Here’s The Real Tuna About “My Cousin Vinny”

Many people will encounter a situation in life where they felt like an absolute fish out of water, but the 1992 film My Cousin Vinny takes the concept to a new and hilarious level. The film has become a classic in the law genre, with unforgettable performances by Joe Pesci and Ralph Macchio, and an Oscar-winning performance by Marisa Tomei.

My Cousin Vinny is such a classic now that it’s almost impossible to imagine the film going any other way, but there were a lot of choices made behind-the-scenes that could have drastically changed the movie. Screenwriter and co-producer Dale Launer revealed these previously unknown facts about My Cousin Vinny that will make the movie even more unforgettable.

Pesci Based “Vinny” On Real People He Grew Up With

Pesci, Macchio and Whitfield in 1992 My Cousin Vinny
Photo Credit: 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images
Photo Credit: 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

In a 1992 interview, Pesci explained that there were a lot of people similar to the character he played in the film. Pesci grew up in Belleville, New Jersey, a city with an intensely diverse population. Many of his inspirations lived close to him throughout his childhood or were from the surrounding smaller neighborhoods.

When preparing for the role, he took a bunch of the people he’d met and put them together to create the “Vinny” we see on-screen.