In keeping with the modernized presence of all things Shakespeare throughout the film, Hamlet travels on a plane. This is also a play on words because in the original text of the play the scene takes place in "A plain in Denmark".
At 29, Ethan Hawke is the youngest actor to play Hamlet on film. He is also close to the age Hamlet is supposed to be in the original text, which is 30.
When Hamlet stops the limo after deciding not to kill his uncle, Claudius, he exits at a theater billing the Best Musical of 1998 - the live-action stage version of "The Lion King". "The Lion King" is reportedly inspired by "Hamlet".
The fax machine seen near the end of the film is the "Osric." Osric is the name of the messenger in the play that informs Hamlet that Laertes has challenged him.
The only lines in the movie which are not from the original play are messages played by machines, or when the GraveDigger is singing a song ("All Along the Watchtower").
In the scene in which Claudius confronts Hamlet in the laundromat, he pushes Hamlet from machine 2 to machine 3. This correlates with Shakespeare's play, in which the confrontation begins in Act IV, scene 2 and continues on to scene 3.
This is Julia Stiles' third modern film adaptation of a Shakespearean play. She was Desi Brable (Desdemona) in "O" which was based on "The Moor of Venice" or by its more common title "Othello" and Kat Stratford (Katerina) in "Ten Things I Hate About You" which was based on "The Taming of the Shrew".
Both Diane Venora and Liev Schreiber have previously acted in productions of Hamlet on the New York stage. In fact, Venora had actually played the title character in a famous and iconoclastic production of the play. Additionally, she played the mother of Juliet, Lady Capulet, in "Romeo + Juliet", the modern adaptation of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"
Ophelia removes a rubber duck from her bag. This is a reference to Aki Kaurismäki's version of Hamlet, Hamlet Goes Business (1987), where after the death of his father, Hamlet's uncle controls the board of a company that decides to move into the rubber duck market.
The music that plays during the film "The Mousetrap" is part of Tchaikovsky's "Hamlet", op. 67.
At the apartment after the marriage announcement, Hamlet fast-forwards through camcorder tapes. In the section where he watches footage of Ophelia holding a book up to the camera with an older man's face on the cover; that book is "On God" by Jiddu Krishnamurti. In that book, the author explores the futility of seeking knowledge of the 'unknowable' and shows that it is only when one has ceased seeking with the intellect - that one may be 'radically free' to experience truth.
Archive footage of Sir John Gielgud as Hamlet appears briefly on this Hamlet's computer screen.
The average full stage production of Hamlet clocks in at around 4 hours. This film version only lasts 112 minutes.
After Hamlet (1990) and Hamlet (1996), this is the third screen adaptation of the classic play in ten years. This is the only one of the three films not to star Michael Maloney.
The logo of Denmark Corporation is a roundel (an orange [wooden] O), within which a globe briefly spins at the beginning of the soliloquy (the time is out of joint); a crude globe is also featured in "the mousetrap". Both are references to Shakespeare's Globe theater.
Diane Venora, who plays Queen Gertrude, played Ophelia in a made-for-television version of Great Performances: Hamlet (1990) starring and directed by Kevin Kline.
When Hamlet is in Blockbuster Video, saying his soliloquy, the film that is playing is The Crow: City of Angels (1996), the second installment of the Crow series; a series in which the protagonists are sent to avenge the dead and set things right.
William Shakespeare was both a playwright and an actor, and is widely believed to have played the ghost of Hamlet's father in early productions. In this film, the Ghost is played by Sam Shepard, who is also both an actor and a playwright.
Kyle MacLachlan previously appeared in Dune (1984), a story with quite a few parallels to Hamlet. In that film he worked with Patrick Stewart, who also played Claudius in Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1980).
Dechen Thurman was Ethan Hawke's brother-in-law at the time of filming, as he is the brother of Hawke's then-wife Uma Thurman. Uma's previous husband, Gary Oldman, played Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990).
The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Casey Affleck; and three Oscar nominees: Ethan Hawke, Bill Murray and Sam Shepard.
Liev Schreiber and Paula Malcomson are also appeared in 2013 Showtime's series, "Ray Donovan".