Wesley Snipes's kicks and punches sometimes look lurchy and awkward. Snipes is a black belt in real life, and his kicks and punches were so fast that they blurred on camera. Hence the producers asked him to slow them down.
Sylvester Stallone has stated, in interviews, that the idea behind the three seashells was that two were used like chopsticks or to clamp together to pull waste out of the body and the third was used to scrape what was left over. No explanation was made about how they were to be cleaned or sanitized between uses.
Fred Dekker did uncredited rewrites on the script. When he was brought on, the script began in the future and Spartan was introduced when he was brought out of suspended animation. Dekker suggested that the film open with a prologue set in 1996 to showcase Spartan and Phoenix in their natural environment, saying that "If you don't show Kansas, Oz isn't all that special."
Sylvester Stallone wanted the Simon Phoenix character to be played by Jackie Chan. Chan refused, since Asian audiences don't like the idea of actors who have always played heroes suddenly playing evil characters.
The two original choices for the roles were Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Van Damme was offered the role of the bad guy, but didn't want that role. He agreed to star in it if both the lead roles could be switched, the producers tried to get Seagal to play the bad guy, he declined.
In the underground garage where John meets Edgar, the word "Lofazt" is seen scrawled on an overhead air duct. This is a Hungarian swear word (meaning "horse penis") that was famously spoken by Edward James Olmos in Blade Runner (1982), to Harrison Ford.
Sandra Bullock's costume during the Taco Bell sequence was made of stones and gems weighing approximately 40 pounds. After the fight scene outside the restaurant when her character gleefully jumps and replays the action, her dress actually started to rip, which is why she is holding her arms to her sides after Stallone walks away.
Wesley Snipes hated his blonde dye job and shaved his head to get rid of it as soon as filming was complete. After the film's release, professional basketball player Dennis Rodman (who was part of the San Antonio Spurs playing roster) began dying his hair since the 1993/94 NBA season.
Sandra Bullock's character Lenina Huxley is asked "Where did you learn to kick like that?" Her reply was from watching Jackie Chan movies. Jackie Chan is a good friend of Sylvester Stallone. In the Spanish dub, Huxley says it was from watching Bruce Lee movies. Jackie Chan started in cinema as Bruce Lee's stunt double.
Lenina Huxley tells John Spartan about the Arnold Schwarzenegger Presidential Library, explaining that, based on the sheer popularity of his movies, a Constitutional amendment was passed in order for Schwarzenegger to run for president, which, according to Huxley, he did. In 2003, ten years after this film's release, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California and shortly after his election, three senators separately proposed amendments to the US Constitution to allow naturalized citizens to become president. Additionally, Stallone, along with Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Demi Moore backed the opening of the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain.
For some non-American releases, references to Taco Bell were changed to Pizza Hut. This includes dubbing, plus changing the logos during post-production. Taco Bell remains in the closing credits. In both the Dutch and Swedish releases the subtitles still use Taco Bell while the sound and picture have been altered as above. Also, when using Closed Captioning on cable TV, references to Taco Bell are changed to Pizza Hut.
Though the movie was released in 1993, Simon Phoenix and John Spartan were supposed to have been imprisoned in the cryo-prison in 1996. In the scene where Wesley Snipes' character Simon Phoenix is releasing the other cryo-prisoners, he makes a reference to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer was killed in prison in 1994, after the film's release but before the cryo-prison would have been built. During TV replays, the Dahmer references were edited out because they seemed anachronistic.
In Kuwait the Arabic title of the movie in the cinemas was "Rambo The Destroyer". The idea is that, seeing the Rambo movies were very popular, associating Sylvester Stallone to Rambo in the title would perhaps sell more tickets.
Lenina Huxley's name is a combination of Lenina Crowne and Aldous Huxley. Crowne is a character in Aldous Huxley's 'Brave New World' (1932), a novel about a future society where everything is predetermined for you so as not to offend others(among other reasons) and where showing even moderate emotion is considered to be unusual and possibly even illegal. Crowne's first name Lenina itself was chosen by Aldous Huxley after the pseudonym of the first dictator of the Soviet Union, Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov).
According to screenwriter Daniel Waters, the inspiration for the three shells came about when he was writing a scene where Spartan has to use a restroom. He was trying to come up with futuristic things you'd find in there. He was having trouble, so he called a buddy, another screenwriter across town, asked him if he had any ideas. Ironically enough that person was in the bathroom when he answered the phone, looked around his bathroom and said 'I have a bag of seashells on the toilet as a decoration.' Waters said 'Ok, I'll make something out of that.'
