With Ben Stiller‘s ambitious, big-budget romance/adventure/fantasy/remake “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” now in theaters, it’s kind of curious that one of the central components of the film has gone somewhat undiscussed: Life magazine. The once iconic weekly news magazine was a major force in photojournalism and reporting, bringing Americans images and stories from the around the world they might not have seen elsewhere, all while maintaining a pulse on the culture at home. In the film, the transition from Life from print to digital plays a crucial part, and throughout the movie, viewers are shown artwork from past issues, but here’s the thing: they’re all fake.
Life, which now exists solely in web form, has unveiled thirteen of the fake covers used in the movie that they collaborated on and helped create. Yes, some of the images were seen in Life, but none made the cover, and all of the magazine fronts in the movie were created from scratch.
“When we were selecting photos for the LIFE covers in Walter Mitty, we focused on pictures that would serve the story we were telling, but that would also capture the diversity of what LIFE covered in its prime,” production designer Jeff Mann said. “We worked really, really hard to select photos that were novel, naïve — in the best possible way — and that featured significant twentieth-century people, places and events.”
The results? Pretty awesome, and if Fox and Time Warner were smart, they’d find a way to sell these as prints or t-shirts of whatever. Anyway, check out ’em out below. But first, three clips from the movie and a weird ad for Canal+ featuring Ben Stiller and Jean Dujardin.