Based on a real incident in 1927. A Russian filmmaker covertly shot footage of the vacationing Mary Pickford, and fashioned an entire film around the footage, creating the illusion that Pickford was actually starring in this Russian film.
The character of Daisy (played by Heather Graham) is a thinly veiled jab at actress Anne Heche. Like Daisy, Heche is from Ohio, and, also like Daisy, Heche was briefly romantically involved with significantly older man Steve Martin. Daisy's last lines about being involved with "the most powerful lesbian in Hollywood" are a reference to Heche's relationship at the time with Ellen DeGeneres.
Eddie Murphy became interested in this movie when he heard he would be working with Steve Martin, of whom he is a huge fan. When Murphy sat down with Martin and director Frank Oz, the first thing he said was that Kit Ramsey should be "a black action superstar"; Oz then asked if that meant he was making the film, and Murphy said yes. Martin later joked that "Eddie's audition was VERY good".
The company could only get Eddie Murphy for a brief, six week window, to shoot his role in the movie. He was in between shooting Life (1999) and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000) and had just a brief time in his busy schedule to work on this project.
Director Frank Oz encouraged improvisation during select scenes, and occasionally the result wound up in the film. Some instances of this are Robert Downey Jr. saying "and all this" while flipping through the script of Chubby Rain, Eddie Murphy asking his manager to find him a retarded slave role so he can win an Academy Award, and Steve Martin saying, "It could've worked" after Chubby Rain was shut down.
In one scene, Bowfinger comments as how he's 49, and could, possibly, pass for 38. This is clearly a poke at how, often, in Hollywood, people deflate their ages, which is also explained when he gets down his box that he's put a dollar in every week since age 10. The sum given is $2,184.00, which would actually put Bowfinger's age at 52.
The shot of Kit Ramsey, in character as Keith Kincaide shouting "Gotcha, Suckers!" in the Chubby Rain movie premiere, was identical to the shot of Romeo (Leonard DiCaprio) crying out "Juliet!!" in 1996's "Romeo + Juliet".
In the scene where Bobby and Dave interview Jiff Ramsey for doubling Kit Ramsey in the film, Eddie Murphy (Jiff) did not know some of the questions that Steve Martin (Bobby) asked and improvised the answers to those question right on the spot.
When Bobby shows Kit the script, Kit says he is not a expecting a script from Paramount Pictures, but maybe Universal. In real life, Eddie Murphy's movies in the 1980s and early 1990s were produced by Paramount, but his later movies (including 'Bowfinger') have been produced by Universal.
Eddie Murphy plays Kit and his character name in the movie within a movie is Keith Kincaid. There is three k's in those names which is perfectly divisible by 3 as his character complained in the movie.