- All-Star Cast: The movie stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Kate Hudson and... Stacy Ferguson of the Black Eyed Peas (aka Fergie). The first six are Oscar winners, the seventh a nominee. Didn't stop most critics from panning it, though the performances still got praised.
- Awesome, Dear Boy:
- The reason Daniel Day Lewis took the role. He had been hoping to take a break after his previous film, and producers never believed he would accept it.
- Rob Marshall chose to make the film because he was enamored with 1960s Italian style.
- California Doubling: The film was mostly shot in London, due to filming in Italy being quite expensive.
- Cast the Runner-Up: Penélope Cruz claimed she auditioned first for Claudia, then Luisa and finally got cast as Carla.
- The Cast Show Off: Penelope Cruz had trained as a singer and dancer in her childhood but had yet to show those skills in a film.
- Dawson Casting: Subverted. Guido in the original show is angsting about turning forty. Daniel Day Lewis was fifty at the time, so they aged Guido up by ten years. It also adds another layer to his marriage to Luisa, given the fifteen year difference between Lewis and Marion Cotillard.
- Dyeing for Your Art: Both Fergie and Penelope Cruz were required to gain seventeen pounds for the film.
- Fake Nationality:
- Sophia Loren is the only actual Italian in the film's cast. That being said, a few characters who were Italian in the stage version change nationalities to accommodate their actors. Carla becomes Spanish because of Penelope Cruz, Stephanie becomes American for Kate Hudson, and Lilli is English for Judi Dench (although her last name is La Fleur, indicating that she might be French). Luisa is said to have Italian ancestry but is meant to be French, like Marion Cotillard.
- Claudia meanwhile has an ambiguously continental European accent and the last name Jenssen - implying she's either Danish, Norwegian or Swiss. Presumably this is because the fair skinned blonde Nicole Kidman would not be believably Italian to audiences.
- Method Acting: Daniel Day Lewis learned Italian and frequently spoke it on set for the role. He also had his dressing room designed like a 1960s director's office.
- The Other Marty: Javier Bardem was cast as Gudio in the film. But he dropped out due to exhaustion, and Daniel Day Lewis was cast instead.
- Recursive Adaptation: The film adaptation is an adaptation of a stage musical that is in itself a musical adaptation of the film 8½.
- What Could Have Been:
- The part of Claudia was offered to Catherine Zeta-Jones. Not liking how small the role was, she asked for it to be expanded. When the director refused, Nicole Kidman was cast instead. Anne Hathaway auditioned too but was turned down for being too young. Amy Adams and Gwyneth Paltrow were also considered, while Juliette Binoche and Demi Moore auditioned.
- Barbra Streisand was strongly considered for the part of Lilli. Ultimately it went to Dame Judi Dench.
- Katie Holmes lobbied hard for the part of Luisa, which eventually went to Marion Cotillard.
- Rob Marshall pushed for Marion Cotillard to get a Best Actress Oscar nomination rather than Supporting Actress, not wanting her to get in the way of Penelope Cruz (who was up for Best Supporting Actress). She ultimately didn't get nominated.
- Javier Bardem was originally cast as Guido, but dropped out citing exhaustion following the 2007 Oscar season. George Clooney and Johnny Depp were considered as replacements, and Antonio Banderas (who played the part on Broadway) turned it down before Daniel Day-Lewis accepted.
- Emily Blunt claims her agent kept trying to get her to audition for the film - possibly for Luisa or Stephanie given her age at the time. She was terrified at the idea of singing in front of people and refused. She got over it by the time Rob Marshall was making Into the Woods.
Trivia / Nine