Director Kathryn Bigelow found that no existing camera system could accomplish the shots necessary for the point-of-view sequences, so Lightstorm Entertainment's research division spent a full year designing and fabricating a special camera for the production. Weighing only 8 pounds, the 35mm camera literally fit in the palm of the hand and featured interchangeable lenses, remote follow focus, and video assist (necessary since the camera had no viewfinder). The camera was then mounted on a SteadiCam-style portable rig, which gave the camera stability and mobility similar to the human eye.
When the character Mace (Angela Bassett) is delivering a speech to Lenny (Ralph Fiennes) about how memories are designed to fade, Lenny is crumpling in front of a poster of elephants - a well-known symbol of memory. Director Kathryn Bigelow was asked at a special screening if this was intentional, to which she replied, "No. I'm going to have to ask the art director about that..."
In a scene between Mace (Angela Bassett) and Lenny (Ralph Fiennes), Mace says "...Right Here Right Now." This is exactly where 'Norman 'Fatboy Slim' Cook' obtained the sample from that is heard in his single "Right Here Right Now".
In the scene where Lenny uses the S.Q.U.I.D. to watch a clip of his past with Faith, Faith throws a blue towel and him and says, "Dry me." It is a reference to Blade Runner (1982) where Zhora throws a towel at Deckard and says the same line.
James Cameron did extensive editing work, especially on the final action sequences, but he could not be credited because he was not in the editors union. He joined before making Titanic (1997) and is credited as an editor on that film.
The point-of-view action sequences (where the audience sees everything from the perspective of one of the characters) required well over a year of preparation, planning, and careful rehearsal before they could be shot.
The opening sequence of the film was shot at four separate locations, as one contiguous location could not be found. The cuts between shots were disguised by rapidly panning the camera around. Due to the pace of the scene, the sound men could not effectively record any of the actual sound on the set. All of the sound and dialogue in the sequence had to be overdubbed during post production.
Early in the film, when Lenny's television is on, one of the predictions made for the new millennium is that Muammar Gadhafi will win a Nobel Peace Prize. Ironically, Gadhafi was captured and killed after the Libyan uprising in 2011, largely because he was viewed as a brutal tyrant and dictator.
The single biggest challenge facing Matthew F. Leonetti and his crew, was discreetly lighting a seven-block stretch of Sunset Boulevard, so that both sides of the street could be filmed simultaneously with several different incidents going on.
Filmmaker trademark: During the first fight scene with Lenny, Mace, and Philo's crew, there is a fluorescent light fixture hanging by a cord that is spinning and shining light all over the room--a visual present in several of the films of James Cameron, who wrote, produced, and edited (uncredited) this film (and who had also been briefly married to director Kathryn Bigelow prior to this film's making).
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Judging by his birth and death year listed in the news report about his murder, Jeriko One is a member of the "27 Club", a collective of entertainers who have passed away at the age of 27. Other members of this club include Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison. The latter is the frontman of the Doors, whose second album is entitled "Strange Days".