Posted by: Jerry Garrett | June 21, 2010

Ten Secrets of the Knight and Day Movie

1. The 2010 movie “Knight and Day”, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, had an original working title of “Wichita” (and, later, “Trouble Man”). Why Wichita?

The movie presumably starts in Wichita, Kansas, where June Havens, the tomboy auto restorer Ms. Diaz portrays, is on her way home to Boston with a rolling suitcase full of rare engine parts for a 1966 Pontiac GTO.

Why was she in Wichita? Because several major auto recyclers and classic car parts specialists operate out of there; it’s a logical place to look for those increasingly hard-to-find parts for historic Pontiacs. Wichita also has a large, active GTO owners club, and is in fact host of the 2010 GTO Association of America’s 31st annual national convention (June 30-July 4). Trivia tidbit: The whole movie, in fact, is something of a paean to Pontiacs.

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas…” …because we’re not. Funny thing, the filmmakers never shot a single frame in Wichita or any other part of Kansas. The airport scenes? Boston’s Logan and a regional airport in Worcester, Mass. Disappointed? Really, is one airport any different than another these days?

Getaway car (Courtesy: Fox)

2. “Wa, wa, Little GTO” Yes, the Pontiac GTO in the movie is a direct descendant of the model immortalized in the 1964 song by Ronny and the Daytonas, a faux “surf band”. (They were actually from Nashville, Tenn.) Remember the lyrics? “Little GTO, you’re really lookin’ fine. Three deuces and a 4-speed, and a 389…” There is some debate about the year of the car in the movie. Mr. Cruise has said in interviews it was a ’65. But picture car coordinator Gary Duncan, of LongShadow Productions, corrected me when I asked him to confirm that: “The GTO is a 1966, numbers matching.” Hmmm. Wasn’t the movie car Capri Gold with a gold interior, that was only offered in ’65? No. “Color code for the 1966 GTO is T,” Mr. Duncan continued. “The color Martinique Bronze. The interior code is #224. The color is Parchment.” The movie’s GTO, owned by a private collector, he added, “is preserved as ordered new in 1966.”

Actually, there appear to have been two ’66 GTOs used in the movie – one for the night time stunts, the other for scenes in Ms. Diaz’ garage, and on the beach at the movie’s end. The stunt car was something of a junkyard dog, assembled by the production crew (see in comments below), and painted to resemble a Martinique Bronze GTO. But the paint came out looking more like Capri Gold – no wonder it was so confusing in this movie (This car may have subsequently been used in the movies “Faster” and “Drive”). The gold paint showed up better in night shots; the interior of that car was also cobbled together, and different from the correct interior in the beach scene GTO. That perfect GTO was rented for a week’s worth of final shooting in January 2010.

Anyway, there’s no confusion about the Tri-Power carburetor option that Ms. Diaz refers to in the script; it’s the real deal for GTO lovers, and highly valued by collectors; it raised horsepower output to 360 @ 5,200 r.p.m.

(The rest of the song’s words? Mostly “Wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa…” Try getting that out of your head, once you start.)

What was the significance, if any, of the 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix owned by the guy who played Mr. Cruise’s father in the movie? In Pontiac history, that was a significant year in the ultimately long-running Grand Prix line, as it was advertised as “the most perfect Pontiac” ever. It offered a Quadrajet carburetor system instead of the elegantly engineered TriPower (which was now discontinued), hideaway headlights, turn signals and wipers, and for ’67 only – a convertible. The popularity of larger Pontiacs, such as the gargantuan Grand Prix, probably heralded the demise of the little GTO and hastened its 1968 reincarnation as a much brawnier muscle car. (For more on the movie’s 1966 Pontiac GTO, see my New York Times article.)

3. “Take her out to Pomona…” Yes, that really was Ms. Diaz behind the wheel, doing some of her own stunt driving.  Mr. Duncan and Gregg Smrz, the stunt coordinator, coached her how to do 180s (which basically involves yanking on the handle controlling the rear brakes, and cranking the steering wheel all the way in the opposite direction of which way you want the car’s rear end to twirl around), and she reportedly pulled off the stunt with a minimum of takes. (The GTO was not damaged in any of the stunts, Mr. Duncan emphasized.)

Knight Riders

4.  “Cruise Control” Mr. Cruise is a noted motorcycle enthusiast, collector and a devotee of ultra-expensive Italian-made Ducati motorcycles.

He’s been to the factory in Bologna, Italy, and in 2008 he was the first to take delivery of a then-new Desmosedici RR.

