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About Schmidt (2002) Poster

(2002)

Trivia

When Jack Nicholson received the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama, he commented afterward, "I'm a little surprised. I thought we had made a comedy."
The production crew created a lifetime Endowed Scholarship for the real-life Ndugu, Abdallah Mtulu, through the real Childreach Organization.
The Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society is a real organization. Jack Nicholson filmed his scenes at the company's offices, and was given a plaque making him an honorary Woodmen member.
Melissa Hanna, who plays "Dairy Queen Employee", is an employee of the Dairy Queen in Omaha, Nebraska, where her scene was filmed.
When Jack Nicholson met Writer and Director Alexander Payne to discuss his role, Payne had a one-sentence directive for him; it was "Jack, I want you to play a small man."
The film's plot involves the children's charity "Childreach". Since 2002, the year of the film's release, the organization has referenced the film and featured its poster in its literature for prospective child sponsors.
The shot where Schmidt has dozed off while writing a letter in his bathtub is supposed to resemble the Jacques-Louis David painting "Death of Marat".
The word "Ndugu" means "brother" literally in Kiswahili (same as Swahili). It is also used as slang for "friend" as in the U.S.
Once the filmmakers bought the rights to the Louis Begley novel, they kept the title and the main character, but changed just about everything else. In the book, the main character lived in the Hamptons, and his daughter was about to marry a lawyer. One element Alexander Payne considered keeping from the novel was Warren Schmidt's anti-Semitism, which would have been kept by having Dermot Mulroney's character Randall be Jewish (as was the lawyer who Jeanie was getting ready to marry in the book), but Payne decided the movie would work better if Schmidt was not a bigot.
A scene that echoes Jack Nicholson's famous diner scene in Five Easy Pieces (1970) (his exchange with the waitress) was in an early cut of the movie, in which Schmidt concedes in a cowardly fashion to the dictates of the waitress. Though the preview audience went wild over it, Writer and Director Alexander Payne cut it from the final film, because he felt that the scene was too much of a pointed reference to Nicholson's iconography, and that something so referential took the audience out of the film.
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Listed on a cinema marquee: (Left) Closed for repairs / (Right) Sideways (2004), also directed by Alexander Payne.
When asked about the film, Louis Begley said he enjoyed it, and thought it kept the spirit of the novel alive, even though the film changed almost everything from the novel. The one thing he said he missed, was the removal of Schmidt's Hispanic girlfriend, a key character in the novel that was dropped in the film version.
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Alexander Payne said the only actor he had in mind for the role of Warren Schmidt was Jack Nicholson, and he was going to do whatever he could to convince him to work on the film.
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Shirley Jones was considered for the role of Roberta Hertzel.
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Two sequels to About Schmidt were written by Louis Begley: Schmidt Delivered and Schmidt Steps Back. Alexander Payne, who has the film rights to the series, has declined to produce either, as he avoids making sequels of his work (he took a similar stance on Sideways (2004), where he declined to produce either of the sequel novels written by Rex Pickett).
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The primary source cited by Wikipedia for its entry on "Woodmen of the World" (Schmidt's employer) is one Alvin J. Schmidt.
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The word Warren finds when doing the puzzle in his study is "Vassal" the solution to the puzzle is "Tabs on the tabs".
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Thomas Haden Church was originally considered for Randall.
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Scenes taking place at the University of Kansas, were shot at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
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The movie theater, by which Warren drives, before he goes to the museum to look at the arrowheads, is the Pioneer 3 in Nebraska City, Nebraska. The "museum" is a Civil War museum in the same town, just down the street.
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Alexander Payne said the screenplay was a hybrid of the novel and his own original screenplay, "The Coward", which he wrote while a student at UCLA. The title, main character, and overall plot and theme were kept from About Schmidt, while The Coward was a story about a closed-minded man having a spiritual awakening as he closes in on the end of his life.
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The person, to whom Warren listens on his car stereo, is conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
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Len Cariou played Ray and Angela Lansbury narrates the Childreach commercial. They played Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett, respectively, in the original Broadway version of the musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."
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The church shown during the wedding rehearsal is in Boulder, Colorado, twenty miles northwest of Denver. The church can be seen on the right from U.S. Highway 36, just as you enter town.
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Alexander Payne didn't meet the writer of the novel, on which the film was loosely based, Louis Begley, until the film's premiere.
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The scene where Warren (Jack Nicholson) is swinging on the monkey bars, was filmed at Steinhart Park, in Nebraska City, Nebraska.
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The exterior shots of the "fraternity house" are of the Tri Delta sorority house at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
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Nationally syndicated political cartoonist Jeff Koterba had a walk-on role in the film. However, it was cut from the final version.
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Other actors were also in the movie but cut before release. These were (with their character names): Tim Driscoll (Grocery Store Manager) and Jeff Morris (Farmer at Gas Station).
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