Julia Roberts caused a controversy after she left Abbeville, South Carolina, where the film shot some location work. She said the place was "a living hell" and a "horribly racist" town and she would never return there.
The name Laura chooses for herself is connected to her past life. The first name of Sarah means Princess, which is what Martin used to call her, and the last name of Waters symbolizes Laura's supposed drowning.
At the time director Joseph Ruben was hired, Kim Basinger was attached to the project as Laura Burney. She ultimately turned down the part, though, feeling she wasn't right for the role. The character in the end was cast with Julia Roberts.
Upon its release, the movie ended an eleven week and almost three-month reign of Home Alone (1990) at the top of the North American box office. However, both pictures were from the same 20th Century Fox studio anyway.
Martin displays the classic cycle of spousal/partner abuse with Laura. First, the building of tensions, which continually increase between a couple, ultimately culminating in an abusive episode. After an incident, the abuser has released built-up tension, and thus the abuser is usually incredibly remorseful. This leads to the honeymoon period, which is characterized by apologizing, promising it will never happen again, and/or gifts. Finally, there is calm in the relationship for a time until tensions build again.
When this movie was submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)for a rating it was given a rating of NC-17. An NC-17 rated film can only have limited advertisement in the US and many theaters will not show an NC-17 rated film. So to make a profit, the movie had to have a rating of R. In order for the MPAA to give this film an R rating, several seconds of the first sex scene between Martin and Laura had to be cut. The version of this film with the entire sex scene is known as the International version which was seen in the UK and other parts of Europe.
There is a photo of the rear of the fake house movie set that was built for the Burney's house on the internet that clearly shows it is not a real house, but a facade. This view, of course, is not ever shown in the movie for obvious reasons. But on the 2009 DVD cover, the house that is shown is the rear facade picture that shows the house is fake.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The scene that Ben's students are rehearsing when Martin spies on the class is from the play 'The Seagull' by Anton Chekhov. It is a scene from the final Act of the play when the character of Konstantin is begging the woman he loves, Nina, to be with him. Nina, who does not return his love, rejects him and Konstantin commits suicide shortly afterwards. In parallel, Martin believes himself to love Laura/Sara as much as Konstantin loved Nina and there is a similar scene later in the film when Martin begs Laura/Sara to be with him and she rejects him. Also, like Konstantin, Martin dies of a gunshot wound.
When Sara's realtor is first showing her the house the ends up renting as they walk down the hallway where Sara intimately ends up shooting her husband the realtor says "This house has some amazing possibilities. I think you'd like it!". Potential foreshadowing for that exact location!