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(I) (2009)


Despite the prominent billing they receive, Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce get very little screentime. Indeed, Pearce's is only a few moments at the end of the film.
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To live the role, Viggo Mortensen would sleep in his clothes and deliberately starve himself. At one point, he was thrown out of a shop in Pittsburgh, because they thought he was a homeless man.
Kodi Smit-McPhee won his part over hundreds of boys due to a strong audition and his resemblance to Charlize Theron, who had been cast as Woman.
During a preview Q&A screening in London, John Hillcoat revealed that Kodi Smit-McPhee won the role of "The Boy", partly due to an audition tape sent in by Kodi's father that showed them re-enacting the scene where the father shows the boy how to kill himself, by placing a pistol in his mouth.
The scene where the Man washes the Boy's hair in the stream was shot three times. During that scene, the weather was very cold, so John Hillcoat promised Kodi Smit-McPhee that it would be done in only two takes. However, during the second take, the sun came out and ruined the shot, requiring a third take. The boy's crying afterward was Smit-McPhee actually crying, not acting.
John Hillcoat filmed the soft-drink vending-machine scene with Man and Boy several times, each with a different brand beverage, out of concern that Coca-Cola executives would not want their product to appear in the motion picture. A telephone call, from Viggo Mortensen to the President of Coca-Cola, secured permission for a can of Coca-Cola to appear, consistent with the source novel.
John Hillcoat did shoot the controversial scene from the book involving a baby on a spit being roasted over a campfire, but ultimately decided to cut it, because he felt it was simply too much.
Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee reported bonding by eating crickets to help them get into character.
Viggo Mortensen nearly turned down the role of Man because he had planned a break from film work. After completing his work as the Man, Mortensen took a long break from acting.
One of the cannibals on the back of the truck is played by Kodi Smit-McPhee's real life father.
In keeping with the novel, the cause of the apocalypse is never explained.
The ocean scene is actually Lake Erie.
The old man's line about having a son, was not in the script, and was ad-libbed by Robert Duvall, after they were all tired from many takes.
The film takes place in 2019.
One of the reasons Joe Penhall landed the job writing the screenplay, was because he felt there was no need to change the novel's dialogue.
The cause of the global catastrophe is never specified. While both the book and the film strongly hint at two explanations (a worldwide nuclear war or a massive strike on the Earth by space-born objects), the filmmakers did not want to make the film about the characters' blame or lack thereof for the situation, and keep the focus on how The Man and The Boy would try to survive in the post-apocalyptic settings.
The shooting schedule involved nine hours of shooting during each day. Kodi Smit-McPhee was unavailable for three of those hours as he was being schooled.
For the birthing scene, John Hillcoat originally planned to record the screaming of women actually giving birth, and edit it over the scene. Charlize Theron objected to this, and filmed the scene herself. The screaming you hear in the film, is actually her.
John Hillcoat first read the novel - and fell in love with it - before it was published.
Whenever it was a sunny day, the visual effects technicians had to use CGI to make it look cloudy, because John Hillcoat wanted to maintain a desolate atmosphere.
Viggo Mortensen claimed that he never kept track of how much weight he lost for the role, as it was a gradual weight loss as the result of less eating, but he estimates it was approximately thirty pounds.
Kodi Smit-McPhee's father read the whole book to Smit-McPhee right before he auditioned for the role of the boy.
An apparent CGI aerial shot, which also appears in the trailer, is a digital recreation of actual destruction by Hurricane Katrina to Empire, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. The shot shows large, twin boats on a highway in front of a bridge over the Empire Lock on Louisiana state highway 23. In the movie rendering, a large city skyline appears on the horizon, where in actuality there would be only the rural peninsula of Plaquemines Parish.
Kodi Smit-McPhee didn't use a dialect coach for his American accent.
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2007 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.
The U.S. release date was postponed from November 26, 2008, to October 16, 2009, to allow for additional post-production work. The 2009 release date was further delayed to November 25, 2009, to position the picture for Academy Awards competition.
Half the crew members for the shoot in New Orleans, Louisiana were survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
John Hillcoat originally wanted to shoot this film in chronological order, but the logistics of filming at numerous locations in several different states made this an impossibility.
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Eighty percent of this movie was shot in exterior locations.
The Boy's messy, spiral crayon drawings are reminiscent of a famous David "Chim" Seymour photograph from 1948. In it, Tereska - a psychologically disturbed child Holocaust survivor - drew similar circular, messy lines to represent "home".
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The name of the Old Man is given as Ely. This is also the name of the town in which Guy Pearce was born, in Cambridgeshire, England, although the pronunciation is different.
Devon Gearhart, Chandler Canterbury, and Dakota Goyo screen-tested for the role of "Boy", which ultimately went to Kodi Smit-McPhee.


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Nobody in the film is credited with a specific name. The only character who does refer to himself by name is the Old Man, who calls himself Ely.

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