During production, details of the film’s plot were kept secret. Christopher Nolan, who wrote the script, cryptically described it as a contemporary sci-fi action thriller “set within the architecture of the mind.”
James Franco was in talks with Christopher Nolan to play Arthur, but was ultimately unavailable due to scheduling conflicts.
The labyrinthine style of the movie’s logo resembles the logo of Christopher Nolan’s production company Syncopy.
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.
Christopher Nolan’s first film since his feature debut, Following (1998), that is a completely original work. All of his films between them are either remakes or based on comics, novels or short stories.
Tom Berenger’s first film to receive a wide theatrical release in the U.S. since Training Day (2001).
Leonardo DiCaprio was Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan’s only choice for the role of Cobb.
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.
Co-stars Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page competed for the Best Actress Oscar in 2008. Cotillard won.
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.
There are a total of five Academy Award nominees in the cast (Tom Berenger, Leonardo DiCaprio, Pete Postlethwaite, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page) and two Academy Award Winners (Michael Caine and Marion Cotillard, who play father and daughter).
The use of the Édith Piaf song “Non, je ne regrette rien” is used as a plot device. Marion Cotillard played Piaf in La vie en rose (2007). Christopher Nolan has stated that this is “pure coincidence”.
The third Christopher Nolan movie in five years in which Cillian Murphy’s character spends a significant portion of his on-screen time with a cloth bag over his head.
The cast contains a large number of lead actors who started in movies and TV as children: Leonardo DiCaprio first started appearing on TV, including as a regular in “Parenthood” (1990) and “Growing Pains” (1985), as a young teen; Joseph Gordon-Levitt had his first TV roles at age seven; by age ten, Ellen Page had started as a regular on the series “Pit Pony” (1999); and while still in kindergarten, Lukas Haas made his film debut in Testament (1983).
Yusuf is a prophet in the Koran - his story begins with a dream and ends with the dream’s interpretation. God gave Yusuf the ability to interpret dreams.
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.
‘Saito’ is one of the ten most common Japanese surnames, especially in northeastern Japan. The Saito descend from Fujiwara no Nobumochi, a 10th-century head of the Saigu Shrine. The meaning of Saito is “purifying flower”.
Prints of the movie were shipped to theaters under the name “Hour Glass”.
The guitar on Hans Zimmer’s score was played by ex-Smiths guitarist ‘Johnny Marr’.
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.
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”.
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.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt performed all his own stunts during the fight scene in the spinning hallway.
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.
Marion Cotillard ‘s character is called ‘Mal’, a word meaning wrong/bad/evil or pain in both French and Spanish.
Obviously disturbed by this, she called the air hostess. “Madam, what is the matter?” the hostess asked. “You obviously do not see it,” she responded. “You placed me next to a black man. I do not agree to sit next to someone from such a repugnant group. Give me an alternative seat.” “Be calm…
This song will forever remind me of my high school having a Midsummer night’s dream performance and during the dream sequence the high school football players in football gear and tutus came on stage and started dancing to this song