Originally "White Palace" was to have been "White Castle", and in the novel specific reference is made to a real White Castle location at the intersection of S. Grand Blvd. and Gravois Ave. in south St. Louis, Mo., but the White Castle chain wouldn't give permission for their trademarked name to be used in either the novel or the movie, or allow the use of any of their restaurants for film locations. The diner used for the film's "White Palace" restaurant tried to change its name to White Palace after the film was released, but the studio refused permission, so it was renamed "White Knight" by its owners instead. It still exists and is open for business.
Debut cinema movie produced screenplay of writer Ted Tally who would very soon go on to write the script for The Silence of the Lambs (1991) released in the following year and then after Tally would in 1992 for that win an Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published Oscar.
The name of the working-class suburb was "Dogtown" which is a real life district in St. Louis, Missouri. The Irish-American region comprises of five neighborhoods - Clayton-Tamm, Franz Park, Hi-Pointe, Cheltenham and the eastern part Ellendale - which together form the informally known traditionally Irish section of St. Louis known as "Dogtown". It is the Clayton-Tamm part of the region where the movie is mostly set.
The film co-starred Kathy Bates in a supporting role and was released in the same year as Misery (1990) which Bates won the Academy Award for Best Actress for in 1991. The film was one of four 1990 releases that Bates appeared in, the others being Dick Tracy (1990) and Men Don't Leave (1990).
The picture was promoted as being "the story of a younger man, and a bolder woman" with the word "bolder" being a play on words as Susan Sarandon's Nora Baker character is "older" to James Spader's Max Baron character.
Both of the film's screenwriters have won Academy Awards for screen-writing. Ted Tally has won for The Silence of the Lambs (1991) whilst Alvin Sargent has won for both Julia (1977) and Ordinary People (1980), with the latter also being Oscar nominated for Paper Moon (1973). All four nominations for script-writing were for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Months after principal photography wrapped on the film, stars Susan Sarandon and James Spader were called back to re-shoot the ending. The original ending for the film followed the ending in the book where Max proposes to Nora in a restaurant bathroom and it's left up to the reader to determine whether or not she agrees. This ending didn't test well as audiences wanted a more definitive conclusion.