In the movie that really is Cruise stunt-riding – on what appears to be new Ducati, the just-released Hypermotard. Actually, it is an Aprilia SVX disguised as the Hypermotard. Why the subterfuge? The lighter Aprilia was needed for the 100-foot jump (by a stuntman) through an archway. Still, Mr. Cruise performed many of the lesser stunts with the bike.

“If he wasn’t Tom Cruise, the movie star, he would be the best stuntman in the business,” Ms. Diaz told reporters. “He’s phenomenal. What he does is, like, crazy.” (Ironically, Mr. Cruise was slightly injured in March 2010, before shooting for the movie wrapped, when an SUV crashed into his Ducati on a Los Angeles street.)

Cruise: Riding into the "danger zone" since 1986's "Top Gun"

5. The movie’s biggest chase scene was filmed mostly in Seville, Spain, near Seville’s spectacular Cathedral at Plaza Virgen de los Reyes. What were those cars pursuing Mr. Cruise? A BMW Z4 was the lead pursuer, followed by several Smart Roadsters. Of course, there was also a motley collection of police cars.

6. Beantown D-Derby: The big chase in the greater metro Boston area was filmed in September 2009, using sections of Interstate 93, the Ted Williams Tunnel, and the Fellsway.

The Fells Connector Parkways are a group of historic roads that have often been used for filming; Ms. Diaz filmed part of her stunt driving stint there.

KZ-1000: A poor swimmer

The filmmakers wrecked dozens of vehicles, including a Mercury Grand Marquis that Mr. Cruise memorably drops from the sky onto, several  large Chevrolet and Ford S.U.V.s, and an unfortunate Kawasaki KZ-1000 police motorcycle that winds up in a canal.

7. “Moonlighting in Spain” What was the lovely city with the fortress on the hill, where they shot the scene on the hotel balcony?

It was Cadiz, one of the crown jewels of Andalucia (Seville is another). The narrow, winding, cobblestone streets of Cadiz’ Old Town made a perfect setting for the scene where Mr. Cruise meets a seductive representative (Gal Gadot) of an arms dealer. The port of Cadiz was also used for the finish of the car chase (and a villain’s memorable denouement in a seaplane – yet another example of why you should stow your electronic devices during taxi and takeoff!). Sharp-eyed moviegoers will note the chase sequence began in Seville (some 80 miles away).

San Fermin

8. “No bull!” Not sure what the filmmakers had in mind with the running of the bulls scene. Yes, that happens during the Festival of San Fermin. But, it happens in Pamplona, not Seville or Cadiz. Actually, the filmmakers staged a re-creation of Pamplona’s running of the bulls – in Cadiz! The scene ends at Seville’s famous bullring, Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza. When the scene’s filming was done in November 2009, seven of the bulls escaped and ran rampant through the streets of Cadiz, injuring two women. Later, the bulls were corralled on a beach. The production was briefly shut down as a result.

9. Gunfight at the Seville Corral. What was that lovely tile building, where the big gunfight scene was filmed? At least part of it looked like the 5-star Hotel Alfonso XIII, which is now a Starwood property. The 147-room hotel, which opened in 1928 and was named for a much-beloved King of Spain who ruled until 1931, is a Seville landmark. It is a combination of Moorish and Castillian styles. The rooms are as exquisite as the public areas – at least they were when I stayed there – and feature heavy antique furniture, high ceilings with intricate mosaic tiles, and deep soaking tubs (and exquisite black bars of soap – a signature feature of the hotel). The entire hotel was rented by the cast and crew for the international premiere of the movie, which took place June 16 at the Lope de Vega theater in Seville.

10. Malibu Redux? Most of the shooting for the movie was done in early fall 2009. However, revisions, rewrites and re-shoots were scheduled again for January 2010, and yet again as late as early May 2010 – just seven weeks before this much-delayed movie’s scheduled release. The version released June 23 was even said to be different than the one aired in a June 19 sneak preview.

So, when and where were the movie’s final scenes shot?

PCH - South of Mugu Lagoon

In January 2010, months after shooting originally wrapped, along Pacific Coast Highway, just south of the Mugu Lagoon to me, between there and Paradise Cove, north of Malibu. In fact the final scene of the GTO at the beach was shot at Point Dume State Beach – near the fictional location of Tony “Iron Man” Stark’s computer-generated mansion.

Last scene? Point Dume State Beach, Malibu, CA (Jerry Garrett Photo)

Surf tunes, muscle cars, bikinis, secret agents, plots to control the world – it’s like “Muscle Beach Party” meets “In Like Flint.” A recipe for 110 minutes of fun, IMHO.

