Jackie Chan was originally offered the role of Duan Xiaolou due to his own childhood experience of training in the Peking Opera. But he turned it down, fearing that the film, which deals with themes of homosexuality, might tarnish his image.
Miramax Filmsmogul "Harvey Weinstein" purchased the distribution rights and removed ten minutes. This is the version seen in U.S. theaters (and also in the U.K.) According to Peter Biskind's book, "Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film", Louis Malle, who was president of the Cannes jury that year, said: "The film was admired so much in Cannes is not the film seen in this country (referring to the U.S.), which is twenty minutes shorter - but seems longer because it doesn't make any sense. It was better before those guys made cuts." The uncut version of the film was released on DVD by Miramax and Disney, and is the original 171-minute version.
During filming, Leslie Leung could hardly speak mandarin Chinese, let alone a genuine Beijing accent(as every actor speaks in this film). His voice is dubbed by native Beijing actor Yang Lixin (uncredited).