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Burning Questions: Any Given Sunday, Man on the Moon and more

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Ah, the holidays. Time to gather with family and friends and talk about the really important things. Like just how factual is the football fracas in Any Given Sunday? And did Man on the Moon subject Andy Kaufman truly make a love connection in the ring? EW addresses some recent Hollywood head-scratchers.

— Gillian Flynn

Man on the Moon

Q: Did Andy Kaufman actually meet his girlfriend while wrestling on The Merv Griffin Show?

A: Nope. Kaufman met Lynne Margulies (played by Courtney Love) on the set of a 1983 movie, My Breakfast With Blassie. Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski deemed the real encounter too blase, so they added the wrestling twist — which the duo insists is in keeping with the Kaufman spirit. ”It’s not a movie about Abe Lincoln,” Alexander sniffs. ”It’s a movie about a guy who lived his life manipulating public perception.”

The Cider House Rules

Q: Can an adopted orphan be ”returned,” as Tobey Maguire’s infant character is?

A: Sure. If the new parents decide they can’t raise the child, the adoption can be voided—and, in the ’30s and ’40s (when the film takes place), the child would have been sent back to the orphanage. What if, as in the movie, the reason for the return is that the kid’s just too darn cheerful? ”Too happy a baby?” asks Ray Schimmer of Parsons Child and Family Center in Albany, N.Y., an orphanage during World War II. ”We haven’t had any kids come back for that reason. Is this a comedy?”

Any Given Sunday

Q: Would a coach really be fined $100,000 for punching a journalist, as Al Pacino’s character is?

A: Perhaps. The stiffest team fine slapped on a coach was $75,000 in 1997. The receiver: former Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer, who was busted for carrying a loaded gun into the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Most gridiron penalties range from $5,000 to $10,000, but NFL spokesman Chris Widmaier says such a scuffle might warrant the $100,000 figure: ”If the coach is a press batterer, it’s in the realm of possibility.” Plus, in Oliver Stone’s world, anything goes.