Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte reportedly did not get along throughout filming. Nolte would go on to say that this was the worst movie he had ever done while Roberts later said that Nolte was the worst actor she had ever worked with.
Julia Roberts described Nick Nolte as "disgusting" whereas Nolte said of her as "not a nice person." Roberts disliked Nolte's macho act, and was not shy or polite about letting him know. He, in turn, began deliberately engaging in it to piss her off
Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts refused to shoot their later scenes together, necessitating some quick rewriting and clever editing and camera tricks. By some accounts they did more scenes with stand-ins than with each other.
Composer Elmer Bernstein wrote the original score for this film. That score was rejected by the filmmakers, and replaced last minute with David Newman's score. Some of the early movie posters actually showed Elmer's name as the composer.
Due to all the strife between the two leads and the ways the production had had to accommodate it, Disney's marketing department scrambled to recast the film, which it had been teasing as the romantic comedy originally intended, into something more like a conventional suspense thriller. "It's gone from a Hepburn-Tracy Woman of the Year (1942) to The Pelican Brief (1993) in a very short time span," one competing studio marketing person noted before it was released.
Many critics feel that the film is best remembered for the Julia Roberts was caught swimming naked by Nick Nolte and a group of boy scouts. This scene was widely regarded as the money shot for much of the film's advertising campaign.