Frequently, members of the press receive “swag” from movie studios and PR firms, a souvenir of sorts to remind reporters about movies – a stuffed animal, a t-shirt, maybe action figures or books.
Not as common, though, is a letter from a filmmaker, a personal and sincere expression of the director’s special connection to a story. I, for one, was quite surprised to find a tiny cardboard box at my front door yesterday including a note from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty director and star Ben Stiller, along with a camera-shaped flash drive (fitting as Walter Mitty is a photographer) containing new photos from the movie, which you can see below. A decidedly different movie than others he has directed – Tropic Thunder, Zoolander, The Cable Guy and Reality Bites – Stiller expresses to the movie-covering media his fond childhood memories of James Thurber’s short story and Steve Conrad’s script that made it irresistible to him.
In some ways, the note, pictured below, is quite profound, Stiller admitting how his own life is not one he ever imagined he would live (he had goals to be a very different kind of actor), very harmonious with the message of Walter Mitty, a man often lost in his own thoughts, some rather fantastical, wishing he was someone or somewhere else. ”He’s not there in the moment,” as Stiller explains, concluding with the thought that he hopes the story inspires audiences as it did he to “stop dreaming and start living.”
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is slated for a December 25, 2013 release and also stars Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Sean Penn and Adam Scott, among many others.