With the exception of the exchange between Jimmy Hoffa and Robert Kennedy when Hoffa first enters and delays the start of the proceedings, virtually every word between Jimmy Hoffa and Robert Kennedy is taken verbatim from the transcripts of the hearing. A portion of that hearing is included in the Special Edition DVD.
While promoting the movie on "Live with Regis and Kathy Lee", Danny DeVito said that Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. had visited the set one day and that when Jack Nicholson emerged from the make-up trailer made up as Hoffa himself, Jimmy Jr. wept and said "That's my dad." At the time the movie was released (1992), Jimmy Jr. would not have seen his father in 17 years (Hoffa disappeared in 1975).
Jack Nicholson's daughter plays the young nun in the hospital scene where Billy Flynn is dying from his burns. According to Danny DeVito in the DVD Commentary, Nicholson had asked him to give his daughter a small part. At first, Danny DeVito suggested she play the hooker in his hotel room in a later scene, drawing the trademark raised eyebrow from Nicholson. Since DeVito was joking he, of course, relented and cast her as a nun.
When Hoffa and Ciaro encounter the trucker convoy en route to prison, the facility in the background of the scene is an actual view of Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where both were incarcerated.
According to Danny DeVito in the DVD Commentary, his young son was present on the set the day the scene was shot in which Hoffa rants to Delasandro about getting control of the union back from Fitsimmons. The tirade included the line "I'm gonna do what I gotta do!" According to DeVito, for months afterward whenever he asked his son do to something (i.e. clean his room, take out the trash, do his homework, etc.) his son would mimic Jack Nicholson and say "Dad...I'm gonna do what I gotta do!"
In the scene after "Red" Bennett is appointed chairman in the union after the success of the Kreger strike, Jimmy Hoffa picks up a paper from the news stand and reads the headline about the strike. If you pay close attention to the moment when he slaps the paper and says "Ain't that something?" the story his hand touches on the page reads: "Ma and Freddie Barker killed in gun battle". It is a true headline and it places the date in the scene somewhere around January 1935 (when Ma Barker was killed).
One of very few films whose 70mm prints kept the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio (letterboxed within the 70mm 2.20:1 frame), instead of simply being cropped to 2.20:1, as was done with most widescreen films blown up to 70mm.
In the film, Robert Kennedy declares during the hearing "If Mister Hoffa is acquitted... I'll jump from the capitol dome!" In a scene that followed, but was cut, Hoffa and the others celebrate his acquittal by eating a cake shaped like the US Capitol Building and featuring a figurine Robert Kennedy jumping from the dome with a parachute.
Filming was taking place on location at the old Ambassador Hotel when the Rodney King beating trial verdict was announced. Rioting in Los Angeles broke out that evening, but filming continued until late in the evening. Things seemed relatively peaceful in L.A. the next morning, so filming resumed as scheduled. By two o'clock in the afternoon, however, rioting had become so intense, that the City of Los Angeles pulled the production's filming permit. The cast, crew, and hundreds of extras were released to make their way home amid the columns of smoke, sounds of gunfire, and clogged freeways. About three weeks later, cast, crew, and extras returned to the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Blvd. to finish shooting the interrupted scenes.
In the part of the film where Hoffa (Jack Nicholson), Bobby (Danny DeVito), and Delasandro (Armand Assante) have their meeting out in the woods. The scene begins with Bobby sitting in a woody wagon and placing an empty beer bottle on a post before driving down to meet Hoffa. In a scene that followed, but was cut, Bobby gave Delasandro a hunting rifle. Delasandro then tried and failed to shoot the beer bottle off of the post. Hoffa then shoots the bottle off in one shot, upstaging Delasandro.
1992 was a year with a unifying theme for Steve Witting -- that of getting assaulted and removed from scenes by characters played by Danny DeVito. First, in Hoffa, he appears in a single scene as a representative of the federal government investigating in Jimmy Hoffa's office, where he is promptly shoved and kicked out by Danny Devito's Bobby Ciaro. Then, in his only other movie that year, he has the unfortunate distinction of a slightly meatier role, in which his nose is nearly bitten off by DeVito's Penguin in a more memorable scene of Batman Returns.