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Caught in the Fact

We dig up the truth behind important plot details in five of this seaon's big releases (SPOILER ALERT: Article discusses key plot points)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Catch Me if You Can
Image credit: Catch Me if You Can: Andrew Cooper
Leonardo DiCaprio, Catch Me if You Can
Image credit: Catch Me if You Can: Andrew Cooper

Catch Me if You Can

REEL LIFE At one point, super-smooth swindler Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio, above with his ''crew'') eludes authorities by escaping from a VC10 jetliner. The trick? He removes the toilet on the plane, climbs beneath, and escapes through a hatch door onto the tarmac.

REAL LIFE The filmmakers don't deny that ''Catch'' is a stretch. For example, Tom Hanks' FBI agent is actually a composite of several law-enforcement officials. As for Abagnale's dirty deed, it's in his 1981 memoir -- but airline experts say it's impossible. ''The entire system is sealed,'' says Skip Jones of the Aerospace Industries Association. ''No matter what happens in there, you can't get into the rest of the airplane.'' Payloads Systems engineer Alan Anderson says plane bidets are mounted atop 100-pound-plus tanks, and that even if Abagnale were able to undo the system in silence, he'd have to crawl through a drainage pipe that's four inches in diameter. ''A person would have to be pretty small, and it would be messy,'' says Anderson. Responds DreamWorks' Terry Press, ''We thought about putting a notice at the beginning of the film: 'Based on a true story except for the stuff we made up with Frank's permission.' At least it would shut everybody up.''

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