IMDB Trivia for Sleepy Hollow (1999)
The scene where Ichabod Crane crosses the covered bridge and hears the frogs underneath
croaking "Ichabod" and "Headless Horseman" is a tribute to Disney's 1958 animated
version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1958) in which Ichabod Crane, crossing a
bridge, hears the frogs croaking the same words. Director Tim Burton, a former Disney
animator, has cited the Disney version of the tale as his main inspiration for the look and
style of his film. The scene of Ichabod Crane riding the Horseman's horse backwards is
also taken from the earlier film.
Christopher Walken, who plays the Headless Horseman, played a schoolteacher in The Dead
Zone (1983), in the beginning of which he tells his class to read "The Legend of Sleepy
The town Sleepy Hollow was created from the ground up in three months. At the time of
filming, it was the largest set built in England and was put up in record time. The last set
that held this record was built for Billy Elliot (2000).
The Western Wood was built on a sound-stage so everything, the weather, light, could be
The Windmill was too large to be constructed on a sound-stage because it was over five stories
high. The sails alone weighed over 2 tons.
The final chase sequence on the coach in the Western Wood took three weeks to film.
The Horseman's horse is named Daredevil, the same name of Brom Bones' (Brom Van Brunt's)
horse in Irving's original short story; the horse was purchased in Seville, Spain.
Christopher Walken's character has no speaking lines, aside from a couple of "HAA"s to his
horse and "shhhh."
Director Trademark: [Tim Burton] [scarecrows]
This was originally to be a Kevin Yagher directorial project. Tim Burton later took over the
project, with Kevin Yagher remaining on with co-producing credits among others.
Tim Burton and the crew of the movie built the small town Sleepy Hollow complete with
rooms, floors, and stairs. The town was dismantled after filming was completed.
Historically, Ichabod Crane was a very unattractive man. Johnny Depp wanted to add
prosthetics (a long prosthetic snipe nose, huge ears and elongated fingers) to his face to
make himself look ugly, but Tim Burton wanted to base the character on Crane's more
unattractive personality traits - his reported squeamishness and eccentricity.
Star Johnny Depp adopted Goldeneye, the horse that played Gunpowder, Ichabod Crane's
horse in the film, when he heard it was going to be put down.
While Tim Burton admired Andrew Kevin Walker's original script, he hired the famed
playwright and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Tom Stoppard as script doctor.
Stoppard did an uncredited re-write to tone down the violence of Walker's script.
Ichabod Crane faints six times in the movie.
At the start of filming the three-way axe battle with Ray Park, Johnny Depp and Casper Van
Dien, Van Dien broke the index finger of his left hand. Although extremely painful, he
carried on without telling anyone as he didn't want his part cut short.
Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel were, reportedly, real people.
A mechanical horse, an updated model of one used in earlier films, was used for studio shots. It
was originally developed for riding scenes with Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet
Johnny Depp did all of his own stunts for the final scene where he is dragged by the horse - he
had bullet-proof clothing underneath his wardrobe.
This film features three sith lords from the Star Wars prequels, Ray Park (Darth Maul),
Christopher Lee (Count Dooku ) and Ian McDiarmid (Darth Sidious).
Casper Van Dien in real life is related to the Van Tassels (Christina Ricci's character's family;
she is his love interest in the film).
Casper Van Dien gained 30 pounds for his role of Brom.
Liam Neeson, Brad Pitt and Daniel Day-Lewis were all considered for the role of Ichabod
Marlon Brando was sought as The Hessian Horseman.
Although the headless horsemen in the books and fairy tales is physically not allowed to cross
the bridge, as it is known as a safe haven for the characters, in this version he can cross it
This was the very last movie produced on laserdisc anywhere in the world.
Johnny Depp reportedly has never seen the film because he didn't like the way he acted.
The cast and crew often said "The feeling one had walking around Sleepy Hollow's sets, and in
particular the town at Lime Tree, was almost as if you were walking around the inside of
[Tim] Burton's head."
In the novel, the Headless Horseman was a man who lost his head from a cannon blast in an
unknown battle of the American Revolutionary War.