Tim Krabbé, who wrote both the novel and the screenplay that was adapted from it, based the story on a newspaper article that he accidentally read about a female tourist who disappeared from a bus trip after buying chewing gum at a gas station in France. The police had searched for two nights without finding a trace of the girl. Ten years later, Krabbé did extensive research and found that the girl had turned up alive and well one day later; she had simply boarded the wrong bus. Krabbé even called her to thank her for providing him with the inspiration for the story.
Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu had some unorthodox methods to interact with his colleagues. He deliberately picked a fight with Gene Bervoets prior to their fight scene, so that Bervoet's rage would look genuine, and in the scene where he drugs Johanna ter Steege's character, he held her so tight that she could not breathe and really experienced a panic attack.
The production ran short on money for feeding the cast and crew during filming. According to George Sluizer, he went to some local French underworld figures who lent him money, but also threatened him, in case he wouldn't pay back.
The film was submitted to the Academy Awards in 1988 as the official Dutch entry for Best Foreign Language Film. However, the AMPAS disqualified it because they determined that there was too much French dialog in the film to warrant it being a Dutch candidate.
Director George Sluizer actually filmed an alternative ending in which Raymond Lemorne (played by Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) was caught by the police. This ending was never used or shown as Sluizer thought it would lessen the impact of what had gone before.