Local Icelandic media reported on the willingness of residents and municipalities to assist in the film production. A townhouse in Stykkishólmur, on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, in the west, was painted black. The inhabitants in Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland agreed to keep a low profile for a day.
"LIFE" was an American photojournalism magazine. It was published weekly from 1936 to 1972, as an intermittent special from 1972 to 1978, and monthly from 1978 to 2000. From 2004 to 2007, it was a weekly newspaper supplement published by Time Inc. In its heyday, it occupied five floors of the Time & Life Building in Midtown Manhattan. George Story appeared as a baby in the first picture in the first issue of Life, published November 23, 1936. He died April 4, 2000, days after LIFE announced it would no longer be published as a monthly.
Sean O'Connell's camera has its Nikon logo blacked out. The movie's producers may not have had Nikon's permission to use their name. However, many real-life professional photographers cover their camera's logos to avoid questions from lay photographers, avoid advertising their gear choices, and shield the expensive gear from potential thieves.
When the boat lands in Iceland, two of the crewmen encourage Walter to run to the only bicycle available, because a group of "horny Chileans" want to take the bicycle to a strip club. Iceland's parliament banned strip clubs in 2010. The law made stripteases illegal and banned any club from making a profit based on an employee's nudity.
Technically, LIFE magazine had two "last" issues. The last monthly issue was published May 20, 2000. The cover story, "Premature Baby" by Jason Michael Waldmann Jr., featured a picture of a tiny baby, born prematurely, held in someone's hands, connected to life-supporting tubes. The last printed issue was the supplement published April 20, 2007. The cover story, "21 Places You've Got To See To Believe-America's Hidden Treasures" featured a photo of the John F. Kennedy statue at President's Park, South Dakota.
In January 2014, a watermarked, screener copy of the film was leaked to the internet bearing the burned-in caption, "Property of Fox" at the top and "'Ellen Degeneres' 11/26/13" at the bottom. Ellen DeGeneress' production company was forced to issue a statement regarding the issue.
When Walter arrives in Greenland and asks if there are any cars available, they tell him that they have "a blue one and a red one." Walter tells the man, "I'll take the red one." In the movie, The Matrix (1999), Morpheus tells Neo: "You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."
Producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr., whose father, Samuel Goldwyn, produced The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) in 1947, conceived the idea of doing a remake in 1994, with Jim Carrey in mind for the title role. Goldwyn chose New Line Cinema, which had a positive working relationship with Carrey. The studio bought the rights in 1995, with the understanding that The Samuel Goldwyn Company would be involved in creative decisions. Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz turned in the first draft of the screenplay in July 1997. Ron Howard entered negotiations to direct the same month, as well as cover producing duties with Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment. Howard, Grazer, and Imagine Entertainment eventually left the project in favor of Edtv (1999), leaving the Mitty project in development hell.
In April 2010, Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to star in the lead role. Later that month, Steve Conrad was hired to write the screenplay, with Gore Verbinski announced as director in June 2010. In April 2011, it was announced that Ben Stiller had landed the lead role. In July 2011, it was announced that he was also due to direct the film, due to Verbinski's involvement with The Lone Ranger (2013).
Sean O'Connell's camera is a Nikon F3/T, a titanium version of the Nikon F3 (1980-2001) in limited production in the 1980s. The champagne colored version seen in the film was made from 1982-1985. Later versions were black.
Shirley MacLaine appeared on the cover of Life magazine four times. The first time was with her daughter, Sachi Parker, in the February 9, 1959 issue. The second time was to promote My Geisha (1962) in the February 19, 1961 issue. The third time was to promote The Children's Hour (1961) in the February 23, 1962 issue. The fourth time was to promote Irma la Douce (1963) in the June 21, 1963 issue.
Paramount wanted to start filming on December 12, 2005, despite lack of a final budget, because they would lose the remake rights if they didn't start filming before December 20. Owen Wilson dropped out in October 2005 over creative differences. The Hollywood Reporter speculated that Walter Mitty began to falter after Paramount failed to cast a female lead to star opposite Wilson. Scarlett Johansson had reportedly emerged as the front-runner after screen testing with Wilson earlier in October, but a deal was never signed. Paramount executives 'Brad Grey (I)' and Gail Berman decided to put Walter Mitty in turnaround in November 2005. Samuel Goldwyn Jr. found favor at Twentieth Century Fox. In May 2007, it was announced that Mike Myers was attached to star in the title role. Jay Kogen was hired to write a new script specifically tailored for Myers.
In May 1999, New Line hired Chuck Russell to replace Ron Howard and rewrite the script. Filming was set to begin in early 2000 but was pushed back as Peter Tolan worked on rewrites. In May 2001, Samuel Goldwyn Jr. sued New Line for breach of contract. Goldwyn claimed that the studio extended their 1995 deal until May 2001, then announced that they wanted to transfer the rights for the remake to another company and have Goldwyn surrender his creative input. In November 2002, New Line was forced to revert the film rights back to Goldwyn and took the property to Paramount Pictures. During pre-production discussions between Paramount and DreamWorks Pictures on Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), which starred Jim Carrey, Steven Spielberg, head of DreamWorks, rekindled interest in working with Carrey. In May 2003, Spielberg agreed to direct and brought in DreamWorks to co-finance the Mitty project with Paramount, which acquired DreamWorks in 2006.
When Walter enters the bar in Greenland, the song "Don't You Want Me" is playing as a karaoke song in the background. The song was also used to promote Zoolander 2 (2016) at Paris fashion week in 2015.
In the film's theatrical release, the music playing as Walter leaves 'Life' and goes to Greenland is Wake Up by Arcade Fire but in subsequent television broadcasts, that song is replaced for the scene.
As Walter races for the only bike, dude from the boat yells "stay golden, pony boy!" This is interesting because the same line was used in the movie Step Brothers, said by Katherine Hahn's character. Both, Hahn and Adam Scott, appear in each film, respectively.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
When Walter is about to embark on his Himalayan trip, the t-shirt he pulls out of the rucksack is of legendary Manchester (UK) punk band Buzzcocks. Perhaps a reference to the punk ideals of Walter's dad, who gave him the mohawk hairstyle when he was a teenaged skateboarder.
The last 'Life' cover to be packed after Walter gets fired features George Harrison of The Beatles. In the very next scene, a chalk mural can be seen that says, "Here comes the sun". A song written by Harrison and first released in 1969 on the Abbey Road album.