Remember The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Ben Stiller’s adventurous 2013 film based on James Thurber's 1939 short story about a man breaking past his tedious and mundane life in search of real adventure? Yeah, that one.
For those out there that haven’t seen the film yet, better get on it. For those who have though and know how good the film, and its amazing soundtrack was, did you also know that the entire movie is pretty much a doff of the cap to the star man himself, David Bowie?
Bowie’s “Space Oddity” is first acknowledged in the film during the scene where Adam Scott’s character attempts to bring Ben Stiller back down to earth during one of Stiller's far off fantasies. Scott teases Stiller and refers to him by saying, “Major Tom! Ground control to Major Tom!” Later on in the film, when Stiller’s character finally throws all caution and self-doubt to the wind, it’s Bowie's “Space Oddity” which is sung by Kristen Wiig as Walter Mitty leaves his old life behind and sets off on the adventures he’d always dreamed of having.
A few moments later in that same scene, Wiig’s character somewhat comforts Stiller, referring back to “Space Oddity” and saying that the other guy completely misunderstands the song, that it’s really about courage and venturing into the unknown.
It’s that courage and thirst for adventure that fuels the entire film, and subtly done so by acknowledging Bowie’s spirit of transforming into anyone or going after any adventure one may choose in life.
In an interview Stiller did when promoting the movie, he acknowledged the song’s importance to Walter’s adventure throughout the story. “The Bowie song is just an amazing song,” he told Collider back in 2013. “I felt like the way it fits into the story, and the way that Steve used it, we got to this point and this scene which was sort of how the fantasy and reality come together for Walter, and that was what that came out of. That song, and what he mentioned in his head, and what he imagines and what he does, it all just seemed to come together over that song. I love that song and that era, that Bowie era.”
So if you haven’t yet, head over to your local iTunes store and click that old rent button for a fun solo or date movie night. You may just tap into your own inner Bowie and get inspired to break on through to the other side and head out on your own adventure.