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What Dreams May Come (1998) Poster

Trivia

Annette Bening auditioned for the role of Annie Nielsen.
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The title is derived from William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" (Act 3, Scene 1): "To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause..."
When Chris goes to the city in Heaven where people are flying around, watch for characters from "Peter Pan" (Wendy, Michael, John) and "Mary Poppins" (Mary Poppins) among the people flying.
Annabella Sciorra initially had no desire to appear in the film, thinking that it would be too intense and sad. A read-through with Robin Williams convinced her otherwise.
When Chris Nielsen is with his dog Katie and comes across Albert Lewis, who is standing in the water, Chris recognizes him in his youth. Albert exclaims, "You last saw me when I was 63 stretched out on a cardiac ward....who wants to be 63 throughout eternity?!"

Robin Williams passed away at age 63 in august 11, 2014.
The "Hell" scenes were shot on the decrepit, rusted hulk of the Essex class aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CV-34). The ship was later sunk to make room for an artificial reef on 17 May, 2006. The "Hell" scenes were shot at the Alameda Naval Air Station in an indoor swimming pool surrounded by blue screen so that the FX could be later added in. Extras spent two 12 hour days in the water as Ghouls.
Chris Nielsen's fictional grave is located in Mount View Cemetery in Oakland, California. Near the scene's filming location is a real gravesite for an Anna Nielsen and her husband.
The original prints of the film, which were stored at a video vault in Universal Studios Hollywood's backlot, were lost in the June 1st, 2008 backlot fire.
One of a small number of films shot on Fuji Velvia (RVM) film stock. Velvia is a type of film used most frequently for still photography of landscapes and other subjects because of its very high color saturation. It is only rarely employed for cinematography, usually when special effects are required.
Dawn Soler, the musical supervisor for the film has said in an interview that Axl Rose intended to have the unreleased Guns N' Roses song "This I Love" in this movie but for some reason the director didn't use the song.
The director's mother is among the people flying around in the great library.
The original score was composed by Ennio Morricone. However, Morricone's score was rejected after some initial screen tests. No explanation for the rejection has ever been given by the director or producers.
In the book by Richard Matheson, Chris Nielsen has four children. In the movie, he has two children who died four years previously before he died. In the book, Albert Lewis is his cousin who was sickly when they were young, and died at an early age. In the movie, Albert Lewis is Chris Nielsen's doctor who passed away before him.
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This was first announced by 20th Century Fox in 1984 with Wolfgang Petersen directing.
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This is not the first time Annabella Sciorra and Robin Williams have worked together on a movie. They both starred in the 1990 comedy Cadillac Man.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the movie the different places from Afterlife are created by the thoughts of main characters: Chris Nielsen imagine his house and landscape from Annie's pictures; the great stairway ad golden city are taken from Marie's toys in her room; at Hell's enter appear so much sunken aircraft carrier, taken from Ian's memories when he modeled aircrafts; Annie's hell is shown like a gray ground full of faces, taken from a conversation between she and Chris; and finally Annie's house in hell is a replicate from his familiar house when all them were alive.
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The main plot is a modern version from the Greek myth of Orpheus. According with it, Orpheus was Thrace's king who fell in love with a forest nymph called Eurydice. Using his special talent for music (he was considered the best music ever between mortals, as well as Apollo was it between the gods), Orpheus conquered Eurydice's love and he married her. Time later, when Eurydice was visiting his fellow nymphs in the forest, she was pursued by Aristaeus, Apollo's grandson and Hunters' god, who tried to force her. Escaping from him, Eurydice was bitten by a poisonous snake, dying quickly. Orpheus, turned crazy for the lost, taken his lyre and he traveled to the underworld of Hades (Greek's Afterlife), in order to ask to the god Hades to recover Eurydice's soul to resurrect her. After to convince Charon (Hades' ferryman) to cross the Stygia river that separates the living world from the land of the dead, and to defeat Cerberus (Hades' guardian, a three-headed dog) using his music, Orpheus arrived at Hades' palace, seducing to the god of the dead and his wife Persephone to accept his petition. Hades put the condition that he would must walk to the Hades' exit not turning back for looking Eurydice, who would walk a few steps behind him. If he never looked her until to leave land of the dead, she would live again. Orpheus tried to accomplish the mission, but he doubted when he was a few steps of the exit, losing her again when he turns back to verify if Hades' had lied to him. According an extended version of the story, Orpheus wandered by Greece to meet the Muses, nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, joking them in bad terms. Get angry, the muses killed Orpheus violently and broke his lyre against a stones. Zeus, touched by his death, met Orpheus with Eurydice in Elysium Fields (the side of the Hades reserved to good souls), meanwhile his lyre was converted in the Lyra constellation as remembrance of them story. It was the inspiration of the cult called Orphic Mysteries or Orphism.
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Everytime that Chris is almost to lose himself in his Annie's searching, he falls to the water, submerging totally.
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When Chris leaves Annie's at cemetery and he vanishes from Earth, Chris appeared running by a tunnel with a white light at the end. This tunnel is the same painted by Hieronymus Bosh in his 1490's painting "Ascension of the Blessed", and depicted in the 1975's best seller "Life After Life", written by Dr. Raymond Moody.
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The main colors appear at different times, being the dominant in some scenes:

-Red - The entrance from Hell, full of flames.

-Blue - Chris watches a big tree lose its leaves, reflecting his sadness (Annie ruins her painting with acid).

-Green - When Chris visits Annie in the psychiatric clinic.

-Yellow - The great stairway full of people and the city between mountains, illuminated by an eternal sunset.

-Black - Chris crosses a stormy sea in a raft.

-White - Chris runs by a tunnel toward a white light at the end from it.
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In his searching for Annie's soul, Chris faces the four elements (water, earth, fire and air) to find her:

-Water - Chris leaves Afterlife to approach Hell, crossing a stormy sea in a raft with Albert and The Tracker.

-Earth - Chris arrives at Hell, walking between sinking aircraft carriers.

-Fire - Albert try to enter in a place full of ghost soldiers, stopped by Chris in the last moment. All this place appeared surrounded by flames.

-Air - After walking by a ground full of faces, Chris made a false step and he falls to a great abyss together so much souls, finally locating Annie.
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When Chris, Albert and The Tracker arrive at Hell, they can be an aircraft carrier called Cerberus. In Greek Mythology, Cerberus was a ferocious three-headed dog, guardian of Hades (land of the dead), which mission was to avoid that living people entered to Hades, and that spirits of the dead not escape from it.
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At a point of the movie, a dead Chris forces to a living Annie to write his name while she is writing in her diary. According to so much supernatural investigators it's called Automatic Writing, a technique which a living people to blank his mind to have it empty of thoughts, allowing to a ghost or spirit use the hand of the living to write messages from Afterlife. It was shown in The Changeling (1980).
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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