Seven things to know about 'Inception'

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The sci-fi thriller Inception written and directed by Christopher Nolan ( The Dark Knight, Memento) opens in theaters and IMAX this weekend around the world, with special screenings at midnight on Thursday, July 16.

Leonardo DiCaprio portrays Dom Cobb, the 'extractor' who enters people's minds to take information by invading their dreams. During production, Nolan kept the details of the plot secret, only describing it as "set within the architecture of the mind." Cobb was the name of the main character in Nolan's first feature film in 1998, Following.

Prior to final casting, James Franco ( Milk) was considered for the role of Arthur the Forger, but had scheduling conflicts, so Joseph Gordon-Levitt ( 500 Days of Summer) replaced him. Also, before Ellen Page ( Juno, Whip It) took the role of Ariadne the Architect, Evan Rachel Wood, Rachel McAdams and Emily Blunt were possibilities.

This week's world premiere at Hollywood's famous Mann's Theatre was streamed online with the actors speaking about the film and a live performance of the score by composer Hans Zimmer ( Gladiator, The Da Vinci Code, The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes), guitarist Johnny Marr (The Smiths, Modest Mouse) and an orchestra. It can be viewed at:

Inception's viral campaign, ‘Mind Crime,' launched its fourth maze game. Players select a starting and ending position on a grid and draw a path to connect the two. When complete, select the "Play" button to start the game and see more maze paths and dead ends converted to city streets to navigate through and bad guys to avoid.

Yahoo! recently launched an online comic, "Inception: The Cobol Job," a 19-page prologue to the film. Written by Jordan Goldberg with art by Long Vo, Joe Ng, and Crystal Reid, it features Cobb, DiCaprio's character, and his team on a job leading up to the film. Download the PDF:

The production locations were Calgary, Canada, Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Tangiers, Morocco, and England where a long hotel corridor was built to rotate a full 360 degrees and create the effect of zero gravity.

Nolan stated, "Once you start examining what the dream experience might mean, it invites people to think about their own dreams and what they reveal. It raises interesting questions about how we assess the nature of our own reality."

His fans' site is at:

The film website: