“When I first heard they wanted my hair permed, I thought I would never be able to show my face in public again, my friends would never talk to me again! Then I found out that I would also be wearing buckteeth, thick glasses and a bow tie and I thought that I might actually look quite cool.” (Rupert Grint about Thunderpants)
Directed by Peter Hewitt, Thunderpants stars Rupert Grint as Alan A. Allen alongside Simon Callow, Ned Beatty and Paul Giamatti. Filmed in London in 2001, Thunderpants had its World Premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on 12 May 2002.
Patrick Smash has a problem and a gift: due to his anatomical abnormality (he was born with two stomachs), he cannot control his flatulence. This has driven his father to leave the family and made Patrick an outsider at school. His only friend is Alan A. Allen, a young inventor with no sense of smell.
To help Patrick with his “problem”, Alan creates Thunderpants, a pair of pants to contain the farting emissions.
After winning the Non-Assisted Flight Competition with Thunderpants 2, Alan is whisked away by the USSC to help them find a way to rescue astronauts stuck in space. Unaware of the reason for Alan’s sudden disappearance and hoping to find him, Patrick joins the world’s second best tenor Sir John Osgood on a world tour, but ends up being accused of being responsible for the world’s best tenor’s fatal accident. Will Patrick be saved, and will he reach his dream of becoming an astronaut? And where is Alan?
Alan A. Allen is a geeky boy genius who wants to become an inventor. As he has no sense of smell, he is the only person not bothered by Patrick’s farts and therefore his only friend. In his little invetor’s shed, he creates the Thunderpants to help Patrick with his problem. Clever as he is, he transfers the technology to build a hovercraft-like flying machine for the Flight Competition and eventually to help the USSC in sending a rocket into space.
- The beginning credits show a close-up of the Thunderpants, Tim Burton style.
- Alan is the only student wearing a bow-tie instead of a tie as part of his school uniform.
- Everyone seems to drive a green Mini Cooper.
- During the line “in the eyes of society”, Alan rolls his own eyes.
- The orange platform of Thunderpants 2 is built from an upturned childrens’ swimming pool.
- Alan has a mole and a scar on his left knee.
- One deleted scene explains why Patrick’s room is empty but for the furniture; another deleted scene explains why Alan throws Patrick a sad/nasty look when he is driven away by the USSC people.
- Patrick’s Space suit has a Union Jack on the left arm. Hence, he’s a British spaceman.
- Patrick is left handed. Alan is right handed.
- When the babyphone goes off in the beginning, Mrs Smash’s bright green earrings are next to the babyphone.
- In the scene when Alan explains to Patrick the design of Thunderpants 3, Alan’s voice breaks (from child-voice to Rupert’s “grown-up voice”).
Filming:22 April 2001 – 19 June 2001
Budget: $ 7 Million
Behind the Scenes
- Rupert’s favourite scene to film: the flight competition
- Rupert had two auditions: first, he met the director and casting agent; then he had to read from the script and was dressed up as Alan.
- Rupert enjoyed filming Thunderpants as he was “pottered-out” after completing Sorcerer’s Stone
- Rupert actually slapped Bruce during one take.
- Pete Hewitt originally felt that Alan did not really like Patrick and only used him for his experiments, but Rupert gave the character the warmth it now has.
- Rupert forgot his lines during one of the scenes at the USSC when Bruce Cook hiccupped just as Rupert was about to speak. Bruce: “It was so funny because his eyes just got bigger and bigger – I thought they were going to pop out!”
- Rupert and Bruce became friends during filming and were laughing non-stop because parts of the story were so hilarious.
- Rupert had his hair permed, wore false teeth and was fitted with specially crafted suits.
- Celia Imrie about Rupert and Bruce: “They were both absolutely enchanting. I think it’s nonsense when people say not to work with children. You learn some of your best bits from them.”
- One of the musicians who meet up with Sir John Osgood right after he has heard Patrick farting is none other than Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean).
- At the World Premiere, the World Record in simultaneous Whoopie Cushion farting was broken by the 650 fans, cast and crew members who were present.
- On the film poster, Rupert’s character Alan is wearing long pants. In the film he is wearing shorts, but as those were deemed “un-hip”, it was changed for the poster.
- Alan aged 5 was played by Jonah Trenouth.
- Just before the film Thunderpants started at the premiere, the band All Stars (a pop group featured on the Thunderpants soundtrack) sang a song which is featured at the end of the film.
