Author John O'Brien, on whose novel this movie is based, committed suicide two weeks after the movie went into production. Director Mike Figgis contemplated abandoning the project, but decided the film would make a good memorial for O'Brien.
Ben doesn't eat a single thing during the entire film. This reinforces his dependence on alcohol as chronic alcoholics usually forget to eat or can't force food down. During the restaurant scene he puts spaghetti on his fork but doesn't eat it. And when Sera fixes him rice, he eats an ice cube instead.
A well known drink manufacturer objected to a man drinking himself to death so every shot that had a bottle of their product clearly visible the negative was electronically changed to mask the label on the bottle
In at least two scenes taxis are shown with an advertisement on the roof hoarding depicting a brand called "Red Mullet" - the name of director Mike Figgis's production company and it's his face in the ad.
In one scene near the start of the film set in a Los Angeles restaurant, two film producers (maybe agents) are having dinner with two actresses. One of the actresses, played by Emily Procter, says "I think the nicest thing about the film actually is that we get to handle guns, and I had never done that before". Years later, she would portrays a ballistics expert on CSI: Miami (2002).
During Cage's Oscar acceptance speech for Best Leading Actor role in the film, he thanked his "gorgeous wife" Patricia Arquette whom he married just a year prior to the ceremony. The two finalized their divorce in 2001.