The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) Poster


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Deep Thought reveals the answer to the ultimate question 42 minutes into the film.
Douglas Adams's head appears as a planet during Slartibartfast's tour of the galaxy.
Easter Egg: The DVD includes an "Improbability Drive" item on every menu. Clicking this takes you to a random point in one of the bonus features. If you use it several times, you get to see a strange cartoon, which is apparently the same one Deep Thought watches in the movie.
Shada, the prison planetoid of the Time Lords, can be seen in the background during the factory floor scene on Magrathea. Shada was featured in an un-aired serial of Doctor Who (1963) that Douglas Adams wrote. Characters and settings from "Shada" appeared in Douglas Adams' novel "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency", which was mostly a version of the same story Adams had used for a 1979 Doctor Who (1963) serial,"City of Death".
When Ford and Arthur drink at the pub early in the film, a middle-aged blonde can be seen watching them. According to the DVD commentary, this actress (Su Elliot) played Trillian in the London stage version of the story - a fact the director was unaware of until the day of shooting.
According to Douglas Adams' notes, he wanted the name of the character "Slartibartfast" to sound extremely rude, but still pass BBC's rules on what could be broadcast - he actually started with "Phartiphukborlz" and changed it, bit by bit, until it was acceptable.
The nightgown/bathrobe Arthur Dent wore was the most expensive and difficult of all costumes (including Zaphod's heads and Humma's eyes). The fabric had to be sewn on stage and was flown in from Turkey.
The old lady sitting at the street side table oblivious to or uninterested in what's going on around her is Douglas Adams's mother. The director didn't give any acting directions to her or anybody else in the scene for what they were suppose to do, to simulate chaos, so she just sat there reading a newspaper.
This film was in "Development Hell" for over twenty years. At one point, Douglas Adams insisted it would be made "sometime before the last Trump". Just prior to his death, a deal was almost in place with Jay Roach directing and starring Hugh Laurie (Arthur), Jim Carrey (Zaphod Beeblebrox) and the late Nigel Hawthorne (Slartibartfast).
The producers have stated that this film is not a literal translation of the books (just as the books were not a literal translation of the original radio show), but all of the new ideas and characters came from Douglas Adams himself. The hired writer simply came aboard to improve structure and make the screenplay more coherent.
The names of all five books - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life the Universe and Everything, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, and Mostly Harmless - are each mentioned throughout the course of the movie. The last, however, ended up on the cutting room floor and can be seen in the Deleted Scenes of the DVD.
In one shot, the Apple Mac logo is visible on the side of Deep Thought, the giant computer. Douglas Adams owned the first two Apple Macintosh computers delivered to the United Kingdom, while Stephen Fry (the voice of the Book) owned the third. Both men were/are keen advocates of the Mac.
Belgium (which, according to the original radio series, is the most unspeakably rude word there is) can be heard in the movie three or so times.
Bill Murray, Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp (a huge Douglas Adams fan) were also considered for the part of Zaphod Beeblebrox, along with Will Ferrell. But after Sam Rockwell's audition, director Garth Jennings immediately chose him.
The car that Ford Prefect "introduces himself to" is actually a Ford Prefect, from whence Ford got his "Earth name". Despite being a Ford, the car was never manufactured or sold in the United States, but produced in Ireland, the UK, Malaysia and New Zealand, and sold in Europe, Asia and Australia between 1938 and 1959.
The fancy dress party contains several references to Douglas Adams' 40th birthday party. At the real party, Adams introduced Darwinian Evolutionist Richard Dawkins to the future Mrs Dawkins, actress Lalla Ward. In the film, Arthur is seen reading Dawkins' book, "The Selfish Gene", when he meets Tricia, who is dressed as Charles Darwin. Adams and Dawkins became very good friends after Adams received a fan letter from him.
As the emergency escape pod crashes on Vogsphere, the sound made by it is the same as the plane from the end of 'In the Flesh' the first track on Pink Floyd's The Wall. Douglas Adams was a personal friend of Pink Floyd and even played at one of their shows.
The movie was first optioned in 1982 by producers Ivan Reitman, Joe Medjuck and Michael C. Gross. Douglas Adams wrote three drafts for them per his contract. During this time, Medjuck and Gross were considering Bill Murray or Dan Aykroyd to play Ford Prefect, but then Aykroyd sent them his idea for Ghostbusters (1984) and they did that movie instead.
