Anna Paquin, who plays a love interest to Jeff Daniels in the Squid and the Whale, played his daughter nine years earlier in _Fly Away Home (1996)_ (in which their characters attempt to set a flock of orphaned Canada Geese back on their migratory path). Upon the release of the Squid and the Whale, Jeff Daniels said that this previous experience made the filming a bit awkward for both of them. His comment to one interviewer about how he and Paquin got through the filming of their intimate scenes was, "we tried not to think about...you know, geese."
Although the movie is heavily autobiographical, director and writer Noah Baumbach said he never pretended to have written "Hey You" by Pink Floyd for a school contest. In reality, a friend of his did it with a Who song, and Baumbach borrowed the story because it felt so much like something that could've come from his childhood.
'Jeff Daniels (I')' character says that he is going to SUNY Binghamton to do a reading towards the end of the movie. While the film is not actually shot on the campus of BU, the actor who plays Ivan, William Baldwin, is an actual alum of Binghamton University.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Ivan is strikingly similar in appearance and mannerisms to renowned author David Foster Wallace. Bernard's excuse for Joan leaving him throughout the film is because he is not as successful a writer as he once was, and though this is never proven in Joan's character and reasoning, her getting together with Ivan is perhaps the only proof Bernard has of this excuse, and why he shows so much physical pain in reaction to it.