E! Entertainment came out to do interviews with each of us. They allowed me to use my interview on the DVD.

MM: We heard a story about taking the original Eleanor to the set for the remake.

Denice: Michael helped me get Eleanor up and running. We brought her on the set during the filming of the remake. Nicolas Cage and Jerry Bruckheimer are huge car guys. Nic unveiled the original Eleanor on the set and the stunt men drove around in the two Eleanors.

MM: Who decided to use a modified Shelby for the remake?

Denice: Actually, she's not a Shelby. Eleanor was a regular '67 Mustang that was customized in-house by the studio specifically for the Gone in 60 Seconds remake. Eleanor was created as a fastback Mustang but dolled up with things that had never been done before for her one-of-a-kind look.

Michael: At the last minute, somebody stuck a GT 500 sticker on it and Denice had to go through that whole court case stuff. That was a terrible time for Denice because she had to take Shelby to court. Denice is the only one who has legal right to authorize or license "Eleanor" for automobiles and merchandise.

The power pole accident was really an accident that was left in the film. Coming off the freeway, Halicki changed lanes too soon, tapping another car with the rear of Eleanor and sending the Mustang spinning into the pole. After repairs, Eleanor continued leading the chase.

Denice: I never met Shelby until after the movie was out. Lee Iacocca introduced me to him. What was so hard for me was that I had gone through so much in the probate courts to protect the rights to be able to make the remake movie and have Eleanor reprise her leading lady role, so when I found out people were infringing, it was like, "Are you kidding? After all I've been through?"

MM: What do you think Toby would have thought about the remake?

Denice: I think he would have been right in the middle of it. It was quite an honor to have Jerry Bruckheimer as producer—he is his own set of genius. He's also is a big car collector. So is Nicolas Cage. And gorgeous Angelina loves cars. So we had the best of the best involved. I consider it such an honor everyone who was part of the Gone in 60 Seconds remake made this dream come true.

MM: How did the idea for the DVD/Blue Ray package come about?

Michael: Denice did it. We came out as an independent in Walmart, Best Buy, etc., because Denice wanted to do it that way, independently. The film held up. When you do it in Blu-Ray, it's restored amazingly. The cars look brand-new. As old as that film is, it's still pretty good in HD. It makes it look as though Toby just shot the film yesterday. We didn't change anything, but we went out of our way to enhance it with today's technology.

MM: It was fun watching the movie again, especially with the cameraman commentary. The chase is such an iconic scene.

Denice: Right before the 40-minute chase, Toby says one line and then lets Eleanor do the rest of the speaking for him. That's why she's the star. That little Mustang, you were not going to stop her.

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Eleanor Side Stories

Halicki compressed his spine when performing the movie's chase-ending jump. He walked with a limp afterwards.

For the scene at the Cadillac dealership, Halicki used two of his own cars for the crash into the row of Cadillacs out front. He placed oil under the tires of his cars to help them slide for a more dramatic crash. The trick worked too well; Halicki's cars slid into new Cadillacs that were for sale. Halicki had to purchase the damaged cars from the dealership.

Toby's friend, J.C. Agajanian, was an extra in many of the scenes. He was almost hit by a sliding car in the Cadillac dealer scene.

Many of the 93 cars were reused again by positioning them so the previous damage could not be seen.

Some of the freeway scenes were filmed in actual LA traffic. Halicki would mount a camera in Eleanor and take off to grab some footage.

The wedding sequence at the beginning of the movie was shot in New York with Halicki's family.

In the scene where the garbage truck rolls over on a Dodge Charger, a cable was used to make sure the stunt worked. You can actually see the cable in the fillm. Halicki had purchased an old garbage truck for the stunt.

Halicki practiced the final jump at Ascot Raceway. However, the actual jump was on a downhill angle and Halicki ended up going faster than planned, so Eleanor almost landed on her nose.

Dominic Sena worked with Toby Halicki as a cameraman for his second movie, The Junkman. Coincidentally, Sena was the director of the remake in 2000.