Ben Stiller is one of the more interesting actors who occasionally fancies himself a director. He has a tendency to make movies that are just slightly ahead of their time; ones that aren't fully appreciated until they've had time to simmer in our collective pop-culture brains. Reality Bites was a movie that so embodied a generation's mentality that it took years for people to realize just how dead-on it was. And then there's The Cable Guy, a brilliant, dark comedy that grabs right for the throat of media-obsessed Americana. Even his more straightforward comedies - Zoolander and Tropic Thunder - went on to become effortlessly quotable films and big fan favorites.
And now he's going a slightly more surreal route with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which, going off of the newly released trailer for the film, looks like it may actually be angling for some big awards buzz come next year.
Adapted from the 75-year-old short story by James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty stars Stiller as a hapless worker at Time Life Magazine who spends more time fantasizing about living other lives than he does his own until something pushes him over the edge and Walter goes off an a world-spanning adventure. You won't really get that from this beautiful first trailer, though, which opts to show you the wonderful mind of Walter instead of spelling out his own story.
The script was written by Steve Conrad, the man behind The Weather Man, The Pursuit of Happyness and The Promotion. Basically, he's got this "Guy Has Life Crisis" genre on lockdown, so there's little reason to doubt he hasn't delivered a similarly charming deconstruction of the psyche of the modern working man here. And joining Stiller in front of the camera are the likes of Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Patton Oswalt and surely a host of other very talented people who are quite capable of walking the line between comedy and drama.
Check out the trailer below, though unfortunately it'll be quite a wait until we can actually see the film. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty doesn't hit theaters until December 25, 2013.
Update: Since Apple is taking down embeds, you'll have to watch it in its player.