Mark Ruffalo won the role of Chuck Aule after sending Martin Scorsese a fan letter saying how much he wanted to work with him.
Before Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio decided to make this movie, they were originally going to make The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). However, financing did not work out for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) at that time.
The movie's $40.2 million opening weekend take in the U.S. marked a career best for Martin Scorsese. It went on to gross over $293 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing movie of his career. This was later surpassed by The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).
The quote "Remember us, for we too have lived, loved and laughed", seen on a plaque on the way to the mental institution, is taken from Medfield's Vine Lake Cemetery. A contest was held to come up with a quote to be used on a stone marker as a remembrance of those who died in the 1918 influenza epidemic known as the Spanish flu.
The only movie of the partnership between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio that failed to receive any Oscar nominations. Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) all received Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture.
To give his cast members an idea of how this movie would be stylistically, Martin Scorsese screened Out of the Past (1947) and Vertigo (1958) for his cast and crew.
Based on the book "Shutter Island" by Dennis Lehane. The book was released in 2003.
The ballpoint pen Teddy (Leonardo DiCaprio) used in the movie is a Parker Jotter, it was released in 1954 (the year this movie takes place), and was the first successful and reliable ballpoint pen to hit the market, which quickly drove fountain pens into obsolescence. Over three and a half million pens were sold that year, and the Parker Jotter dominated the ballpoint pen market during that decade.
The whispered line in Complex C ("Stop me before I kill more") is likely a reference to William Heirens, a serial killer in Chicago in the 1940s.
First scheduled to be released by Paramount Pictures in the U.S. and Canada on October 2, 2009, to be in contention for that year's Oscars. Paramount Pictures later pushed this movie back to February 19, 2010, due to financing problems (the studio didn't have the fifty to sixty million dollars necessary to promote an awards movie). Another reason cited for the pushback was Leonardo DiCaprio's unavailability for the interview circuit due to other filming commitments. Paramount Pictures also figured that a movie geared towards adult audiences might achieve some traction in the doldrums month of February, when there are traditionally very few "intelligent" movies released.
Scenery from Peddocks Island (initial island approach), Peddocks Island in the Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, Acadia National Park in Maine, Medfield State Hospital in Medfield, Massachusetts, and the Rice Estate at Turner Hill Country Club in Ipswich, Massachusetts, were combined via CGI to create the imagery of Shutter Island as a whole. The large mountainous area of the island, seen during the ferry approach, was added in post-production, and does not exist, but the decaying brick buildings on the lowlands are real ruins from Peddocks Island.
Shortly before its original release in October 2009, the movie was pushed back to February 2010. It did, however, have a special "secret" screening at Austin's "Butt-Numbathon" film festival in December of 2009. Critics attended the screening, but were asked not to release their reviews until the official release date.
This is the fourth time that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have worked on a movie together. They previously collaborated in Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), and The Departed (2006).
Before settling on Mark Ruffalo for the role of Chuck Aule, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese also considered Robert Downey, Jr. and Josh Brolin. All three are part of Marvel's Cinematic Universe, as Bruce Banner, a.k.a. The Incredible Hulk, Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, and Thanos respectively. Sir Ben Kingsley also appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 (2013).
The cast includes two Oscar winners: Sir Ben Kingsley and Leonardo DiCaprio; and five Oscar nominees: Max von Sydow, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Jackie Earle Haley, and Patricia Clarkson.
Columbia Pictures first optioned the movie rights to Dennis Lehane's novel in 2003 when it was first published. But after many delays, the rights relapsed back to the author.
The film was intended to be released in October 2009, but it was postponed, because Paramount Pictures' remaining yearly marketing, and Oscars campaigning budget, could only afford for its two other movies, Up in the Air (2009), and The Lovely Bones (2009).
Some of Val Lewton's 1940s zombies movies were an inspiration for Martin Scorsese in creating this movie's mood.
This movie opened with a forty-one million dollar weekend, Martin Scorsese's best figures, and (up until the release of Inception (2010) later that same year) Leonardo DiCaprio's.
This was originally commissioned as a directing vehicle for Wolfgang Petersen. However, there were considerable modifications made to Dennis Lehane's novel in order to create a more action-driven blockbuster.
Sir Ben Kingsley also starred as a doctor of an insane asylum in Stonehearst Asylum (2014).
Leonardo DiCaprio and Michelle Williams appeared in Lassie productions. DiCaprio appeared in two episodes of The New Lassie (1989), when he was fifteen-years-old, and Williams made her theatrical movie debut in Lassie (1994), when she was thirteen.
Leonardo DiCaprio's character mentions filing papers with "Hoover's Boys" during his first meeting with Dr. Cawley and Dr. Nahring. Leo played J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar (2011).
The actual island is linked to Batman in which Gotham has an island called Arkham asylum which is for mentally unstable patients and dangerous prisoners. In the movie, they mention the island is covered in Poison Ivy, which also could be linked to one of Batman's villans who resembles the same name. She also appears as one of the main villians in the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game which is based of the island asylum