Fifteen years ago, popular character actor Steve Buscemi was stabbed during a wild,
So, let's go back in time and outline the entire weird story.
Back in the early 2000s, Paramount Pictures, in its infinite wisdom, decided to spend $75 million on a psychological thriller starring John Travolta, Vince Vaughn and Steve Buscemi about a step-father with a wild past and a penchant for murder. It was called Domestic Disturbance. It was not well-received by fans, nor was it well-received by critics. Beloved Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert was really underwhelmed. So, the studio convinced him it may have been because he was mistakenly shown the wrong final reel. He agreed to watch it again, and surprise surprise, was seriously underwhelmed again. So underwhelming was the final product in fact, not bad---just underwhelming, that the Rotten Tomatoes caption wound up being this gem:
"Well-made but extremely predictable, Domestic Disturbance is an average thriller that may work better on TV."
Principal production on the movie took place in Wilmington, North Carolina. That might seem like a bizarre choice, but North Carolina has long been a hotbed for TV and film production. Dirty Dancing, Bull Durham, Days Of Thunder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Fugitive, Dawson's Creek, _One Tree Hil_l and a lot more were all filmed there, thanks to a combination of 1) a cheap but knowledgeable labor force in the production field, 2) relatively cheap housing, 3) backdrops and locations that can double as many parts of the country and later, 4) tax incentives. By the early 2000s, North Carolina, specifically Wilmington, was at the height of its popularity. So, working there was a natural choice, especially for a larger budget but not event-style film like Domestic Disturbance.
Early in 2001, the cast, which also included Teri Polo from Meet The Parents and Matt O'Leary from Spy Kids 2, descended on Wilmington, North Carolina to begin filming. As film crews tend to do, groups involved in the shoot soon began hitting up the local bars, and that's when, one night, things went South in a hurry.
It was April 12th, 2001 and a group of Steve Buscemi, Vince Vaughn and screenwriter Scott Rosenberg decided to go to the Firebelly Lounge on Front Street. They started drinking and having a good time, carousing a little bit with the locals. Unfortunately, at around two o'clock in the morning, the mood started turning a little dark. Some locals began shouting at the celebrities, particularly at Vince Vaughn. He allegedly shouted back, and after a series of back-and-forths, the men went outside to settle their differences. An estimated group of 40 to 50 locals, according to lawyer Bill Peregoy who later worked on the case, followed the men and inflamed the emotions of everyone involved.
Not long after making their way outside, Vince Vaughn and the man he was screaming at, decided to talk out their issues and shake hands rather than fight. It's likely both men saw the drunken, agitated crowd and decided everyone was better off calming down rather than igniting the brewing powder keg. Unfortunately for Steve Buscemi, however, the groundwork for violence had already been laid. One man, later identified as college student Timothy Fogerty, allegedly shouted into the crowd,
"Who wants to get cut?"
People quickly paired off, and Buscemi ended up across from Fogerty. According to court records, Fogerty pulled out a knife. The actor tried to kick it out of his hands, but the twenty-one-year-old North Carolina resident held on and began stabbing Buscemi. He wound up with serious wounds on his neck, face and hands. Shock filtered through the crowd. In the chaos, someone pulled Fogerty off. Witnesses seemed to think the situation was settling down, and then a local named Kenneth Purgason allegedly re-ignited the brawl with one callous comment.
"I'm happy Buscemi got stabbed."
Both Vince Vaughn and Scott Rosenberg allegedly responded to the comment by throwing punches. The fight escalated once again, and it ultimately took local authorities to separate the fighters. By the end, Steve Buscemi had suffered extensive damage to his facial region. He was immediately taken to New York, where emergency surgery was performed. Vince Vaughn, Scott Rosenberg, Kenneth Purgason and Timothy Fogerty were all arrested. The first three were charged with public fighting. The latest was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and intent to kill.
Perspectives on what exactly happened and why still differ to this day. There are some who argue Vince Vaughn's rowdy behavior inside the bar is ultimately what led to the street fight. Local prosecutors claimed it was a group of "jealous" men who wouldn't leave the actors alone. Regardless, everyone seems to agree Steve Buscemi was basically an innocent bystander who happened to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was never charged for his role in the fight.
Vaughn and Rosenberg later pled guilty for their roles in what happened. They were forced to attend counseling, and they were banned from all of the bars in Wilmington, North Carolina. Prosecutors initially sought a very strict sentence for Fogerty, however, Buscemi instructed his attorney to ask the court for leniency. He was ultimately sentenced to counseling, anger management, probation and a few months in jail.
Buscemi made a full recovery from his injuries, and Domestic Disturbance, a movie in which he oddly plays a murder victim, came and went. It never made back its budget at the box office.