- National Grid Building (Cumberland House) in Hertfordshire (USSC)
- Oxford Prison (prison scenes)
- RAF Northolt (flying ground)
- Stratford Old Magistrates Court
- Berkley Fields (flight competition)
- Burlington Danes School, White City (school hall)
- Addison Gardens, Shepherd Bush (exterior of school)
- Ravenscourt Park (nursery)
- 153 Hammersmith Road, Hammersmith, London (Osgood’s music school)
Rupert Grint (Alan A. Allen)
Bruce Cook (Patrick Smash)
Bronagh Gallagher (Mrs. Smash)
Victor McGuire (Mr. Smash)
Simon Callow (Sir John Osgood)
Adam Godley (Placido P. Placeedo)
Celia Imrie (Miss Rapier)
Ned Beatty (Ed Sheppard)
Paul Giamatti (Johnson J. Johnson)
Robert Hardy (Doctor)
Stephen Fry (Sir Anthony Silk QC)
Leslie Philips (Judge)
Director: Pete Hewitt
Screenplay: Phil Hughes
Music: Rupert Gregson-Williams
Director of Photography: Andy Collins
Production Designer: Chris Roope
Costume Designer: Ann Maskrey
Hair & Make-Up Designer: Lizzie Yianni Georgiou
Editor: Michael Parker
Casting: Abi Cohen, Randi Hiller
Producer: CP Medien AG, Mission Pictures, Pathé Pictures International, Sky
Funding: The Film Council.
Runtime: 83 min
MPAA Rating: PG (for ongoing crude humor, language, some violence and bullying)
Lifetime Grosses (United Kingdom only): £ 1,860,002
Pathé Distribution (UK),Genius Products (USA), The Weinstein Company (USA), A-Film (NL), Imagem Filmes (Brazil), GAGA Communications (Japan)
- Lucas International Festival of Films for Children and Young People 2002
- Cannes Film Festival 2002
World Premiere: 12 May 2002, London, UK
- UK: 24 May 2002
- Netherlands: 26 September 2002
- Australia: 12 December 2002
- Turkey: 31 January 2003
- Iceland: 14 March 2003
- New Zealand: 29 May 2003
- Japan: 11 October 2003
Browse our Gallery
Watch and listen to clips from Thunderpants
Read articles about Thunderpants
Read Rave Reviews about Rupert in Thunderpants
- Lucas Award 2002, Children’s Section, Lucas International Festival of Films for Children and Young People (winner)
Alan: “Hello Patrick, How progresses the day?”
Alan: “The nearest star, Proxima Centaura, happens to be four light years away. It is debatable that this stellar body holds within its gravitational pull a planetary system of any kind, let alone one that goes by the appellation of Zorg.”
Alan: “What am I, Patrick?”
Patrick: “Alan, why do you talk in that funny way?”
Alan: “I speak with clarity and precision. The ability to use language correctly is just one of my many talents, talents that will enable me to realise my dream.”
Alan: “I will build that machine. I will win that competition. I am Alan. I am me. That is what makes me strong.”
Alan: “Fascinating. You mean, you would like me to eliminate that which has made you an outsider in the eyes of society?”
Alan: “Yes, Patrick. I will construct a machine, and before you know it, you will be in total control of your sphincter.”
Alan: “Alright, Patrick. I’m ready for you.”
Alan: “The Thunderpants will contain the emissions in the airtight rubber lining within the rigid copper exoskeleton. Now, evacuate into the holding unit. Evacuate into the holding unit. The lunchbox. There’s a button on the handle.”
Alan: “I’m a genius!”
Alan: “Your what? Gift? Oh, er, nothing could be simpler. You don’t have one.”
Alan: “With your gift, my genius and our friendship, we can never go wrong.”
Alan: “Patrick, give it a quick burn. Let’s check out the hardware.”
Patrick: “Yes, Alan?”
Alan: “You’ve got to let one go now!”
Rupert about Thunderpants
“It’s the windiest film ever!”
“Harry Potter is kind of similar to Thunderpants in the way that kids just do incredible things – and the farting!”
“Just between us, Bruce kind of supplied some of the farts in real life… um… yeah…”
(Rupert Grint Interview on Thunderpants DVD)
“I think I needed to do another role because I was completely ‘Pottered out’ by the first one. So I think it was good I did a completely different role. The perm I wasn’t too happy with!”
(CBBC Newsround Interview on Chamber of Secrets)
“One of the crew members paid me £5 to actually whack him [Bruce Cook] in the film,” Rupert laughed. “But it was really fun to film.”
(CBBC Newsround 2002)
“He was really different from Ron and it was a nice role to play, actually. I played a geek, a real sort of nerd, and had to perm my hair. So I had curly ginger hair for that and they gave me big teeth and glasses. It was very different from Ron, so I quite enjoyed doing that.”
Extras: Director and Crew commentary, Deleted scenes, Music video, Storyboards and Photo Gallery, Trailer, Cast and Crew interviews, Fart Montage, Patrick Smash’s video diary, DVD-Rom Material
ASIN (Region 1): B000P6R9LM (2007), B0007CJZW0 (2002)
ASIN (Region 2): B00006RHTO
- Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss
- Going All the Way by allStars