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Stiller says shooting 'Walter Mitty' scene was a fantasy come true

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   Dec. 31, 2013 at 5:03 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Actor-director Ben Stiller says closing off part of New York's Fifth Avenue to shoot a scene for "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" was "like a crazy fantasy come true."

The latest incarnation of James Thurber's 1939 short story follows Stiller's title character -- a Life magazine staffer with an extraordinarily vivid imagination -- as he sets off on a global journey to find a missing photo needed for the publication's final issue.

In one memorable fantasy scene, Mitty fights his nemesis Ted all over midtown Manhattan, with Stiller on a skateboard and Adam Scott, as Ted, was on roller blades.

"I had a lot of favorite days and I really enjoyed the shoot," Stiller, who also directed the family picture, told reporters in New York recently.

"I skateboarded as a kid here in the city. I was never a serious skateboarder. I never did a lot of tricks. I never did any tricks really. I did Tic Tac. They still use that term? They don't," he acknowledged. "I can Tic Tac, though. And I would make my way around the city on my skateboard and when I would go to California. I had friends who would go long-boarding, but, for the movie, I got to have a lot of help and we hired some of the best skateboarders in the world to do tricks. ... But I did do the tighter stuff and we had safety harnesses and things like that. That whole fight with Ted through the city streets, that's me on a skateboard and Adam Scott is on roller blades. That's how we did that. ... That was fun to do; especially skateboarding in New York City down Fifth Avenue. Closing it off. That was like a crazy fantasy come true.

"My second favorite day was probably the day that we shot those scenes in the ocean. There was probably more than one day that we shot on the set when I was in the water with a trawler, jumping in and that was kind of what we focused our whole shoot around.

"We scheduled our shoot in Iceland to end on those days at the end of September because we knew that's when the seas would be high enough, so it all was focused on that and to actually get in the water and doing the shots for real was one of the most exciting days I ever had, really, in my life."

Co-starring Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine and Sean Penn, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is in theaters now.

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