your mind is the scene of the crime.
director and writer: christopher nolan
action / mystery / sci-fi / thriller
leonardo dicaprio as cobb
joseph gordon-levitt as arthur
ellen page as ariadne
tom hardy as eames
ken watanabe as saito
dileep rao as yusuf
cillian murphy as robert fischer
tom berenger as peter browning
marion cotillard as mal
pete postlethwaite as maurice fischer
michael caine as miles
- during production, details of the film’s plot were kept secret. christopher nolan, who wrote the script, cryptically described it as a contemporary sci-fi action thriller “set within the architecture of the mind.”
- the labyrinthine style of the movie’s logo resembles the logo of christopher nolan’s production company syncopy.
- evan rachel wood was christopher nolan’s 1st choice to play ariadne, but she turned it down. nolan considered casting emily blunt, rachel mcadams and emma roberts, but chose ellen page instead.
- christopher nolan’s 1st film since his feature debut, following (1998), that is a completely original work. all of his films between them are either remakes or based on comics, novels or short stories.
- leonardo dicaprio was emma thomas and christopher nolan’s only choice for the role of cobb.
- the name of leonardo dicaprio’s character is the same as that of one of the main characters in christopher nolan’s first feature film, following (1998). further, both the characters have the same profession - they supposedly play thieves.
- christopher nolan first pitched the film to warner bros. after the completion of his 3rd feature, insomnia (2002/i), and was met with approval from the studio. however, it was not yet written at the time, and nolan determined that rather than writing it as an assignment, it would be more suitable to his working style if he wrote it as a spec script and then presented it to the studio whenever it was completed. so he went off to write it, thinking it would take “a couple of months”, but it ultimately took nearly 8 years.
- there are a total of 5 academy award nominees in the cast (tom berenger, leonardo dicaprio, pete postlethwaite, ken watanabe, ellen page) and 2 academy award winners (michael caine and marion cotillard).
- the use of the édith piaf song “rien de rien” is used as a plot device. marion cotillard played piaf in la vie en rose (2007). christopher nolan has stated that this is “pure coincidence”. after cotillard was cast nolan intended to change the song to eliminate speculation on the subject, but composer hans zimmer persuaded him to keep it.
- the 3rd christopher nolan movie in 5 years in which cillian murphy’s character spends a significant portion of his on-screen time with a cloth bag over his head.
- “yusuf” is the arabic form of “joseph”, the biblical figure from genesis 37-50, who had the gift of interpreting dreams. he was sold out by his brothers to pharaoh. through his gift of dream interpretation he helped pharaoh to prepare for the disaster of the “7 lean years” and was rewarded as a result. the same character is also a prophet in the koran.
- prints of the movie were shipped to theaters under the name “hour glass”.
- contrary to popular belief, hans zimmer did not compose the music that appears in the third trailer for this film. the track, titled “mind heist”, was actually composed by zack hemsey.
- the “paradox staircase” (with a woman perpetually picking up papers) that arthur shows ariadne is a reference to a lithograph print by the dutch graphic artist m.c. escher. the print is usually called “ascending and descending” or “the infinite staircase”, and was first printed in march 1960; escher is well-known for his drawings exploring optical illusions and real architectural, mathematical, and philosophical principles rendered in fantastical ways.
- according to cinematographer wally pfister, warner brothers executives approached christopher nolan about making the film in 3d, but he refused the idea, claiming “it will distract the storytelling experience of inception”.
- joseph gordon-levitt performed all his own stunts during the fight scene in the spinning hallway.
- just as cillian murphy’s character was named robert fischer jr. as a tribute to champion chess player bobby fischer, his father’s (pete postlethwaite) character is named maurice fischer as an homage to artist m.c. escher (full name maurits cornelis escher), whose art was clearly an inspiration for many of the special effects in the film.
- the slow, gloomy, blaring trombones in the main theme of the film score are actually based on an extremely slowed down version of the fast, high pitched trumpets in the beginning of the édith piaf song “non, je ne regrette rien,” which is used as a plot device in the film. furthermore, when music is heard by someone who is currently within a dream, the music is perceived as slowed down. thus, the main theme of the film score is almost exactly what the beginning of “non, je ne regrette rien” would sound like to a dreamer. this thematic device is brought to its logical conclusion when the song plays at the end of the credits, signaling that the audience is about to ‘wake up’ from the film.
- the barrel chairs in saito’s dining room were designed by frank lloyd wright for his famous house, fallingwater. the owners of fallingwater didn’t like them, so they were never used there.
- ariadne, in greek mythology, was the daughter of king minos of crete and his queen, pasiphaë, daughter of helios. she aided theseus in overcoming the minotaur by giving him a ball of red fleece thread that she was spinning, so that he could find his way out of the minotaur’s labyrinth. the name is also a reference to hugo von hofmannsthal’s setting of the myth for richard strauss’s opera ariadne auf naxos (1988). the opera is a play within a play, just as the movie is a dream within a dream.
- the film has around 500 visual effect shots.
- the 5th christopher nolan movie to enter the imdb top 250, along with memento (2000), batman begins (2005), the prestige (2006), the dark knight (2008).
- phonetically, “cobb” means “dream” in sanskrit, hindi, urdu, and punjabi.
- the character of eames is named after charles and ray eames, a married couple well known in the fields of furniture design, buildings architecture and avant-garde / documentary filmmaking.