To make the movie acceptable for television showings, the nude hustler (Lou Milione), has been digitally altered. In the scene after he is discovered with Paul (Will Smith), he is chased around the apartment. In the original version, he is completely naked. But in the television version, white jockey underwear has been added digitally.
Will Smith refused to kiss Anthony Michael Hall just before their kissing scene, so a camera trick was used showing only the back of their heads. In an interview, Smith stated that Denzel Washington advised him not to kiss a man on-screen, for it would harm his career. Smith stated that he regretted not going through with it, saying "It was very immature on my part."
Will Smith's character in the film passes himself off as Sidney Poitier's son. In real-life, when Smith met Poitier for the first time, the veteran actor said "Well, you're almost handsome enough to be my son."
Doug (J.J. Abrams), when looking through the yearbook with the other college children, exclaims "remember Greg Grunberg?", a reference to Abrams' childhood friend, whom he often casts in his own projects.
The original Broadway production of "Six Degrees of Separation" opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on November 8, 1990, ran for four hundred eighty-five performances, and was nominated for the 1991 Tony Award for Best Play. Stockard Channing reprised her role in the movie, while her fellow Broadway stage actors Kelly Bishop, John Cunningham, and Sam Stoneburner have cameo roles. Stockard Channing was nominated for the 1991 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. John Guare wrote both the stage play and the screenplay for the movie adaptation.
When Paul is talking about his thesis, he mentions The Lord of the Rings books. Geoffrey, who is listening to him, is played by Sir Ian McKellen, who later played Gandolf in The Lord of the Rings films.
J.J. Abrams (Doug) went on to become a Writer and Producer of several television shows, including one called Six Degrees (2006) (a reference to the same "small world" theory that is discussed in this film).
L.A. Theatre Works produced a radio adaptation of the play, in which Ouisa and Flan are played by Swoosie Kurtz and Alan Alda. Alda, of course, became famous for taking over another role from Donald Sutherland: "Hawkeye" Pierce from M*A*S*H (1972).
Ouisa Kittredge (Stockard Channing) is based on Inger McCabe Elliott, a New York City socialite, and friend of Screenwriter John Guare. Elliott encountered David Hampton in 1983, and told Guare about the story.
This film would never have been made if Stockard Channing hadn't been cast as Ouisa. She starred in the Broadway version, and the playwright, John Guare, stipulated that if the play were adapted to a film, Stockard Channing would have to reprise her role. Without Stockard as Ouisa, the movie was not to be made at all.