Sharon Stone was initially set to play the role of Harriet Michaels, but wanted to perform a dual role and also play Rose Michaels. The studio denied her request and she pulled out of the film altogether.
While shooting scenes in the butcher shop, Nancy Travis was distracted by Mike Myers' antics and accidentally cut off the tip of her middle finger on her left hand when chopping vegetables with a kitchen knife. Travis kept shouting "Cut! Cut! Cut!" which she meant literally, although the crew initially thought she was referring to the term for stopping the shooting of a scene. A local doctor sewed it back on.
The filmmakers chose San Francisco as the film's setting, citing that it seemed like the ideal place for Charlie the poet to live. Mike Myers admired the city's scene for its clothes, music and sensibilities but particularly its coffee-house culture. Myers noted that residents seemed to favor coffee-houses over bars.
The soccer game that Stuart MacKenzie tells "Head" to turn on is a friendly match between the USA men's soccer team and Scotland that took place in Denver, Colorado on May 17, 1992 at Mile High Stadium. Scotland won, 0-1.
Nancy Travis interviewed a butcher to better understand her character's profession and to find out what the traits are of a butcher. Travis said the one thing the butcher emphasized, was to keep her eyes on cutting the meat so not to injure herself.
The Poets Corner hotel scene was filmed at the Dunsmuir estate, which was also the location for Stacey Sutton's (Tanya Roberts) mansion in the 1985 James Bond movie, A View to a Kill (1985). However, the estate is located in Oakland, California, not north of San Francisco in the mountains, as depicted in this movie.
There were stories in the press that Mike Myers' over-inflated ego forced extensive re-shoots on the film and that he tried to deny Robbie Fox credit for writing the film, sometimes locking himself in his trailer and refusing to work. On the set, director Thomas Schlamme said that he had his differences with Myers over how the film should be shaped. He said that Myers was "taking a stretch beyond his usual self and was playing outside himself. Personality clashes were bound to happen. We struggled". However, the director denied that Myers was a control freak and praised the "total commitment to his work. (But) yes, it was difficult". In addition, several major newspapers and magazines claimed that the film went over budget, with in-fighting among the principal actors and lengthy release delays, and that it was unfunny.
When Harriet (Nancy Travis) takes the wedding rings out of the talcum powder, you can see the band-aid on the middle finger of her left hand. This was the finger that she cut during the filming scene in the butcher shop while watching Mike Meyers' antics.
The butcher shop used for "Meats of the World" was Prudente Meats on Grant Street in the North Beach Section of San Francisco. Prior to being Prudente Meats it was known as Jacobi Meats, the oldest Kosher butcher in San Francisco. Today, the building houses an art gallery.
Mike Myers extensively rewrote the script with writer Neil Mullarkey, an old friend from Britain. According to Myers, they changed the story and many of the comedic moments. Robbie Fox was asked to consider a new set of credits that gave him a "story by" and co-screenplay credit. He rejected the proposal and in arbitration, the Writers Guild of America decided that Fox would receive sole screenwriting credit. Fried and Myers were upset that Mullarkey, who put a lot of work into the script, did not get any credit.[
When the actors did the first cast read-through of the script, Charlie's father, Stuart, had not yet been cast. Mike Myers read that character's lines and the filmmakers so enjoyed his interpretation that they realized he could play that role as well.
The genesis of the film originated in 1987 when producer Robert N. Fried met with writer Robbie Fox to discuss story ideas. They ended up talking about the problems they had with women and agreed that "most women appeared to be out to destroy us!" the producer recalled.
Mike Myers was offered the lead role(s) based on the success of Wayne's World (1992). He agreed because he liked the script and many of his friends also had a fear of commitment and "were all suffering from cold feet and what is cold feet but a low-grade terror? This story just expands on that terror".
Charles Grodin and Debi Mazar both have cameos in this movie: Grodin's car is commandeered by Tony at the end of the movie & Mazar is Tony's date when Charlie & Harriet go on a double date. Both Grodin & Mazar also starred in Beethoven's 2nd (1993) the same year as this movie.
Robbie Fox wrote the screenplay in 1987. In the original version, Charlie was Jewish and, according to Fried, it was "initially conceived as being more about paranoia than commitment". Mike Myers wanted changes to the script that would allow him to do some serious acting and Saturday Night Live (1975)-style comedy.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
In the shooting draft of the screenplay, Harriet was previously married to a German martial arts expert rather than a Russian one. Instead of overhearing two Russian sailors speaking, she overhears a German man proposing to his girlfriend in German.