- Approval of God: Despite reservations about Leonardo DiCaprio's casting at first, the real Frank approved of the movie and called it "80% true".
- All-Star Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks play the leads. Martin Sheen plays the father of the woman DiCaprio's character wants to marry
- California Doubling: Many location shots, both interior, and exterior, were done in the Los Angeles area, particularly for the Florida scenes. The scenes set in France were filmed in Montreal and Quebec City.
- Career Resurrection: For Leonardo DiCaprio alongside Gangs of New York (also released in 2002). Unlike Gangs, where Bill the Butcher and Daniel Day-Lewis was credited for carrying the film, Leonardo was clearly the central lead and star of Catch Me If You Can (albeit supported by Christopher Walken and Tom Hanks in supporting turns). Frank Abagnale was a more complex character than Amsterdam Vallon (a rather classic Hero's Journey Audience Surrogate). Both films by major directors proved that Leonardo was more than a pretty face made famous by Titanic (1997). With Catch Me If You Can showing his range in a part that calls him to shift from comic to dramatic registers while also taking his usual romantic leading role characters and giving it a darker edge. More than that, Catch Me If You Can was a major commercial success unlike Gangs of New York which made a smaller profit than expected.
- Dawson Casting: Frank ages from 16 to his early twenties over the course of the film; he was played by a 27-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio. Justified in that the real Frank Abagnale looked older than his age, which was how he got away with many of his scams, and it's invoked in the movie when Hanratty's initial profiling of Abagnale after their first encounter includes being age 26 — 30. In fact, DiCaprio arguably looks younger than Abagnale at the same age; here's a comparison of the real 29-year-old Abagnale on To Tell the Truth compared to 27-year-old DiCaprio in the digital recreation of the show.
- Development Hell: The movie was in development long enough that the rights defaulted back to Frank Abagnale numerous times, with a six-figure sum usually attached for the trouble. He couldn't help but laugh at the irony that he was making money for not making a film.
- Hey, It's That Place!: Mrs. Abagnale's house, after she remarried, was the same house used for Father of the Bride (1991).
- Star-Making Role: Oddly averted for Amy Adams, who despite being prominently featured as Frank's girlfriend had to wait until Enchanted some years later to become an A-lister. Spielberg actually cast her in order to make that star, and said he was crushed when her career didn't take off immediately. According to Amy herself, she didn't work for a full year afterwards until Junebug and the subsequent Oscar nomination came along.
- Throw It In!: When filming the scene where Frank meets his father in a fancy restaurant and Frank Sr. reminisces about meeting Frank's mother (who he is now divorced from) in France during World War II, Christopher Walken did the first few takes straight. Then during one take Walken suddenly broke down crying. Spielberg was so moved that he used it in the movie.
- What Could Have Been:
- Johnny Depp was the original choice for Frank.
- James Gandolfini was originally cast as Carl Hanratty, but had to drop out due to his commitment to The Sopranos.
- When it appeared that Gore Verbinski would direct, Chloë Sevigny was cast as Brenda Strong and Ed Harris was cast as Frank Abagnale Sr. Cameron Crowe, David Fincher and Milo Forman were also considered.
Trivia / Catch Me If You Can