Nigel Hawthorne, inexperienced in cinema, took his role to prove that he had screen presence for the producers of The Madness of King George (1994). Hawthorne wanted to reprise the stage role for the movie version. As it transpired this was unnecessary as Hawthorne was the producers' automatic choice for the lead.
Many of the cars in the movie were prototypes of future models, supplied by General Motors. Only two modern-day GM vehicles were seen in the film - a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 (from the golden age of the musclecar era) and a 1982 Buick Skylark (based on the 1980-85 GM X platform which was GM's first mass market front wheel drive automobiles (replacing the 1962-79 rear wheel drive X platform) which sold poorly when the company's J platform outsold it (alongside the redesigned midsize A platform which went FWD in 1982 where a variant (W platform) has remained in production until the 2016 model year) - the FWD X platform was replaced with the subsequent N and L platforms (which were consolidated into the GMX130 in 1997 - now replaced with the Epsilon platform since 2005).
The magnetic accelerator (possibly similar to a rail or coil gun) used by Wesley Snipes in the Museum Armory sequence is based on the Heckler and Koch G11, a prototype weapon for the German army that would have been the most advanced rifle in the world, firing caseless ammunition (bullets, not ferrous slugs).
Warner Bros. disliked the first cut of the movie so they brought editor Stuart Baird to do some re-editing. The same thing happened to another Sylvester Stallone movie Tango & Cash (1989) which was also heavily re-edited many times by Baird and other editors due to the behind the scenes problems and Warner Bros. disliking earlier cuts of the movie. Originally in Demolition Man, there were some more plot parts including Spartan meeting his grown up daughter in the sewers amongst Edgar Friendly's people. In the movie Spartan is shown protecting some girl during the shootout in sewers, this is his daughter and she is also seen later in the ending scene standing next to Friendly while he is talking with Spartan. Other scenes which were deleted include Phoenix killing Zachary Lamb before the car chase between him and Spartan begins, with Spartan and Huxley finding him before he dies (note that Phoenix has his gun out when he didn't in the previous scene), extra lines of dialogue (some of which can be seen in various trailers for the movie) and longer/additional action scenes (including infamous deleted fight scene between Sylvester Stallone and Jesse Ventura). In one deleted action scene during the battle in sewers, Spartan goes on the bridge from which Phoenix and his gang are shooting from and starts to fight with Phoenix but then bridge turns over. While both of them are hanging on it, Phoenix says to Spartan that bus passengers which he failed to save back in 1996 were already dead, meaning that Spartan was sent to CryoPrison for nothing. In the movie, Phoenix says this to Spartan during the car chase near the end of the movie but Phoenix is not shown speaking onscreen which probably means that the dialogue from the deleted scene was placed in this scene or was dubbed by the actor. Some other deleted and alternate scenes can be seen in several trailers, promotional photos and are also in the novelization of the movie.
The screenwriting process for the film became incredibly convoluted as far as both the number of writers involved and the changes between drafts along with the wildly divergent ideas different producers have. At one point, Peter M. Lenkov, Jonathan Lemkin and actor Craig Schafer were all claiming credits and/or working on the film at the same time. The situation only cleared itself when Joel Silver took on chief production values; he paid all of the writers substantial amounts of money to go away, then used the work of Lemkin along with body-and-fender work from writer Daniel Waters (whom Silver had worked with on The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990)).
It was rumored there was going to be a sequel "Demolition Man 2" and it would take place after this film, which John Spartan and Lenina Huxley would have married and Jackie Chan would play the main antagonist, replacing Wesley Snipes, but the sequel did not happen. There was a prequel written long ago and was thought to flop it was never made. In the prequel those are times of John Spartan going after Simon Phoenix. The prequel would be believed to start out with John Spartan starting to go after Simon Phoenix.
In an early scene, set after the first MDK (Murder Death Kill), the name Scott Peterson is listed as one of the cryo-prisoners. The name appears listed before Simon Phoenix on a computer display, which the character Lenina Huxley (Sandra Bullock) has called to the screen. This is merely a coincidence, however, as Scott Peterson was not a public figure until he was tried for the murder of his wife during 2004-2005.
