While re-writing the Jack Collins character, Josh Becker wanted the 'average guy' to have a profession where he knew how to fight. After William Lustig shot down the idea of Collins being a Vietnam vet, an idea he was "completely sick to death of", Becker came up with Collins being a carpenter. Becker thought Collins should at least know how to use his hands. Lustig shot that down as well. Upon meeting Jan-Michael Vincent, Becker found out he was into carpentry and served in the National Guard.
Lance Henriksen was so devoted to his role that he called William Lustig up at midnight asking what kind of gun his character should use. The next day, they met at a deli in Studio City where Henriksen placed a Desert Eagle on the table.