The jail used in the movie is the actual Allegheny County Jail that figures in the story. Designed by noted architect Henry Hobson Richardson, built between 1884-1888, it served as a jail until 1995 and is now used by the juvenile and family sections of the Common Pleas Court.
Ken Wahl was to meet with Diane Keaton about taking the role of Ed Biddle. But on his way to the meeting, Wahl crashed his motorcycle and suffered a head injury that required 89 stitches. The part was in the end cast with Australian actor Mel Gibson.
Though the movie's leading man Mel Gibson and its director Gillian Armstrong are both Australian, this film, a big American Hollywood production, was their first [and to date, February 2015] their only ever collaboration. Ironically, the pair had never worked together on an Australian feature film.