When the Heart of Gold heads for Magrathea the Infinite Improbability Drive changes it into a bell, some cherries, a melon and a lemon - all common features on the reel of a fruit machine game, emphasising the randomness of the process.
Both actors who play Marvin in the movie (Alan Rickman as his voice, Warwick Davis as his body) portray Hogwarts professors in the Harry Potter series (Rickman as Severus Snape and Davis as Filius Flitwick).
Several minutes into the credits, a final Guide entry is shown. This is the "careless words/problem of scale" entry, well known to fans of other incarnations of the Guide.
Faint screams can be heard a moment before Mr. Prosser speaks. In the book, Mr. Prosser is a direct male-line descendant of Genghis Khan, the reason why he wears little fur hats and often hears a thousand hairy horsemen shouting in his head.
John Malkovich's character, religious leader Humma Kavula, was created especially for the movie by Douglas Adams. He does not appear in any previous version of the story. However, the Jatravartids, of whom he is the spiritual leader, are mentioned in the books.
When Ford and Zaphod first greet each other on the Heart of Gold, Zaphod calls Ford "Ix" and then quickly corrects himself. In the novel, Ford is from planet Betelgeuse Seven, which was destroyed during the unspecified "Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster of Gal./Sid./Year 03758". "Ix" was a nickname that Ford's childhood schoolmates gave him, which, according to the book, translates as "boy who is not able satisfactorily to explain what a Hrung is, nor why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven."
Sam Rockwell has said in interviews that his portrayal of Zaphrod was influenced by three people: Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley and Vince Vaughn.
The passage of 10 October 2010 (10/10/10) publicized the fact that, 101010, a binary equivalent of the number 42, is the number that received considerable attention in popular culture because of its appearance in Douglas Adams' 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' as the answer to "the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything".
Some additional shots were filmed to fit in with Arthur waking up at the beginning of the movie. In one shot (included in an early trailer, but cut from the film, and not on the DVD), Arthur's identification as a BBC employee can be seen. The original Hitch Hiker's radio and TV versions were produced by the BBC.
This is the ninth version of the "Hitchhiker's Guide". It has previously appeared as a radio series, two record albums, novels, a television series (The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (1981)), a computer game, a stage show, a comic book, a video game (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984)) and a towel. (The game version is not, in fact, a video game, but was an Infocom "interactive fiction" {text only} game, plotted/scripted by Douglas Adams, programmed by Steve Meretsky, which has been available to play free on the BBC Radio 4 website since 2005.)
The Hitchiker's Guide is a parody of "The Encyclopedia Galatica" from Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels.
A painting of Douglas Adams and his wife Jane Belson appears on the Heart of Gold. Other Adams cameos include a few handles on some cupboards in Humma Kavula's office being shaped like Adams' nose.
The relevance of Sector ZZ9 is the fact that in the UK if a person has NFA (No fixed Abode (No place to live)) then the POSTCODE is recorded as ZZ99 3VZ, thus Both Trillian and Arthur come from Sector ZZ9 and thanks to the Vogons they are both of NFA.
In a chaotic scene shot in London, fans can spot Douglas Adams's brother James Thrift, sister Jane Garnier and daughter Polly Jane Rocket Adams rushing about in the general panic, as the earth is destroyed by the Vogons.
The original Marvin from the TV series appears in line when the trio go to rescue Trillian from the Vogons.
Thomas Lennon was originally considered for the role of Ford Perfect before eventually being cast as the voice of Eddie the Computer.
Early in the film's development, an unknown Tim Roth was seriously considered to play Arthur Dent.
The scene in which Arthur learns the Guide's sole entry for earth is "Harmless" and that the updated version was to be "Mostly Harmless" was filmed but didn't make the final cut (it is included as a bonus deleted scene on the DVD). It would have been seen when Arthur and Ford arrive on the Vogon ship.
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The Heart of Gold bridge set had so many light bulbs that the bulbs could only run for eight minutes at a time to prevent the set from catching fire.
