Little Miss Sunshine (2006) Poster


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The production crew made sure Abigail Breslin really was listening to music in her headphones to keep her from hearing Alan Arkin's profanity-laced scenes.
All of the girls acting as participants in the "Little Miss Sunshine" beauty pageant, except Abigail Breslin, were veterans of real beauty pageants. They wore the same costumes, including hair and makeup, and performed the same talent routines as they had in their real-life pageants.
Steve Carell, at the time he was cast for Little Miss Sunshine (2006), was a relative unknown in Hollywood. According to an article in Entertainment Weekly, the producers of the film worried that he wasn't a big enough star and didn't have much acting experience. However, between the time the film was shot in the summer of 2005 and its release in the summer of 2006, Carell became a huge success as the star of the high-grossing film The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) in August 2005 and the leading character of the popular NBC Emmy-winning television series The Office (2005), which premiered in March 2005 and for which Carell won a Golden Globe in 2006 for best lead actor in a comedy television series. In the span of just one year, Carell had become such a star that the producers had gone from protesting his casting to tapping him to do prominent promotion for the film.
The movie took five years to make, mostly due to financial reasons.
Abigail Breslin wore a fat suit for the part of Olive.
The "heroin" Grandpa snorts in the bathroom in the beginning of the movie is actually crushed up B vitamins.
Bill Murray was the original choice to play Frank. The second choice was Robin Williams.
Michael Arndt had to quit his job as Matthew Broderick's assistant to write Little Miss Sunshine.
Though they are supposed to be mother and son, the difference of age between Toni Collette and Paul Dano is just 12 years.
Bryan Cranston ("Stan Grossman") and Dean Norris ("State Trooper McCleary") have supporting roles, and also star together in AMC's Breaking Bad (2008). Breaking Bad (2008) is also set in Albuquerque. To continue the Breaking Bad (2008) connection, it also has Mel Rodriguez ("Officer Martinez") who has a supporting role in Better Call Saul (2015), season one as "Marco."
While filming in a convenience store in Santa Clarita, CA a Paul Dano look-a-like walked in. Dano was late and unaccounted for so everyone thought the look-a-like was Dano. After he explained that he was not Dano, they took some pictures and sent him on his way.
The film was dedicated to Rebecca Annitto, the 14-year-old niece of producer Peter Saraf, who was killed in a traffic accident in 2005. She appeared as an extra in scenes at Pann's Restaurant and the convenience store.
Dwayne is 15. In reality, Paul Dano who played Dwayne, was 22.
Five identical Volkswagen Type 2s were used during filming.
Dwayne is actually from a previous marriage of Sheryl's. She says toward the beginning "he visited his dad in Florida", and a wedding photo is shown with him in it, but much younger. Olive however is not, because her last name is Hoover, the same as her father's.
On July 25, 2006 Fox Searchlight Pictures invited VW bus owners to a screening of Little Miss Sunshine (2006) at Vineland Drive-In theater in City of Industry, California. 65 VW buses were present at the event.
After Olive hugs Dwayne and they begin to ascend back to the van, a sign can be seen in the background reading: "United we stand".
Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris had previously directed the "1979" music video by The Smashing Pumpkins. The total of Frank's purchase at the convenience store is $19.79.
The Emcee at the pageant is a parody of the official emcee at the child beauty pageants, Tim Whitmer (aka Mr Tim) whom can be seen or heard in various child beauty documentaries.
The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Alan Arkin; and six Oscar nominees: Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Marc Turtletaub.
Thomas Haden Church turned down the role of Richard Hoover, a decision he said he later regretted.
Originally written as an East Coast road trip movie from Maryland to Florida, it was shifted to a journey from New Mexico to California due to shooting issues.
The character Dwayne was originally supposed to have a Mohawk.
Michael Arndt, who wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine, used the supporting character name "Stan Grossman" as a tribute to Fargo (1996), another Best Original Screenplay.
During the diner scene, the four customers seated behind Sheryl (Toni Collette) and Richard (Greg Kinnear) are the parents of directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.
Larry Sugarman's license plate reads, "LostTime" a reference to Marcel Proust's most famous work, "À la recherche du temps perdu," which is often translated as "In Search of Lost Time."
A regional movie in India is based on 'Little Miss Sunshine'. It's also a comedy and a frame by frame copy. It's named as 'De Dhakka'.
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After Focus Features backed out, producer Marc Turtletaub bought the rights back from the studio in 2005 and announced that he would cover the budget himself.
One VW bus that Greg Kinnear drove during filming of this movie is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
Fox Searchlight bought the rights to distribute the film at 2006 Sundance for $10.5 million.
The scenes that took place in Redondo Beach, California, were actually filmed in Ventura, California. None of the freeways near Redondo Beach lead to the beach.
Marc Turtletaub and his fellow producers bought the script for $250,000.
All four members of the top billed cast have been nominated for Oscars including Abigail Breslin who was nominated for best actress in a supporting role for her performance in this film
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Contrary to popular belief, Frank's last name is not Greenberg. The released script revealed his last name to be Ginsberg.
Both Toni Collette and Abigail Breslin previously appeared in M. Night Shyamalan films: Collette in The Sixth Sense (1999) and Breslin in Signs (2002).
Bryan Cranston and Dean Norris both co-star in this movie, despite small roles, they both appear in this film, 2 years before Breaking Bad
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Dwayne's full name is never mentioned in the movie.
The plot of this movie shares several plot points with the original National Lampoon's Vacation. A family driving across the country to a specific destination only to have their dreams dashed when arriving and forcing their way in. A eldery family member dies unexpectedly before arriving at the destination. The family vehicle gets pulled over by a motorcycle cop but then let go. The family spends the night in a few less then stellar hotels/motels. The husband and wife characters have a fight, leading the male character to leave to try to rectify the situation.
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Steve Carell and Toni Collette portray siblings. In The Way, Way Back (2013), they are single parents that are dating.
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Focus Features was involved very early on but dropped out in 2004.
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The license plate on the Hoovers' Volkswagen van reads "153 H8A". This can be seen most clearly over the mechanic's right shoulder during the scene inside the garage.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the commentary, the directors note that Greg Kinnear was really self-conscious about dancing because his wife made fun of his dance moves at their wedding. He was so self-conscious that he requested the dance scene be eliminated from the film.
The grandfather's first name is revealed only once, after he has died. His full name is Edwin Hoover.
When the VW bus gets stuck with clutch failure, the mechanic explains that you don't need the clutch to go from third to fourth gear, but not in the other gear changes. That is not true, with a full syncromesh transmission you can shift every gear using "double clutch" procedure. So you don't need to start in third gear, but eventually a start in first gear was not fast enough from the movie point of view

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