In real life, Michael Llewelyn Davies was J.M. Barrie's inspiration for Peter Pan. Michael, not Peter, was said to be Barrie's favorite of the children. It's not certain why Barrie chose to name the main character Peter. One idea is because of his brothers, Peter behaved the most like an adult at a young age. Barrie wished he'd had more of a childhood, so he immortalized him as the symbol of youth.
During the formal dinner scene, Johnny Depp placed a "fart machine" under Julie Christie's chair. He had a remote control that he used to trigger a fart sound from the device. The children are laughing more at that than from playing with the spoons.
This film was originally scheduled to be released in fall 2003, but Columbia Pictures, which had the rights to J.M. Barrie's play for their film Peter Pan (2003), refused to allow Miramax to use certain scenes from the play in Finding Neverland (2004) if it were released at the same time. Miramax agreed to delay the release of Finding Neverland (2004) by one year, in exchange for the rights to use Barrie's words.
When J.M. Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies family are traveling by buggy to James' wife's cottage, a flock of sheep stops in front of the buggy, forcing it to stop. The buggy is an original from the late 1800s, and it had to be pushed over a hill to make it go. To cover for stopping suddenly at the base of the hill, Director Marc Forster decided to have sheep block the road.
At the beginning of the movie, when J.M. Barrie is seen pacing the corridor outside the auditorium, the carpet under his feet is worn and thread bare, suggesting that many playwrights had paced there many times. This was inspired by the playwright Neil Simon, who makes mention of it in his autobiography, which one of the films writers had read.
In the film, Johnny Depp spies Dustin Hoffman's character reading through the Peter Pan playbill, mocking the character names. The original script, however, called for Dustin Hoffman to be dressed in Captain Hook's costume as he playfully read the playbill. Upon reading that scene, Dustin said to Marc Forster, "I'm not being Hook again!" The script was then changed.
Marc Forster decided to schedule one of Freddie Highmore 's toughest scenes (where he tears up a book and demolishes a playhouse) on his second day of filming, deliberately, so other cast members could see the child act, and change their attitudes towards working with him.
Dustin Hoffman has appeared in two films about "Peter Pan" (Hook (1991) and Finding Neverland (2004)). Following his appearance in Hook (1991), close friend and former roommate Gene Hackman began calling him "Hook" as a joke. The name stuck, and his contemporaries call him by that nickname to this day.
When Dustin Hoffman is told about the idea of a boy who would never grow up, his hand is in his jacket. Hoffman had been sitting in a folding chair that collapsed, severing the tip of one of his fingers. The doctor ordered that his hand remain above his heart.
Peter Llewelyn Davies, J.M. Barrie's child muse, and inspiration for Peter Pan, was troubled by the public moniker. In 1963, at age 63, he threw himself under a train. George Llewelyn, a soldier in World War I, died at 21. Michael Llewelyn drowned at 20, under mysterious circumstances.
There were actually five Davies children. The fifth child, Nicholas "Nico" Llewelyn Davies, has a hard-to-notice spot in the play. He is part of the inspiration for Michael Nicholas Darling. Since he was very young, and many people in the play don't notice him, he wasn't included in the film. His daughter, Laura Duguid, appears in the film. After the first performance, she says something like, "You're Peter Pan?"
This movie was created into a Broadway musical that opened on April 15, 2015. The opening cast included Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer. The production closed on August 21, 2016 after 565 performances.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
At the end of the movie, when J.M. Barrie is showing the play to Sylvia at her house, Peter Pan asked them to clap their hands to save Tinker Bell. Julie Christie's reaction to this was to immediately start clapping. This was unplanned, and the children had no idea how to respond to it. The look of shock on their faces is real.
Mackenzie Crook went on to appear in other pirate movies such as Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, along with Johnny Depp. Angus Barnett also appeared Pirates of the Caribbean movies with Johnny Depp and Mackenzie Crook.