Jason Mewes had the entire script memorized before rehearsals. When asked why, he said it was because he didn't want to anger Alan Rickman, and because Kevin Smith took him aside before rehearsals began and said he needed to be on his best behavior and bring his A game to the set, which Mewes did.
William Donohue of the Catholic League lambasted the film and publicly protested against it for months without actually seeing the film, after which his office called View Askew offices and said "Dr. Donohue requests a special screening of Dogma (1999) so that he can speak about it intelligently." Kevin Smith's response was: "So what has he been doing the past six months?"
According to Kevin Smith on his DVD commentary Linda Fiorentino was very difficult to work with and on some days in fact wasn't even speaking to him. In retrospect Smith says he wishes he offered the role to Janeane Garofalo instead.
When they heard Alan Rickman was a Chasing Amy (1997) fan, Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier felt confident enough to ask him to play Metatron. He read the script and came back with only two questions: 1) would we stay faithful to the script, and 2) are the wings real or CGI?
Alanis Morissette was originally meant to play the leading role of Bethany Sloan, but was unable to because of her 1998-99 world tour. By the time she was able to work on the film, the role had been cast so she was offered the chance to play God as compensation.
On the train when Silent Bob grabs Bartleby, he yells, Schueler Bob? I'll get you for this Schueler Bob! Ben Affleck ad-libbed the line, much to the amusement of the cast and crew, intending it to be Silent Bob in German. Kevin Smith left it in even though Schueler is actually German for pupil.
Unbeknown to protesters, Kevin Smith joined one of the Catholic groups that protested his film. He managed to get interviewed by a reporter who recognized him, though Smith managed to stay incognito by giving his friend's name as his own (Bryan Johnson); also present at the protest rally) and telling her that he is often mistaken for the Clerks (1994) director. During the interview Smith (as Johnson) also made the comment that he kind of liked his [Kevin Smith's] first film.
George Carlin agreed to take the role of Cardinal Glick, but didn't want to remove his wedding band (he had recently lost his wife), so he wore a Band-Aid to hide it. This was actually unnecessary as Catholic clergy wear wedding bands to signify their "marriage" to the church.
Rufus's reply, "Know him? Nigga owes me twelve bucks!" when asked if he knows Christ was one of the few lines ad-libbed by Chris Rock. When Rufus awakens on the train, he says the word "poopytrim.", this was not in the script, but has been used in a Kevin Smith film in the past. In Mallrats (1995), when Willam is standing in front of the magic eye poster, he is woken from his trance by Brody and he says "poopytrim", and another ad-lib is when Rock calls Silent Bob "biggie." It was originally written as "tubby."
Smith originally wrote an early draft of the film in the early-90s and planned on shooting it after Clerks (1994), hence the inclusion of that movie's end credits: Jay and Silent Bob will return in Dogma (1999)'. However, he found himself unhappy with the early version of the script and decided instead to not pursue the project until he became a better filmmaker.
The irony about Catholics and the Catholic League protesting against this movie is that Kevin Smith was raised Roman Catholic, and still considers himself a Catholic. He thanks God in the end credits and mentions that he is raising another little Catholic (his daughter).
Due to the controversy of the film, Disney was having doubts about releasing the film, at which point Miramax's Harvey Weinstein personally brought the project from Miramax and sent it to Lions Gate Films.
In the film, Loki is the angel of death and Azrael is a demon who wants to cause mischief. In traditional mythology, it is Azrael who is the angel of death, and Loki is a Norse god who causes mischief.
Among the numerous (reportedly eight) drafts of the script written, the controversy and protests of the film were based on the third draft which was transcribed and placed on the internet by an unknown source.
In the opening sequence at the airport, Gwyneth Paltrow was sitting a couple of seats away from Ben Affleck. She is never seen however, and was only there because Affleck had invited her to the set that day as a friend.
Rufus tells Bethany something no one else knew, about a boy named Bryan Johnson. Bryan Johnson is a friend of Kevin Smith's and appears in most of his films. Johnson is a writer/director who directed the first film from View Askew (Smith's production company) not to be directed by Kevin Smith - Vulgar (2000).
