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Zoolander was a 2001 American comedy film directed by Ben Stiller, and starring Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell. Stiller plays Derek Zoolander, an idiotic, narcissistic model who is brainwashed by corrupt fashion executives to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The film was released to favorable reviews, earned enough box office, and gained enough of a cult following to inspire a sequel fifteen years later.

Here are a few things you might now have known about everyone’s favorite male model.


32. 9021-Oh!

Created by Ben Stiller and writer Drake Sather, the character of Derek Zoolander was meant to be a “Luke Perry-type” and made his debut at the 1996 VH1 Fashion Awards.

31. Popping That Cherry

Zoolander was the first movie that VH1 ever produced.

30. The Brangelina of Fashion

The name “Derek Zoolander” was inspired by the names of two male models who both worked for Calvin Klein: Mark Vanderloo and Johnny Zander.

Johnny Zander

Mike Vanderloo

 

29. Two Thumbs Down

Roger Ebert gave the film one star out of four, writing in his review that the film was insensitive in its portrayal of child labor, but also added that Zoolander might be the “victim of bad timing,” considering its release two weeks after 9/11. Ebert later apologized to Stiller for going “overboard”, admitting that he’d changed his mind.

Roger Ebert thumbs down

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28. Commercials – They’re Not Just For Going to the Bathroom Anymore

The opening scene where Derek loses the “Model of the Year” title were shot during the 2000 VH1/Vogue fashion awards during the commercial breaks. Comprised mostly of models, half the audience were probably unaware a movie was being shot.

 

27. Where There’s a Wilson…

The role of Hansel was written specifically for Owen Wilson. Stiller has said that it’s unlikely the movie would have been made without him.

26. It’s Your Job

About the Walk-Off scene: Owen Wilson was not comfortable with his dancing nor was he comfortable with acting in front of a large audience “so to go out and have to do both those things standing in front of a lot of people was a little bit nerve-wracking.” His nerves were reportedly calmed by the two million dollars he was paid to do it.

25. Part Deux

The original title for the sequel was “Twolander”, but the filmmakers decided to go with the more creative “Zoolander 2.”

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