In 1985, composer John Williams and lyricist Leslie Bricusse worked on "Hook", being a stage musical, but the project was scrapped after about ten songs were written. Only one song from the play, "When You're Alone," made it to the film. However, many of the play' themes can be heard in Williams' incidental music for the film.
There were frequent good-natured "battle of wits" exchanges between Williams and Hoffman. In one incident, Hoffman was not happy with his performance and asked for the scene to be re-shot. Williams quipped "Try acting": a reference to the Hoffman / Laurence Olivier exchange on the set of Marathon Man.
Dustin Hoffman's three children make appearances in the movie. His youngest son, Max Hoffman plays 5 year-old Peter Pan. His daughter, Rebecca Hoffman plays Jane in the play at the beginning of the movie, and his oldest son, Jake Hoffman plays a little league player in Jack's baseball game.
The teddy bear from Captain Hook's cabin was accidentally given to Julia Roberts by Steven Spielberg when she checked in to hospital for nervous exhaustion. Spielberg realized his mistake the night before he was due to shoot a scene in Hook's cabin, and the prop department had to rustle up a look-alike in a matter of hours.
Both Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams's stunt doubles were named Keith. When Steven Spielberg called for Keith to come to the set, both Keith's showed up. Eventually, Hoffman's stunt double changed his name from Keith to Keifo.
Kevin Kline was originally set to play Peter Pan, but had to drop out of the film because of Soapdish which was having major re-shoots, re-writes and taking much longer than expected to complete shooting.
'Sir James M Barrie', at the end of the novel "Peter and Wendy", says that Wendy had a granddaughter - named Margaret, not Moira. However, he has Wendy give her full name as "Wendy Moira Angela Darling".
When Peter first sees Tinkerbell in the nursery, she crashes into the doll house and falls. He keeps calling her "little bug." In FernGully: The Last Rainforest he did Batty's voice over and said this to the main character Crysta, "Oh, you're a strange little bug."
According to Frank Sanello's biography "Spielberg," Nick Castle was originally attached to direct the film, and had been developing the screenplay for the film for a long time. Once Steven Spielberg expressed interest in being involved, the producers (and possibly heads of the studio) quickly gave Nick Castle a six-figure settlement, gross points and a "screen story" credit so that he could step down and Spielberg could helm the production.
Peter clapping his hands to heal Tinker Bell was a reference to the times when Peter Pan was performed on stage. Peter would ask the audience to clap to heal Tink. In the Disney animated film, the clapping was left out because Peter couldn't interact with audience and ask them to clap for Tinker Bell.
The film contains a number of subtle references to the James Barrie play and book. These include: * An elderly Tootles is one of the characters in the film, and is referred to as Wendy's "first orphan". Tootles was one of the original Lost Boys. * In both the book/play and the film, Wendy greets Peter by calling him "Boy". * Granny Wendy recites a prayer-like speech as she leaves Maggie and Jack in the nursery, asking the lights to guard the sleeping babes. This is a direct quotation from the book. In the book Mrs. Darling says, "Night-lights are the eyes a mother leaves behind her to guard her children." (Chapter 2: The Shadow) * When Tinker Bell is first trying to get Peter to remember her, she says, "I drank poison for you!" This is a direct reference to the events in Chapter 13: Do You Believe in Fairies. * The invisible dinner sequence is inspired by the lines in the book: "The difference between (Peter) and the other boys at such a time was that they knew it was make-believe, while to him make-believe and true were exactly the same thing. This sometimes troubled them, as when they had to make-believe that they had had their dinners." from Chapter 6: The Little House * After human-sized Tinkerbell kisses Peter, and he remembers he has to save his children, Tink says to him, "You silly ass, Go!" In the book, Tinkerbell repeatedly calls Peter a "silly ass". * Toward the end of the movie, Tootles says "I've missed the adventure again, haven't I, Peter?" This is in reference to the book, as it is mentioned that the reason Tootles was so humble was because, by some misfortune, he missed most of the adventures the Lost Boys participated in.