Finally: Did you like Ms. Diaz and Mr. Cruise in the lead roles? Originally, the stars were supposed to be Chris Tucker and Eva Mendes. They reportedly flunked a chemistry test.

Jerry Garrett

June 21, 2010


  1. We enjoyed this movie, even with it’s way too many gunfights and explosions. Cruise and Diaz had great chemistry. It is hard to visualize Tucker and Mendes in their roles.

    • Cruise and Diaz did everything but wink, wink at the camera, to let us know not to take anything too seriously. What fun! Thanks for your insights!

  2. where did the “Day” in the title come from or what was it supposed to mean?

    • That’s a good question. I don’t yet have an answer for that. If I find out why, I will post it here. Thanks for writing in.

      • I’d like to know the name of the bouncy tune in the San Fermin parade scene. It’s a jota (I think), but I’ve not been able to find it anywhere except in that scene. It’s not even in the soundtrack, as far as I can tell from listening to the snippets at Amazon.

        (I found the film a lovely little “ordinary superhero” romp, even though Cruise seems to ring changes on only 2 or 3 facial expressions, and have watched it several times)

  3. would you please tell me the name of the hotel where the moonlighting in spain was taken?? the one in cadiz??i really want to know the name of the hotel..TQ

    • Hotel Parador de Cadiz is a possibility. The movie’s filming schedule for Cadiz was cut short after an incident in which bulls used in the stampede scene got loose, knocked over some bystanders, and then made havoc in the city. So it is possible the hotel scene was shot somewhere else and green-screened over a Cadiz skyline.

      • thanx for the reply..really appretiate it! =)

  4. i enjoyed the movie and all its explosions:) but what i am very eager to hear are all the names of the cars used by tom cruise and cameron diaz. thank you.

    • The car that Cameron Diaz drives is the 1966 Pontiac GTO that she inherited from her father. When the DVD comes out, there is a possibility that a photo collage of her character, with her “father” will be shown taking the GTO, in its rusty state, apart for restoration. The filmmakers put this car together, and used it for the nighttime stunt scenes (see above) but decided not to use the photo collage in the theatrical release. It could resurface as an “extra” on the DVD. The only other car that she drove in the movie was a Mercury Grand Marquis that Tom Cruise lands on the hood of, presumably after jumping off a Kawasaki cop bike (that one that lands in a canal). In the sequel of my dreams, Cruise and Diaz have a drag race between the ’66 GTO and the ’67 Grand Prix!

      • Wait there was two GTO right well I thought that you had barowwed it from someone ?

  5. What is the name of the beautiful hotel in Salzburg, Austria where Cruise left Diaz to go meet the woman to make a deal for the battery? Was it real- the balconies looked magnificent.

    • That was actually Cadiz, Spain & we believe it was the Hotel Parador de Cadiz.

      • You may be right about the hotel being in Cadiz. However, if so, then the scenes of Cruise and Cruz standing on the balconies were a movie set. No hotel in Salzburg, in the Altstadt, has balconies to look out towards the Salzburg Castle.

      • I agree with you. I’ve been to both Salzburg and Cadiz and I’m not aware of that view in either place.

      • I’m from Salzburg and the Hotel was the Sheraton at the new part of the City. The balconies are from a private house direct to the Salzach (rented for the balconie scenes)
        Regards from Salzburg

      • Danke Fritz! Good information. Check out the photos of the Salzburg Sheraton at
        What a lovely city Salzburg is!

  6. awesome!!!

  7. interesting notations about the GTO!

    • I defer to the experts, but I love the topic!

  8. Haha its great to see were the best parts of the movie was filmed, Makes us really understand the movie that much more and bring it to a level we can relate to at the same time.

    Will be watching your blog more to see the hidden truths behind the scenes!

  9. Erm, any aware that the Hotel Parador de Cadiz, had been demolished last year?

  10. I think it was the Bristol hotel in Salzburg. The interior looks quite the same…

    • Good eye! A great 5-star hotel. Highly recommended.

  11. Would you tell me what was the city called in south america, where they ended up?

    • They were headed to Tierra del Fuego, weren’t they? That’s an area – an island – at the southern tip of South America. Part of it is in Chile and part in Argentina. The biggest cities down there are Ushuaia and Puntas Arenas. Funny thing: You can’t drive all the way down there. The road ends at the Darien Gap, in Panama.

      • I just watched the movie on demand and I can say they were headed to South America, actually was a sign showing Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn) and Santiago, Chile ; but the funny thing is the distance in kilometers showed was wrong , plus the landscape , because the landscape is very different in that area , and very cold , so Point Dume State Beach, Malibu, CA doesn’t have any connection


  12. i think the part of the title that says day comes from cameron diaz last name because diaz is almost the same as dias which mean in english day. maybe???