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The Vogon written language seen on their release forms as well as in a bilingual caption in the Magrathean video which says "Information Deleted", is actually a form of English. Pitman shorthand, once taught to hundreds of thousands of office-workers mainly in the British Commonwealth, is a series of straight and curved strokes meant to write down sounds much faster than regular writing. As discussed in a book about the movie, the Vogons use a slightly blocky but recognizable form of "Pitman 2000", the most recent version of Pitman shorthand published in 1970. It occurs in the Vogon release forms, posters on the wall which say "Fire Exit Escape Map" (over a hopelessly confusing maze of arrows with a spot at the center saying "You Are Here") and "Are you depressed? Destruction Therapy!"
According to the DVD commentary, the animators who created the animated Guide entries would occasionally sneak in hidden in-jokes into their animations that were deemed too inappropriate for a family film and had to be removed.
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The "babel fish" translator that Ford puts in Arthur's ear inspired the Babelfish webpage (first on altavista, now on yahoo), which provides translations to and from several of the world's languages. The name "Babelfish," in turn, is a play on the Tower of Babel in the Bible.
When hurriedly giving possible questions to what the answer 42 might mean Arthur's suggestion of "How many roads must a man walk down?" is a reference to the Bob Dylan song "Blowin' In The Wind". It's the opening line to the song.
After Jay Roach decided to pass on directing the movie, he brought the property to Spike Jonze. Jonze also passed, but suggested Nick Goldsmith and Garth Jennings (also known as Hammer and Tongs, also soon-to-be former music video directors), who accepted.
Jack Davenport was considered for the role of Arthur Dent, but in the end it was decided he was simply too good-looking for the role of the ultimate everyman Dent. Douglas Adams had originally wanted Hugh Grant to also play Arthur, but the idea was nixed.
One major change originally made for the film (and apparently the only one not originating from Douglas Adams) was that Trillian was to have been revealed as being only half-human. This plot point is referenced in pre-release publicity including the film-tie-in reissue of the original novel, cast and director interviews and the official "making of" book. Before release, however, this plot point was deleted from the film.
The initial scene, with the dolphins prancing about, is a dolphin show in the "Loro Parque" Zoo, in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Spain - which is also the only place in Europe to feature an "Orca Ocean", as well as having the largest parrot collection in the world.
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The pub which Ford takes Arthur to in the beginning of the film is the Beehive Pub of Hertfordshire, England.
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In the novel, it is explained that Mr Prosser is a reincarnation of Genghis Khan, and Steve Pemberton has clearly been made up to resemble him.
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The Magrathean holomessage appears as if it would become three dimensional with red/green 3-D glasses, but it is only a gimmick. It doesn't actually become 3D, and if you look closely, he's only rimmed with red and blue. If it were a real 3D effect his whole face would be blurred with red/blue overlays.
When Arthur and Slartibartfast move from the loading bay on their way to the factory floor, another carriage is seen entering the room and a klaxon sounds. This is the same klaxon that sounds at UK fairground rides (Normally the ghost Train) to signal the end/start of the ride
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The note that Ford uses in the pub to buy six pints "and keep the change" is a £50 Bank of England note with the engraving of Sir John Houblon on the back. In the original 1978 radio version and in The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (1981), it was "a fiver".
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Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits.
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The hymn sung by the Jatravartidian followers of Humma Kavula was recorded at St. Martin's Church, Highgate, London on 19 June 2004. The hymn was sung by several hundred untrained members of the public invited to the recording via a call for singers circulated on the Internet.
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The phone which Arthur uses in the first part of the film is a Nokia 7610.
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Arthur lives in Cottington.
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During the scene where the Vogons are preparing to destroy earth, a large radio dish can be seen (surrounded by a sheep paddock). It is the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope in Cheshire, England.
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Oliver Postgate auditioned for the voice of the Book.
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The registration of Arthur's caravan is T863 XT0.
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Simon Jones:  who played Arthur the radio show and TV's The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (1981) (and was, in fact, originally hand-picked by friend Douglas Adams for the role), makes a brief appearance as the Magrathean "greeting/threat" holomessage. This marks another slight deviation from the other Guide incarnations, as all other versions used the actor who played Slartibartfast for the holomessage.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

As the Heart of Gold Spaceship travels through "improbability" it quickly transforms into many strange shapes (including a rubber duck) in the very final transformation at the end of the film it quickly transforms into the face of author/creator Douglas Adams.

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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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