A number of lines in the film's dialogue are direct homages to the James Barrie book. Among them are: * "When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousands pieces and they went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies." In the film this is recited by Granny Wendy and Maggie Banning. In the book it is spoken by Peter to Wendy. (Chapter 3: Come Away, Come Away!) * "I can't come with you. I have forgotten how to fly. I'm old, Peter. Ever so much more than twenty. I grew up a long time ago." The line is spoken by an aged Wendy to Peter in both the film and book. * "Strike, Peter. Strike true." In the film this is spoken by a defeated Hook to Peter. In the book it is spoken by a guilty Tootles to Peter in Chapter 6: The Little House. * When Peter and his family arrive in London at the start of the film, Peter tells his Children "first impressions are the most important". In the book, Peter tells the lost boys "Look your best, first impressions are awfully important" when they first enter the house they built for Wendy in Chapter 6: The little House. * When Peter confronts Hook for the final battle at the end of the film, they say: "Peter Pan, prepare to meet thy doom." "Dark and sinister man, have at thee." This exchange is almost directly lifted from the book, Chapter 15: Hook or Me This Time, the original line being: "Proud and insolent youth, prepare to meet thy doom." "Dark and sinister man, have at thee." * During the duel between Peter and Hook, Hook says "Thus perished Peter Pan". This is a flip of the original line "Thus perished Jas. Hook", which is from Chapter 15: Hook or Me This Time. * Peter's line in the movie "to live will be an awfully big adventure" refers to a line in the book where Hook says: "to die will be an awfully big adventure" in Chapter 8: the Mermaid's Lagoon.
In the scene where Hook enters Wendy's home to kidnap the children, just as Nana the dog is shown. She can be heard barking before waking Toodles. It's possible to hear Nana barking "woof! woof! hoof! hoof! HOOK!" To which Toodles then awakes and starts to say Hook.
Dustin Hoffman has appeared in two films about "Peter Pan" (Hook and Finding Neverland). Following his appearance in "Hook", close friend and former roommate Gene Hackman began calling him "Hook" as a joke. The name stuck and his contemporaries call him by that nickname to this day.
There is many references to the story of Peter Pan in Wendy's house: In the nursery the window clasp is in the shape of Captain Hook's hook; the wall boarders are painted scenes from the Peter Pan story; in Toodles' room is a scale model of the Jolly Roger in a bottle; Wendy's brother John's top hat and glasses; Wendy's youngest brother Michael's teddy bear.
While Peter is on his cellphone, the children are running around him. Jack stands in front of a light which makes his shadow grow large against the wall. The shadow is right next to Peter while he is on the phone. This is a reference to Peter Pan and his shadow.
When Granny Wendy is telling the children about the story of Peter Pan, she is holding one of the original printings of the book. It is a first edition version which is noticeable by the olive color, and the gold gilt design on the front cover. The version was printed in 1911 as the first novelization of Peter and Wendy.
The film originally had a shooting schedule of 76 days and a budget of $48 million, but production took longer than expected. Thus, the shooting schedule expanded to 116 days (40 days over the original), and the budget rose from roughly $60 million to $80 million. Steven Spielberg blames himself for this, saying, "I began to work at a slower pace than I usually do."
As revealed in a June 1990 draft of the screenplay, with Nick Castle as the director, Peter Banning was originally 35-years-old, Moira was in her early 30s, Jack was 11, Maggie was 5, and Granny Wendy was 92. In the finalized draft, when Steven Spielberg took over the position of director, Peter and Moira became 40-year-olds, as it is revealed in the film that Peter met and fell in love with Moira when they were both 13, and Maggie became a 7-year-old in order to match Amber Scott's then-real life age. Jack and Granny Wendy's ages remained the same.
One of very few films whose 70mm prints kept the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio (letterboxed within the 70mm 2.20:1 frame), instead of simply being cropped to 2.20:1, as was done with most widescreen films blown up to 70mm.