The Descendants (2011) Poster


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When Matt King describes his inherited wealth, he says, "I don't want my daughters growing up entitled and spoiled. And I agree with my father; you give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing." This is based on a well-known quote from billionaire investor Warren Buffett in a 1986 Fortune magazine interview. "Setting up his heirs with a lifetime supply of food stamps just because they came out of the right womb can be harmful for them and is an antisocial act. To him the perfect amount to leave children is 'enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.'"
George Clooney was attracted to the part because he so often has played characters that have their act together. The character of Matt clearly does not.
One closeup briefly shows Elizabeth's Punahou School diploma. Punahou School, in Honolulu, is the largest private school in the United States. It was built in 1841 and added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1972. Barack Obama graduated from Punahou School in 1979.
Beau Bridges is very familiar with the Hawaiian islands. He attended the University of Hawaii as a young man.
Alexander Payne's first film in 7 years since winning a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Sideways (2004).
The phone number shown on George Clooney's character's Blackberry for Gold Coast Real Estate - (808) 926-7525 - really is the phone number for Honolulu's Gold Coast Real Estate, Inc.
Miles Teller auditioned and was one of the finalists to play Sid, but in the end lost the role to Nick Krause.
When the King family are at Lihue airport in Kauai, Matt tells his cousin it's "just a little holoholo." In Hawaiian, "holoholo" means "to go out," usually for a leisurely drive. In the next scene, as the family rides in the cousin's jeep, lyrics in the musical cue include the phrase "holoholo ka'a," which means "going for a ride in a car."
Amanda Seyfried auditioned for the part of the older daughter.
In one scene, Elizabeth's mother is called "tutu", Hawaiian slang for grandparent.
Amara Miller wasn't cast until two weeks before production kicked off.
George Clooney wanted to play the role of 'Jack' in Sideways (2004), Alexander Payne's last film. Payne turned him down, saying that he wanted someone lesser known for the role.
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2008 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.
King Kamehameha I became the first sovereign of the unified Hawaiian Islands in 1810. His last legitimate heir was Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who died in 1884. Margaret Ke'Alohilani and Edward King, the ancestors of the film's King family, are fictional.
In chapter 7 of the book this movie is adapted from, Scottie is wearing a shirt that says "Mrs. Clooney" on it.
In September, 1992, Hurricane Iniki blew apart many chicken coops on Kauai that housed birds that were allegedly used for cockfighting. By the time the film went into production, there were thousands of feral chickens roaming the island. In the Kauai scenes, chickens are sometimes seen wandering through the shot. A few were wandering around the parking lot in the exterior shot of the Tahiti Nui restaurant. Sometimes the crew had to shoo chickens away before a take. Some takes were disrupted by crowing roosters.
When Matt confronts Elizabeth about her infidelity while she is hospitalized and in a coma, the photo of her on the bedside table is the same photo that Patricia Hastie (who plays Elizabeth) has of herself on her IMDb profile page.
Kristen Stewart auditioned for the role of Alexandra.
The Hawaiian quilt on Elizabeth's bed once she is moved to room 315 is the same quilt at the end of the movie when Matt, Scottie and Alex sit together on the couch to watch TV.
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The first film Alexander Payne has not co-written with his regular collaborator Jim Taylor.
In the original novel, Matt's wife's name was Joan. In the movie, it was changed to Elizabeth.
The first time Alexander Payne has worked with small children.
Author Kaui Hart Hemmings revealed that the character of Sid was changed to add comic relief
Matthew Lillard, Robert Forster and Michael Ontkean all appeared in Twin Peaks. With Lillard and Forster being in the 2017 series and Ontkean appearing in the original series. Forster was the first choice for Sheriff Harry Truman until Ontkean replaced him. Ironically, Forster ended up replacing him in the 2017 series as Frank Truman.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Mikandrew Perdaris was considered for the role of 'Sid'.
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Shailene Woodley's character's name in this film is Alex King. George Clooney previously worked on ER (1994) with Alex Kingston. Also, Kingston's character's name in ER was Elizabeth, the same name of the wife of Clooney's character in this film.
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Kaui Hart Hemmings: Matt's assistant, Noe, who announces "Your cousins are here" when Matt is prepares to meet with his relatives at his law office.


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The main character discovers his wife was cheating on him after she dies, in both films, "About Schmidt" and "The descendants", both directed by Alexander Payne.
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