Carol Sobieski wrote the first draft of the screenplay, which the director and producers thought were wonderful - but it wasn't the movie they wanted to do. Next, Fannie Flagg was brought on to do another draft and she finished seventy pages before quitting. With no money left to hire another writer, director Jon Avnet took it upon himself to write the screenplay and spent the next three years doing so. He did, however, stay in close contact with Flagg to make sure he stayed true to her book.
In July 2008, afterellen.com reported that Mary-Louise Parker said that she, her costar Mary Stuart Masterson, and screenwriter (and original novel author) Fannie Flagg were all strong advocates for depicting in the film the lesbian relationship between Ruth and Idgie that had appeared in the book. However, the director, Jon Avnet, and the producers of the film chose instead to excise the romance and just make the two characters into friends. In the DVD extras, Avnet does say that he considered Idgie and Ruth's food fight scene in the movie as an analogy for a love scene between the two that he chose not to include.
There really is a Whistle Stop Cafe that does indeed serve fried green tomatoes (among other Southern foods) just north of Macon Georgia. It is in the actual area where many of the scenes were filmed. After the film became a huge success, the Whistle Stop Cafe set was turned into an actual restaurant, and its surrounding area into a tourist attraction. Although they may have filmed in Georgia, the true Whistle Stop Cafe is in Irondale, Alabama (a suburb or Birmingham, where Author Fannie Flagg grew up.)
Author Fannie Flagg was good friends with Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. In the movie, Mrs. Threadgoode suggests Evelyn would be "good with cosmetics" - so she becomes a successful Mary Kay beauty consultant.
Graffiti on one of the buildings in Whistle Stop, shown at the beginning of the movie when the credits are still rolling, says "Kudzu Kills." Kudzu is a plant in the pea family, and is usually considered an invasive species. It climbs over other plants and kills them by depriving them of sunlight. Some of the old abandoned buildings in this scene are covered with vegetation, presumably Kudzu. Kudzu thrives in the American Southeast, due to the hot, humid climate.
Fannie Flagg, who wrote the screenplay and the renowned book the movie was based on, "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe," is best known as a panelist on the 1970's game show Match Game PM (1975). She was born in Alabama, where the book is set, and is now a celebrated author of Southern-genre writing, in the vein of Margaret Mitchell and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.