Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig and Ben
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Ben Stiller found himself awash in nostalgia at Wednesday night’s AFI Fest screening of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” at the Chinese Theater.

“When I was 8 years old, I snuck in here with my sister to see ‘The Exorcist,'” Stiller told the audience on Nov. 13. “I also premiered ‘The Watch’ and ‘The Cable Guy’ here so I’m due for a good reaction,” he joked.

Stiller allowed that “Walter Mitty,” based on the 1939 James Thurber short story, isn’t exactly the kind of story that studios are seeking these days — unlike the 1947 “Walter Mitty,” starring Danny Kaye.

He singled out Fox topper Jim Gianopulos and Emma Watts and former co-chief Tom Rothman for backing “Mitty: “‘Thanks for taking a leap of faith on this.”

Samuel Goldwyn produced the original film; the new film is produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and his son, John Goldwyn.

At the post-screening bash at the Roosevelt, Goldwyn Jr. — who’s been working on ‘Walter Mitty’ for 20 years — admits he loved Kristen Wiig‘s work: “That girl’s really a star.”

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