Trailer for Ben Stiller’s award-season hopeful ‘Walter Mitty’ debuts

Ben Stiller directs and stars in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."
(20th Century Fox)

At CinemaCon this April, 20th Century Fox was the rare studio that showed its award-season hopeful off to movie theater owners. Amidst the special effects-laden summer tentpoles being previewed, Fox’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” footage stood out, earning early praise from exhibitors.

Three months later the studio is hoping fans take to the surrealist film as well, on Tuesday releasing a trailer for the movie far in advance of its Christmas release.

Directed by and starring Ben Stiller, “Walter Mitty” follows a Life magazine photo editor who is so displeased with his mundane life that he often dreams up fantasies based on the beautiful images surrounding him. On a whim, he decides to leave his comfort zone and travel across the globe in search of a missing negative.

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There’s not much dialogue in the new trailer, the tone of which is set by Of Monsters and Men’s single “Dirty Paws.” The music lends an eerie, hopeless quality to scenes of Walter’s daily life -- laying out his tie, eating a bland bowl of cereal, walking to work amidst the masses. But soon after he spots his love interest, played by Kristen Wiig, the track swells and Walter jumps onto a plane to find himself.

“Walter Mitty,” first a 1939 short story by James Thurber, has long attracted interest in Hollywood. In 1996 Samuel Goldwyn Jr. said he intended to bring the story to the big screen again following a 1947 treatment starring Danny Kaye. Before landing at Fox, the movie was set up at three different studios and attracted the interest of talent such as Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Jim Carrey and Johnny Depp.

Filmed in Iceland, Greenland and New York, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” was not inexpensive to produce -- the film had a budget of $90 million. While the movie could become a hit with critics, it remains to be seen if it will attract the broad commercial interest Fox needs for it to be financially successful.

Still, only hours after the trailer debuted online, it was attracting interest from some prominent industry types.

“@THR: First trailer for Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” has debuted.” @RedHourBen looks amazing!— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) July 30, 2013

Check out the trailer below:


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