Warren Beatty was described by writing partner Jeremy Pikser and biographer Peter Biskind as so insecure about his script that he went to former collaborator Elaine May with the script. She told him it wasn't any good but Beatty suspected that because May was writing the script to a rival political satire, Primary Colors (1998) that she was looking out for her own interests.
Warren Beatty held a private screening of this film for Professor Cornel West. Beatty was unsure if he wanted to release the film and asked West's opinion. West praised the film and told Beatty that it needed to be seen.
Co-writer Jeremy Pikser described the experience of working with Warren Beatty as frustrating. He was paid by the studio a lump sum per each draft produced and Beatty spent months working and reworking a single draft. Tired of being away from his family, Beatty's ego and the lack of pay, Pikser left the L.A. office where he and Beatty were writing the script to return to his family in L.A. The two finished the rest of the process via telephone and fax.