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Ben Stiller on Hollywood’s Long Journey With ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’

3 December 2013 7:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

At a recent Q&A to promote “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” actor-director Ben Stiller was asked by the moderator, filmmaker pal Jay Roach, if the work was at all autobiographical.

“Are you Mitty? Is this wish fulfillment for you?” Roach recalls asking Stiller about the movie’s tale of a middle-aged dreamer who embarks on a life-changing, globe-trotting adventure that finds him skateboarding down a highway in Iceland and swimming with a shark in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic.

It’s a question the ambitious Stiller gets often, so that when Roach, the man who directed him in the first two “Meet the Parents” films, inquired, he didn’t bat an eyelash. “Yeah, of course,” Stiller replied. “I think that’s what made it relatable.”

It’s not that the multihyphenate, who’s also a producer on the pic, necessarily identifies with the character, but he understands the draw. »

- Ramin Setoodeh and Dave McNary

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