  13. could u tell me the name of the island where the short scene was filmed nice film my wife has watched it three times

  14. Hello everybody,

    the hotel with the balcony scene was not in Cadiz. The city is Salzburg, the fortress is Hohensalzburg, and in the front you can see the dome of Salzburg. The hotel doesn’t exist. They just put the glass balconies on the “House of Mozart”, the big concert hall, where the Salzburg Festival takes place.
    It would be pretty neat though to have a hotel with a view like that.

    • Finally, an intrepid reader who has the answer! Thank you. I’ve been to Salzburg, and didn’t recognize it as Salzburg – especially since they only filmed there during a snowy time in winter.

  15. I live in Salzburg, so that wasn’t hard 🙂 I just hadn’t seen the movie yet.

  16. I am completely appalled by the fact that the movie producers misinformed the American population (who already is so unaware of whatever goes on outside the US) by showing the running of the bull in Sevilla…………what were they thinking about? I truly feel insulted…

  17. Sevilla sequence ends when they go on a bike by a bridge. That bridge and the rest of the scene is filmed in Long Beach CA USA. That whole sequence is digitally retouched to see the Cathedral and Giralda tower. Long streets for pesecución of bulls, is shot in Cadiz. The rest of the narrow streets in Seville. The jump with the bike for a bow is at City Hall. Antonio Quintana’s home is called House of Pilate “Casa de Pilatos” (you can visit) and shots on the inside must be digital, not to damage the valuable ceramics. If you want to see a video of Seville and Placido Domingo

  18. can someone tells me what brand are the sport twoseats little cars they use on the chasing sequence?

  19. […] que Cádiz ha sido el lugar de filmación de muchas películas. Además de uno de los lugares de Knight and Day, que ya sabía, han sido filmado Die Another Day, de James Bond […]

  20. what kind of little cars were used in the chase sceens. They were small with a slide back top. There seem to be at least three of them? Where are they made?

    • They’re Smart Roadsters. Sort of a pricey little two-seater made by the same people who make the little Smart ForTwo.

  21. what is the song’s name played when cruise and diaz at the rooftop parking lot?can u tell me?need help for that 1..

    • Are you talking about “Someday” by the Black-Eyed Peas?

  22. no not the “someday” by BEP…the song played during cruise enter the next car he use and later continued at the gas station where his handphone ringing..i can’t find it anyway :D..thks for help

  23. I watched the movie last night. One odd thing I noticed was that aerial footage of the hospital in “Washington DC” where Tom Cruise ends up in towards the end of the movie is actually the Johannesburg General Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. I know – I live here. 🙂

    • You’re Right. Johannesburg South Africa
      I noticed the ridge. I think Washington is quite flat. Johannesburg is full of ridges (hills)and surrounded by trees. When I first saw the movie ten years ago I just thought It was an exact replica. I forgot about it and saw it again on French TV tonight.
      It is Johannesburg General Hospital for sure.
      One of the worlds biggest hospitals built in the 1970s.
      I wonder why they used that footage. Maybe to avoid paying royalties to American hospitals?

  24. I’ve been a Tom Cruise fan for decades now. But this movie just ain’t it for me compared to Collateral and the mission impossible trilogy I must say I’m more than a little bit dissapointed. This movie been hyped up very much and costed millions yet it was only an average movie while I was expecting better. I dont want to blame Cameron Diaz but she didn’t have any added value.

    • As troubled as this production was, it’s somewhat amazing the movie wound up being as good as it was. I mean…rewrites, alternative endings, re-shoots, scenes cut, entire sub-plots on the edit room floor…it could have been a recipe for a major disaster.

  25. I, my daughter and my mom all loved the movie and I personally have watched it several times while they have watched it twice. The action parts were fast paced and exciting with a comic edge to them. I like Cruise and Diaz together. I could envision some sort of sequel to this film-though I believe it is often difficult to live up to the original. I, too am curious as to where the tiny island was filmed. Thanks for your additional information about the movie.

  26. haha awesome these insights! I love both Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, so it’s really fun to read all this. Loved the movie too!

  27. i hope this is not to crude but i have a cryptic question about the name ‘Simon Feck’ in the film ‘Knight and Day’. Tom Cruise’s character first said the name quite poignantly – could this be a word play by the writer or even Tom Cruise? Is it a code phase for ‘yes i man fuck’??

    yeS I MaN FuCK

    • I dunno. I’m still waiting for someone to de-code the movie’s title for me.

