James Thurber's 1939 short story, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," has been adapted for movie audiences twice. In 1947, Danny Kaye played the eponymous role in a version that stayed very loyal to Thurber's story. This 2013 version, starring Ben Stiller, took more liberties, but took its inspiration from Thurber's original concept.
Producers originally planned to remake the movie in 1994 with Jim Carrey as Walter Mitty. Production fell through on a number of occasions, and different actors were tapped to play the Walter Mitty character, including Owen Wilson, Mike Myers, and Sacha Baron Cohen, until Ben Stiller signed up to both direct and star in the film in 2011.
Although the film won no major awards, it was awarded "Best Film" at the 2013 New York Film Festival, and Ben Stiller fans voted it number three in a Rolling Stone poll of the best Ben Stiller movies ever. Critics were split on how to evaluate the film, but Peter Travers of Rolling Stone liked it, writing, "In his uniquely funny and unexpectedly tender movie, Stiller takes us on a personal journey of lingering resonance."