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Trivia / The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

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  • All-Star Cast: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon and Noah Taylor.
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $50 million. Box office, $34,808,403.
  • The Cast Showoff: Seu Jorge's David Bowie covers. Which are Translated Cover Version, of course.
  • Creator Killer:
    • This movie was one of several 2004 bombs that mixed together with Roy E. Disney's second Save Disney campaign and general turmoil at the Walt Disney Company to bring CEO Michael Eisner's 21-year-long reign to an end. Eisner was forced out the year after this film's release in order to allow president Bob Iger to keep Pixar when they threatened to jump ship.
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    • While Pixar didn't jump ship from Disney, Wes Anderson did; four out of the next five films he directed were distributed by Fox, with other one, Moonrise Kingdom, distributed by Focus Features. Ironically, most of those movies (excepting the aforementioned Moonrise) ended up with Disney following their purchase of 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures in 2019.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • When Bill Ubell is kidnapped by pirates, Bud Cort felt that his character should lose fifty pounds, a decision that made Wes Anderson nervous. Cort proceeded to go through with it, and despite getting ill during the process, he lost fifty pounds.
    • For the five month shoot, Matthew Gray Gubler had to get his hair permed three times.
  • Hostility on the Set: Anjelica Huston claimed in 2019 to have feuded with Bill Murray during the shoot.
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  • In Memoriam: The film was dedicated to Jacques Cousteau.
  • Inspiration for the Work: The characters were inspired by The Great Gatsby and The Magnificent Ambersons. Needless to say, there's also a lot of Jacques Cousteau in Steve Zissou.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • Besides the aforementioned Owen Wilson (whose character even so has a hint of Wilson's usual laid-back demeanor), there's Willem Dafoe as Klaus Daimler. Yes, Dafoe has a fair amount of range (he did play Jesus, after all), but when you think "Willem Dafoe", do you usually think "chronically insecure guy desperately trying to gain the approval of a father figure only six years older than him"?
    • Bud Cort is also completely unrecognizable to Harold and Maude fans here.
  • Prop Recycling: The space suit in the Adventurers' Club is from another Touchstone movie, Mission to Mars.
  • The Red Stapler:
    • The Adidas Rom track shoes made specifically for Team Zissou produced a demand for them in the real world. Although they were never made by Adidas, blogs popped up with directions on how to retrofit a pair, and people also started selling them on eBay. Until 2017, when Adidas did make some official shoes. Currently sold out, however.
    • Red beanies also became quite popular after the movie was released, with companies selling Ned's traffic-light-adorned cap.
  • Throw It In!: Matthew Gray Gubler really twisted his ankle, and it made it into the final cut.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Gwyneth Paltrow was originally set to play Jane Winslett-Richardson, but couldn't because of schedule conflicts. Nicole Kidman expressed interest and Wes Anderson hired her. Kidman was forced to bow out due to other commitments, and Julianne Moore requested the role.
    • Mark Mothersbaugh (also of Devo) composed the score, and at one point Wes Anderson told him he wanted Seu Jorge to either sing Devo or David Bowie in Portugese - Mothersbaugh feels that he could have convinced him to go for Devo if he had "jumped on it".
  • Written-In Infirmity: Jane's pregnancy was added when Cate Blanchett turned out to really be pregnant. Wes Anderson joked that she was taking Method Acting a bit too far.


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