      • Maybe ‘Knight and Day’ is an anagram for ‘A Dandy Knight’ !!
        I wonder who might be the dandy knight?? haha

  28. what is the name of the camera used in the film where tom goes to simons safe house and searches his room ,i mean he took some pictures from a little spy camera or something from the part where simon had done his formulaes

  29. What was the hotel used in Salzberg for the movie “Knight & Day”

    • Please check back thru the earlier comments. Our readers say they know…

  30. Why was Trevor Loomis used as Eduardo? I am a Camera Assistant, and he was the 1st Camera Assistant working on the movie. He did a great job, what a way to earn your SAG card!

  31. Hi Jerry

    Can you tell me what’s the name of the theme music that plays in the background when Diaz discovers she is in Salzburg. It’s playing as she draws the curtains open, has a bath, gets the glasses out for dinner, lights the candle and finally goes to the balcony where she overhears Cruise talking to Gal Gadot.

    Your answer would be much appreciated!! I have heard every soundtrack song from Knight and Day but could not find this music.



    • I don’t have the answer for that one right now, Vijay. But I will check. In the meantime, if any readers now, be sure to add your comment!

  32. the island in the Azores, was it really?

    • Pellew Island, aka Monkey island at San San Beach near Port Antonio, Jamaica, W.I.

  33. what kind of car did tom cruise get into while on top of the parking garage it was a silver four door sedan. just wondering what kind of car is it? thks

    • Not sure. That one doesn’t stick in my mind. Will have to look at the movie again. If any other reader knows the answer to this, please let us know.

      • hi there and thanks
        i went over that few shots and u get a great side shot of the four door sedan on the parkade roof top. but i just can figure out what kind of car it is any one who could help id greatly appreciate it. thks cheryl

    • Mercedes S-Klasse

      • Mercedes big S Class

      • Thanks so much I’ve always wonders is a beautiful car

  34. Sorry, but I’ve seen the movie several times now. I’m watching it right now, in fact. I don’t know where you got the idea that there was a BMW Z leading that big chase scene, but there’s not. In the youtube video above, there are two of them in that rehearsal, but in the movie there is one Mercedes SLK driven by Fitzgerald, and all of the rest of the cars are the Smart roadsters.

  35. The small island where Diaz took the cell call is called Pellew island aka Monkey Island at San San Beach near Port Antonio, Jamaica. The beach scene where she wakes in a red bikini is at nearby Frenchman’s Cove, which is was made to appear part of the small island. Both are VERY close to Dragons Bay and Blue Lagoon, where Cruise made Cocktail.

  36. The biggest secret of the movie is the song that starts on top of the parkinggarage when they change cars. Please anyone?


    • “Dolby’s Con”
      from Confidence (2003)
      Written by Christophe Beck
      Beautiful Soundtrack

    • i’m looking for the same song !!
      It’s a trip hop music and it’s not “Dolby’s Con” from Confidence…
      Please anyone ?? Thx

      • You can’t Shazam it?

  37. What was the train in the movie?

    • It is a regular train that goes in to Salzburg, Austria.

  38. Does anyone know what brand of champagne flute is used in the European hotel scene when June Is drinking champagne? Also where can I find them?

    • Five years later and I finally found champagne flutes (like) them at Crate and Barrel – Edge Champagne Flutes $12.95 each…better late than never.

  39. The scene in the warehouse under the Brooklyn Bridge had a party boat Ranger in it. That boat used to sail out of Sheepshead Bay. Any reasoning behind this???

  40. […] Ten Secrets of the Knight and Day Movie | Garrett On The Road […]

  41. nice movie knight and day full movie watch online 720p hindi download i like

  42. Petrol station theme you can find at search: track author Stas Flew – Knight and day (OST petrol)

  43. I LOVE THIS TOM CRUISE MOVIE, not big fan of Cameron Diaz but I LOVED HER IN THIS. OF ALL THE STUPID SEQUELS TOM CRUISE DOES THIS IS ONE THAT I WANT. I LOVE THEM TOGETHER, EVEN THOUGH WE NOT SUPPOSED TO NOTICE THAT SHE IS A FOOT TALLER THAN HIM FLATFOOTED… this n Jack Rancher movies, waaaaaaay better that the MI movies, really gunfights n explosions. Ok did the ppl below not realize when they sat down to watch this that it was AN ACTION. just saying that means gunfights, explosions, fighting, car chases etc etc

  44. The Huge hospital depicted in Knight and Day as Washington DC is actually Johannesburg General on top of a ridge in johannesburg. Parktown North. One of the biggest hospitals in the world built in the 1970s

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