Christopher Nolan first pitched the film to Warner Bros. after the completion of his third feature, Insomnia (2002/I), and was met with approval from the studio. However, it was not yet written at the time, and Nolan determined that rather than writing it as an assignment, it would be more suitable to his working style if he wrote it as a spec script and then presented it to the studio whenever it was completed. So he went off to write it, thinking it would take "a couple of months", but it ultimately took nearly eight years.
Co-stars Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page competed for the Best Actress Oscar in 2008. Cotillard won.
The name of Leonardo DiCaprio's character is the same as that of one of the main characters in Christopher Nolan's first feature film, Following (1998). Further, both the characters have the same profession - they supposedly play thieves.
Evan Rachel Wood was Christopher Nolan's first choice to play Ariadne, but she turned it down. Nolan considered casting Emily Blunt, Rachel McAdams and Emma Roberts, but chose Ellen Page instead.
Robert "Bobby" Fischer is also the name of an American chess player and the eleventh World Chess Champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. He bears a striking resemblance to Cillian Murphy, who plays another Robert Fischer in the movie.
The labyrinthine style of the movie's logo resembles the logo of Christopher Nolan's production company Syncopy.
SPOILER: Marion Cotillard 's character is called 'Mal', a word meaning wrong/bad/evil or pain in both French and Spanish.
SPOILER: Cobb is only seen wearing his wedding ring in scenes where he perceives Mal to be alive (mainly dreams).
SPOILER: In the hotel sequence, Ariadne's hair is in a tight bun. This is so that for the parts of the sequence where there is no gravity, filmmakers didn't have to concern themselves with how her hair should move in zero-gravity.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt performed all his own stunts during the fight scene in the spinning hallway.
Just like Christopher Nolan's previous movie Batman Begins (2005), no second unit team were hired for making the movie. All the shots were filmed by Nolan himself with his usual DOP Wally Pfister.
According to Cinematographer Wally Pfister, Warner Brothers executives approached Christopher Nolan about making the film in 3D, but he refused the idea, claiming "it will distract the storytelling experience of Inception".
The "paradox staircase" (with a woman perpetually picking up papers) that Arthur shows Ariadne is a reference to a lithograph print by the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. The print is usually called "Ascending and Descending" or "The Infinite Staircase", and was first printed in March 1960; Escher is well-known for his drawings exploring optical illusions and real architectural, mathematical, and philosophical principles rendered in fantastical ways.
Contrary to popular belief, Hans Zimmer did not compose the music that appears in the third trailer for this film. The track, titled "Mind Heist", was actually composed by Zack Hemsey.
The guitar on Hans Zimmer's score was played by ex-Smiths guitarist 'Johnny Marr'.
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