The movie features two of Clint Eastwood's daughters in very small roles, Kimber Eastwood (b. Kimber Tunis) and Alison Eastwood. The casting of Kimber was eyebrow-raising because Clint had never spoken publicly of her existence. Her presence in this film and billing under the surname Eastwood constitutes his acknowledgment.
Clint Eastwood has said of this film's development: "I was sent the script by the production team at Castle Rock and I liked it immediately. It was written by William Goldman who is one of the best screenwriters around. He had nicely tightened up the story from the book to fit into a film format while keeping the characters well defined and interesting people".
At the Café Alonzo, when policeman Seth Frank (Ed Harris) and Secret Service agent Bill Burton (Scott Glenn) are standing inside a building foyer, a plaque on the door of the foyer reads "This Week Only: Carol Glenn Watercolor Exhibition". Carol Glenn is an artist and Scott Glenn's wife of many years. Some of her watercolors can just be glimpsed.
In the film, Gene Hackman plays a President who murders his mistress. In No Way Out (1987), he played a Secretary of Defense who murdered his mistress. The witness of both crimes were played by future Oscar winners: Kevin Costner in the 1987 movie and Clint Eastwood in this one. Both Costner and Eastwood won their first two Oscars (Film and Director) while directing westerns.
The house in the beginning of the film is actually a real castle in Brooklandville, Maryland. It belongs to Maryvale Preparatory school. Classes are held inside, as well as some administration and offices. The carpet and the painting seen hanging were left in the Castle after filming was finished.
In the 1997 "Film & Video" article "Clint Eastwood: The Actor-Director Reflects on His Continuing Career and New Film, Absolute Power", Clint Eastwood reportedly liked the source novel's plot and characters but did not like the ones he thought interesting being bumped off and asked script-writer William Goldman to ensure "everyone the audience likes doesn't get killed off".
Quite a number of the film's supporting cast are all Academy Awards nominees. Actors Ed Harris, Judy Davis, Laura Linney and Richard Jenkins have all been nominated for Oscars for acting, their nominations all adding up to ten nominations in total for all of them and all without a single win.
According to the DVD's "Behind The Scenes", novelist David Baldacci met producer Karen S. Spiegel in 1992, the year that Eastwood's Academy Award winning Best Picture Unforgiven (1992) got first released. They worked on a three paragraph outline and four drafts of the screenplay which became the basis for Baldacci's later 1996 novel. Spiegel took the project to Castle Rock Entertainment whereupon screenwriter William Goldman was contracted to write the script.
In his memoir "Which Lie Did I Tell?", screenwriter William Goldman described his writing of the several drafts of the film's screenplay that he had worked on in 1995 after being first hired for this film in 1994.
Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman never meet in the course of the film, despite being the protagonist and primary antagonist, respectively. In fact, of the four antagonists, only Dennis Haysbert shares a scene with Eastwood.
When entering the crime scene for the second time Judy Davis's character refers to the two-way mirror. Two-way mirrors are also known as one-way mirrors since you can only see through them from one side.
The film was made and released in the year of 1997, which was during the Presidency of Bill Clinton, which ran between 1992 (election) / 1993 (inauguration) and 1996 (election) and 2000 (not a candidate) / 2001 (end of term).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
This adaptation of David Baldacci's novel omits the novel's hero: Jack Graham, a lawyer and good friend of both Luther and Kate Whitney. In the novel, he outlives Luther and carries on the battle to clear Luther's name of the murder charge.