Loki references Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There" and claims the novel is criticism of organized religion. Not only does this cause the nun to abandon her calling, but it is ironic in that Carroll was a conservative Christian who openly defended Christian doctrines and advocated the teachings of Christ. Loki then comments that he enjoys such pranks when directed at the clergy. It can therefore be noted that in the Norse mythology, Loki is a cheeky trickster god.
This film was originally scheduled for a November 1998 release and to be released by Miramax Films, but due to controversy, the film was postponed for a 1999 release, and the rights were passed on to Lions Gate Films.
The Golgothan's first line - "Not born, shit into existence." - is taken verbatim from Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. It pertains to a very disgusting-looking Clayface in that, if you're wondering. The next line - "No man of woman born" - is a shout out to Macbeth.
Several versions of the script had much less couth dialogue for the conversation between Loki and the nun. Originally, he told her to take the money she was collecting and get a nice piece of ass; this was changed for the movie to a nice dress. The original was a reference to the book/movie Fletch (1985).
In the scene where Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are in the gun shop you can see Ben pick up a knife and play with it. If you continue to watch Ben you will see him cut his finger; he then recoils with a look of shock on his face. This is joked about in the DVD commentary too.
When Azrael takes Bartleby and Loki to the toy store, Madman toys can be seen behind Azrael. Madman is a comic book character created by Mike Allred, who did the pencils for the comic book pages used in Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy (1997).
The origins of the Mooby franchise, as related by Loki, include allusions to Mickey Mouse (the bi-coastal theme parks), McDonald's (the fast food restaurants), and various doll lines for little girls like Barbie and My Little Pony (whose creators are mostly known only to fans of the respective franchises).
Bob Schreck, Joe Nozemack and Jim Mahfood all make cameos as Church parishioners. They all worked with Kevin Smith in comics with Mahfood illustrating the Clerks comics , Schreck as editor on Kevin's Green Arrow run and Schreck and Nozemack as co-publishers of his Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Comics at Oni Press.
Both Linda Fiorentino and Jason Lee previously appeared with Will Smith in Men in Black (1997) and Enemy of the State (1998) respectively. Will Smith later made a cameo appearance in Jersey Girl (2004), another Kevin Smith film.
When they are in the bar watching the reign of terror at the church on the news, the newscaster is Brian O'Hallorahan (Dante Hicks from Clerks) making his fourth appearance in a Kevin Smith film. Also making a cameo is Jeff Anderson (Randal from Clerks) as the gun salesman. Several other Clerks minor characters also appear as well, as they do in all Kevin Smith's films.
In the scene where Jay and Silent Bob are watching Serendipity perform, one shot cuts from Serendipity to Jay who is running his hands down his face. This happens because half the shot was cut; Bethany had originally smacked Jay upside his head while telling Rufus what happened to her car, and Jay was pulling his cap back down over his head.
Kevin Smith: [Jaws (1975)] In the DVD Special Edition there is a cut scene where Jay (Jason Mewes) puts on Cardinal Glick's (George Carlin) hat and walks back and forth behind a screen so that all you see is the hat, looking like a shark's fin.
Kevin Smith: [star wars] After meeting with Bethany, Jay says "It's like I'm Han, you're Chewie, she's Ben Kenobi and we're in that fucked-up bar!" The scene transitions are done in the same way as the Star Wars movies, wiping instead of just cutting to the next scene.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
There were eight different versions of the script and not one of them, including the shooting script, ever had anything about God cleaning up at the end. Kevin Smith had what he called an epiphany at the last minute. There had been a number of delays in shooting the scene, and the church eventually asked Smith to clean up the street. He chose to immediately clean up the street and add God cleaning up rather than disappoint the very accommodating church.
Although Alanis Morissette is only onscreen as God for a few minutes at the end of the film, she has two different costumes. The second, a white dress with a metallic bodice and jacket, was designed by French haute couturier Christian Lacroix and was by far the most expensive outfit in the movie. Appropriately, given the plot and Catholic themes of this movie, the designer's first and last names are both references to Christianity, "Lacroix" meaning "the cross" in French, and "Christian" meaning, well, Christian.