Writer/director James Bridges originally wrote and edited the film so that the story played chronologically backward, similar to what Memento and Irreversible did 16 years later. However, the studio got nervous, thinking it was too complicated and hard to follow, and had the film re-edited in chronological order for release.
While the film's test screening tested really poorly, Joe Jackson's score was ultimately replaced by John Barry before its new release date in 1984. However in a very strange occurrence, Joe Jackson's rejected score and the songs he wrote and were left in the final film, was released by A&M Records around 1983. This would mark a very rare occurrence in that film that was delayed without a release date would have a soundtrack released beforehand, let alone a rejected score.
James Bridges, wrote, produced and directed this film in the Spring of 1983; focused and based upon the true case murder of a young man's (Mike's Murder) botched drug involvement with a syndicated drug cartel. Two African-American males on the UCLA football team (linemen) were convicted of Mike's murder, ordered by the cartel, which is incidental to the climax of the film. The production company set up offices at The Culver City Studios; building the interiors and matching the exterior of the Westwood exterior house location on a stage at the Culver City studio. Jim Bridges had Alan Ladd, Jr.'s financial investment and support agreeing to deliver the project under a three million dollar budget. Sharing the construction crew and mill for the film "Star 80", while both were in production at the same studio facility, reduced below the line expenses. Additionally, scheduling all the locations on the Venice, West LA, Westwood and West Hollywood Hills (above Sunset Boulevard) reduced transportation expenses and charges. The entire production team was a tightly knit creative group fully informed of the tight budget problem.
This was the first project Debra Winger did after An Officer and a Gentleman (1982). After a poor reception from preview audiences, the ad campaign was changed, the soundtrack music was replaced and the film was re-edited. It was eventually released in 1984 after Winger had a hit with Terms of Endearment (1983).
As the film was delayed, Joe Jackson's score was replaced by John Barry who was brought in to beef up the dramatic aspects of the now chronological version of the film. The film would feature about close to 30 minutes of his original score. However, a few scenes in the film did in fact feature a couple of the songs Jackson wrote based on his original score.