According to the book "Robert Downey Jr - The fall and rise of the comeback kid", Mike Figgis and Robert Downey Jr. met at Kate Mantilini's, a restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills to discuss this movie. Downey arrived two hours late, barefoot, high and carrying a purse with a gun sticking out of it. Figgis was shocked at first but started a conversation anyway. Downey, who had lost a lot of weight because of his addiction, still expected to be offered the lead role of Max. Figgis offered him the part of Charlie, a man dying of AIDS instead. This in turn gave Downey a shock, but after taking a good look in the mirror (and doing a line of coke) he decided to accept the part.
In his autobiography Hollywood Animal, Eszterhas states that his completed script was 90% dialogue and that Michael De Luca, New Line's head of production, told him that the company's employees liked the script so much that they were going around the office reciting lines of dialogue.
Joe Eszterhas wrote the original script, which was a series of loosely-connected sex scenes. When Mike Figgis took over the project and rewrote most of the script, Ezsterhas decided to take his name off the film.