Valerie Perrine sought the lead role of Xaviera Hollander however the United Artists movie studio felt Perrine should not do this movie as it would distract attention away from her performance in Lenny (1974) which could get her an Academy Award nomination. Perrine did get Oscar nominated as Best Actress in a Leading Role for Lenny (1974).
Lynn Redgrave once said of this movie: "This won't be a pornographic film. Naturally I wouldn't do one of those. It's being done by responsible, reputable people. And my husband (and manager) John Clark thought it was a fantastic opportunity."
Lynn Redgrave wasn't the first choice to play Xaviera Hollander. This was because she was working full-time on a Broadway play "My Fat Friend" during much of 1974. Redgrave actually worked concurrently on both this movie and the play at the same time. Redgrave once said: "I go on with the movie usually until the absolute last possible minute and usually go right from the set to the theater. And both parts are non-stop."
The French lover character of Yves St. Jacques (played by Jean-Pierre Aumont) was originally intended to be a wealthy Englishman playboy called Evelyn. But this was changed when Craig Stevens pulled-out of the picture.
Craig Stevens was originally cast as the wealthy English playboy character Evelyn (which became a Frenchman) but withdrew from the role when his wife Alexis Smith objected to playing a madam in this movie.
Prior to Lynn Redgrave playing Xaviera Hollander in this movie, Redgrave did have one previous notable character with erotic overtones. Redgrave had been Georgy in Georgy Girl (1966), her character billed on one of the movie posters as "The wildest thing to hit the world since the mini-skirt!".
Whilst shooting this picture, lead actress Lynn Redgrave was also performing in the play "My Fat Friend" on Broadway. Redgrave once said of this double-act: "This is an exhausting schedule. But you don't think about that when you're doing something exciting."