In the strange attempt to entirely replace the Taco Bell name with Pizza Hut (the name was dubbed over and computer generated images of the logo were pasted over), the editors missed a spot. At the start of the battle outside the restaurant, when everyone is flocking to the window, all window panes still show the logo for Taco Bell (also when they first arrive) and the Taco Bell sign is visible in the first shot of the van (in the background when people are running) on the door. The logo can also be seen on the waiter's jackets as dinner is served.
Even though Jonathan Lemkin was the last writer working on the movie and drafted its shooting script, he lost the Writers Guild arbitration and his name does not appear in the credits. However, the movie's novelization lists him as one of the authors of the screenplay.
General Motors provided the production team with 18 concept vehicles, including the Ultralite concept vehicle. More than 20 fiberglass replicas of the Ultralite were produced to portray civilian and SAPD patrol vehicles in the film. After filming had completed, the remaining Ultralites were returned to Michigan as part of GM's concept vehicle fleet.
Hungarian science fiction writer István Nemere says that most of Demolition Man is based on his novel Holtak harca (Fight of the Dead), published in 1986. In the novel, a terrorist and his enemy, a counter-terrorism soldier, are cryogenically frozen and awakened in the 22nd century to find violence has been purged from society. Nemere claimed that a committee proved that 75% of the film is identical to the book. He chose not to initiate a lawsuit, as it would have been too expensive for him to hire a lawyer and fight against major Hollywood forces in the United States. He also claimed that Hollywood has plagiarized works of many Eastern European writers after the fall of the Iron Curtain, and that he knows the person he claims to be responsible for illegally selling his idea to the filmmakers.
Glenn Shadix who plays Associate Bob uses the phrase "Greetings and Salutations." This is Christian Slater's catchphrase in Heathers (1988). Shadix co-starred in that film and it was written by Daniel Waters whom co-wrote this film.
The opening scene featured the actual demolition of one of the buildings of the no longer operative Belknap Hardware and Manufacturing Company in Louisville, Kentucky. Cable TV channel MTV held a movie tie-in contest in which the Grand Prize winner got to press the button that triggered the explosion.
When the cops are talking about bringing Spartan back in Huxley's office, you can see a big sword in the background. Beneath that is a miniature bus like the one from Speed, released one year later and starring Sandra Bullock.
A futuristic Oldsmobile dealership appears in the film - General Motors announced in December 2000 to shut down the Oldsmobile division a few days after the company released the refreshed GMT 360-based Bravada where the 2004 model year ended 107 years of continuous production. The shutdown of Oldsmobile preceded the shutdown of subsequent GM divisions (the Pontiac, Hummer, and Saturn divisions were discontinued in late 2010).
Carlton Wilborn made appearances as Carl the Wasteland Scrap, seen with Edgar Friendly at the beginning of the movie and most. When Edgar Friendly shoots down the bridge Simon Phoenix and his accomplices are on there's a shot in the background with Carl appearing to be fighting most of Simon Phoenix's gang including the character played by Jesse Ventura.
The movie takes place about 40 years in the future. Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is on the list of frozen criminals that will be reanimated. This movie was released in 1993 and Dahmer was murdered in prison on Nov 28,1994.
In the novelization for Terminator Salvation (2009), Marcus Wright thinks about using the pages of Beyond Good and Evil as toilet paper; John Spartan wants to use the swear box sheets as toilet paper too and both Sylvester Stallone and Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger were action movie rivals.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Schwarzenegger made a uncredited cameo in the film as a muscular thug in the police station, as a personal favor to his friend Sylvester Stallone, and accepted no payment for doing so.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
According to the scripts (before the final draft) the film starts out in 1998 and goes over to 2042 as John Spartan and Simon Phoenix were frozen for 44 years. In that draft a CryoCon was named Ignatious and was changed to Howie, while Howie was written out and replaced with a thug already released in according to what was cut out of the movie. Beppo was Albert. Kodo was Beppo. Adam (played by Jesse Ventura) was Charlie and Jesse he dies in the underground battle assumed to be killed by armed scraps - or Edgar Friendly that was, in that draft, Thomas Payne - when John Spartan went after Simon Phoenix. It is then that Elvin, who was the CryoCon that kicked the chair out of the way when Cocteau was killed, that kills Cocteau in that draft rather than the CryoCon played by Ventura. Then, according to what was cut out or not filmed, John Spartan either kills or incapacitates Elvin.