Will Smith said that he knew the movie wasn't any good and he was embarrassed when it earned almost $50 million in its opening weekend. Years later, Smith apologized publicly to Robert Conrad (star of the original TV series) and said now that he was older and more experienced, he understood Conrad's anger and criticism of the film version, as well as Conrad's refusal to make a cameo appearance in it.
Though a box office failure its commonly joked that the only reason the film made any money at all is because unaccompanied minors would buy tickets to this film then use them to sneak into screenings of the South park movie and American Pie.
Robert Conrad was initially approached by Barry Sonnenfeld to make a cameo appearance as President Ulysses Simpson Grant. He turned down the offer after reading the script due to what he felt was its poor quality and lack of respect for the original series it was based on.
When Kenneth Branagh was in an articulated metal platform as Dr. Loveless, he actually was seated in the device in a kneeling position. He would have to get up every few minutes and walk around to get the circulation back in his legs, as they would continually go numb from being in that position for an extended period.
Mel Gibson was set to star as James West and Richard Donner was set to direct back when Warner Bros announced the plans to make the movie in 1992, however they both dropped out and Donner and Gibson went on to do Maverick (1994).
When this film swept the 20th Annual Razzie Awards, "winning" 5 statuettes including Worst Picture, Robert Conrad, who played James West in the original 1960s TV series, accepted three of the awards in person as his way of expressing his low opinion of what had been done with his source material.
Dr. Loveless demands the "immediate and unconditional surrender of the United States" from President Grant. Ulysses S. Grant's nickname during the Civil War was "Unconditional Surrender", which made use of his initials.
The shot of the puppy looking into General "Bloodbath" McGrath's hearing aid is a visual reference to 'His Master's Voice', a painting by Francis Barraud. The image of Nipper the dog listening to a gramophone was used for decades as the logo of RCA Victor (and still is, in North America); in Europe it's known more recently as the logo for HMV media stores.
Belle was originally cast with and filmed with British actress Phina Oruche. Reportedly, the chemistry needed for the bathtub love scene wasn't there. The scene was recast and re-shot with Garcelle Beauvais. However, Oruche was not told and found out she was no longer in the film at the premiere in Los Angeles.
Artemus Gordon's Nitro Cycle is in the collection of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Alabama, just east of Birmingham, Alabama. It is above the entrance to the gift shop near the entrance to the museum.
Although the opening credits are styled after the opening of the 1960s series, the decision was made to use a generic piece of music instead of the original Wild Wild West theme. The original theme, however, is heard on the soundtrack near the climax of the film.
An exploding tower bears an advertisement for a product named Kasdan, evidently a reference to Lawrence Kasdan who has worked with star Kevin Kline on several occasions. Furthermore, the name of the town destroyed by the tarantula is Silverado (1985), a western on which they had both worked together.
The scene where Dr. Loveless' train is raised on four girders outside of the train tunnel was all done digitally. A real train was used when it was finally back on its tracks and the girders going back inside the train, which was also done digitally.
In the transition shot between Rita leaving West and Gordon and the two men riding the giant spider back to Washington, there is a sandstone butte shaped as though it is giving the audience "The Finger".
Ted Levine, who plays General Bloodbath McGrath, grew up watching the original TV series. Levine said he enjoyed working on the film but because there were so many writers revising the script, there was no center, causing the story to be all over the place. He attributed that to the film's failure as well as Will Smith's miscasting.