1. The movie Ghost World was inspired by a graphic novel, with the same name, by Daniel Clowes. It first appeared in Clowes' comic book series Eightball and was later published in book form.
2. Terry Zwigoff, who directed and co-wrote the movie with Clowes, discovered Ghost World when his wife bought home a stack of comics from San Francisco's Last Gasp comics, where she worked at the time.
3. It was Zwigoff's wife who convinced him to turn the graphic novel into a movie.
4. And Zwigoff has said that the main reason he decided to do it was because he was a huge fan of Clowes and desperately wanted the chance to work with him.
5. Although the movie was inspired by the graphic novel, Zwigoff and Clowes used it as a starting place to inspire their movie, rather than adapting its entire plot.
6. Zwigoff and Clowes wrote at least a dozen versions of the script.
7. And while Zwigoff mainly focussed on developing Seymour and Joe's characters, Clowes worked on Enid and Rebecca.
8. Zwigoff based the character of Seymour largely on himself.
9. Zwigoff is an avid record collector. He incorporated this aspect of his personality into Seymour's character.
10. He insisted on using a series of old blues tunes for the movie's soundtrack, even though the studio pushed for a marketable soundtrack album full of music by NSYNC and Britney Spears.
11. Almost all of Seymour’s stuff that we see in the movie comes from Zwigoff's own collection.
12. And Zwigoff designed Seymour's bedroom himself.
13. This made things complicated because the producers had to get release forms from everyone involved in the photographs on Seymour's walls. "If I wanted to use a photograph of a jazz band from the 1920s, they’d insist on not only every musician pictured on it all signing releases, but also the photographer who took the picture, the studio that hired him..." Zwigoff explained.
14. Zwigoff says he had to keep asking the set designers to add more grime and grease marks to the room.
15. Zwigoff and Clowes said they pitched Ghost World to all the big Hollywood studios and got turned down by everyone.
16. While they were pitching, Zwigoff started taking acting classes. He said, "I thought, 'Well, might as well learn how to get a good performance out of an actor—might be a good step in the right direction'."
17. It eventually got produced after five years of pitching. Zwigoff thinks it took so long because Hollywood executives "are not oddballs at all," so they didn't empathise with his characters.
18. The studio wanted someone like Russell Crowe or Harrison Ford to play Seymour.
19. They also considered Nathan Lane for the role.
20. But Zwigoff always knew he wanted to cast Steve Buscemi in that role. "I had to call him and threaten to hang myself if he wouldn’t take the part," he said.
21. And he was right to hold out for Buscemi. Zwigoff says he didn't need much direction at all; he just got the character immediately.
22. Thora Birch was originally offered the part of Rebecca, but she insisted that she should play Enid instead.
23. The studio had originally wanted to cast Jennifer Love Hewitt as Enid.
24. But they also considered Alicia Silverstone and Claire Danes.
25. And at one point they even talked about casting Sarah Michelle Geller or Melissa Joan Hart.
26. Thora Birch was 18-years-old when she filmed Ghost World.
27. But Scarlett Johansson was only 15-years-old. Zwigoff didn't realise she was so young when he cast her, meaning she was legally only allowed to work half as much as an adult. Zwigoff says this made shooting difficult.
28. Birch and Johansson became immediate friends. Even though Johansson was younger, they got on really well.
29. Before filming started, they would go out to eat together and stay in for movie nights to get to know each other.
30. Birch said that meeting Zwigoff and realising he had such a good sense of humour was what convinced her to take the job.
31. Johansson was attracted to the script because she felt it was one of very few movies in which its teenage characters had any depth.
35. One of the customers you see in the porn shop scene is played by the same actor as the high school principle. Zwigoff says this casting decision was a total accident.
36. Zwigoff and Clowes had asked the students of a local high school to make the art for the movie's art class scenes. Unfortunately, no one ever signed off on them before the day shooting was due to start, so the movie's art director brought in a bunch of his old work for art school. For the next hour, Clowes and the rest of the class made bad art and managed to create the entire set.
37. The mutilator painting and the iconic coat hanger sculpture were both made by the prop master's son.
38. In one version of the ending, Zwigoff had Seymour commit suicide, but he decided against it.
39. However, a lot of viewers interpreted Enid getting on the bus that never comes as her committing suicide. This was not, however, Zwigoff and Clowes' intention.
40. One studio executive suggested the bus said "Destination: Art School" on it.
41. Another suggested the movie ended with a double wedding where Enid married Seymour and Rebecca married Josh.
42. And finally, Zwigoff said that although Ghost World is set in LA, it's also kind of set no where. "It could be any town in the USA that is losing its character to chains," he said.