The script for "Arlington Road", written by Ehren Kruger, was discovered when it won the Nicholl Fellowship Screenwriting competition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This film is only the sixth winner of the competition to actually be produced.
The car crash during the climactic chase scene was unplanned; the plan was for the car to duck behind the oncoming bus and complete the left turn. When the collision occurred, the car trunk sprung open, revealing the bright blue sandbags that had been placed there to allow certain stunts. The quick cuts following the collision are necessary to avoid showing the sandbags. Subsequent shots including the car had already been filmed, and show a markedly less-damaged car.
Michael Faraday, Jeff Bridges' character, was also the name of a real-life chemist and physicist who did pioneering work in the field of electromagnetism. Michael Faraday is also the name of a street in Reston, Virginia, in which the film takes place.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
An alternate ending featured a scene in which Grant Faraday figures out his father's fate based on Oliver Lang's strange behavior toward him. It was cut for time. Due to the ambiguity it caused, they remained with the original ending as shown in the movie.
Second Mad Bomber movie with Jeff Bridges since the first was Blown Away 5 years before opposite Tommy Lee Jones. In both movies Bridges plays an expert in bombs and terrorism and gets into a fight scene with the bad guy and then has to find and stop the bomb. In Blown Away, he fights the bad guy and the bad guy dies in the explosion in his hideout, he succedes in stopping the bomb and saves the day. In this film, he doesn't. He fights with bad guy but doesn't kill him. He thinks the bomb is in a Van along with his kidnapped kid but it's not. The bomb is in the car that he drives in the parking garage in the FBI building. And the bad guys get away with it.
After the bomb goes off at the end of the movie and you see parts of news footage and debris, you see a cinema that is showing the movie. In Dirty Work (1998) two men open a revenge-for-hire business, doing other people's dirty work. At the end of this film, Faraday does Lang's 'dirty work' by planting the bomb for him.