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No One Seems To Know Who Came Up With The Famous ‘Pop Quiz, Hotshot’ Line From ‘Speed’

In 1994, Speed transformed Keanu Reeves into a bonafide action star thanks to its pulse-pounding ride on a bomb-strapped bus that can’t slow down. (The film also put Sandra Bullock in a breakout performance.) Almost 30 years later, Speed is considered an action classic as appreciation for the film has also shown no signs of slowing down. Case in point, the arrival of a new podcast, 50 MPH, that takes a deep dive into Speed’s production.

According to host Kris Tapley, the script for Speed was a major source of contention thanks to Joss Whedon writing “roughly 90 percent of the film’s final dialogue,” yet losing out credit for the film due to a WGA ruling. The film’s original writer Graham Yost received sole writing credit, sparking a confrontation with Whedon at the film’s premiere.

However, that’s not the only matter the two writers disagree on, but in a twist, this argument is about taking credit. For years, Yost has maintained that Whedon came up with the famous “Pop quiz, hot shot” line spoken by Dennis Hopper’s character. However, Whedon insists he didn’t write the line.

Via The Hollywood Reporter:

Speaking of “hot shot,” Whedon says was [he] not responsible for the film’s most famous line — “Pop quiz, hot shot!” — despite fans and many who worked on the film assuming it was his. Said Yost: “For the past 25 years of my life, people would come up to me and say, ‘Pop quiz, hot shot.’ And I have to nod and smile. That was Joss’ line, that wasn’t me.” But Whedon said: “No, it’s not. That was already in. It’s the only line people remember. But I cannot take credit for it, for it is not mine.”

After researching the available drafts for Speed, Tapley determined that another script doctor, Paul Attanasio, “most likely came up with the line.” However, that doesn’t completely solve the mystery because Attanasio “couldn’t recall” writing the line, but Tapley concluded he’s the likeliest suspect.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)