In October, 2007, Charlize Theron said in an interview in Esquire magazine that "Reindeer Games" was her least favorite of all her films. She said: "That was a bad, bad, bad movie. But I got to work with John Frankenheimer. I wasn't lying to myself - that's why I did it."
According to Danny Trejo, the real reason Vin Diesel was replaced was because Diesel was offered a starring role in The Fast and the Furious while playing the role that Donal Logue wound up playing. Vin wisely went with The Fast and the Furious and was discharged from this movie.
After poor test screenings, John Frankenheimer admitted that he should've been a little more open to re-shoots to fix the problems of the film as his original vision based on Erhen Kruger's script had become a completely different version once filming began.
Jerry Goldsmith was signed to write the musical score for this film for his friend, the late Director John Frankenheimer. However, the producers of the film did not like the direction of the music that Goldsmith had in mind and Goldsmith left the project after writing a few demos for the film. This also marked the second project that Goldsmith had to leave due to creative differences or a scheduling conflict. The other was Frankenheimer's Ronin a year earlier due to scoring duties on both The Mummy and The 13th Warrior.
Composer Alan Silvestri was hired in late 1999 to score after replacing Jerry Goldsmith on the film after he'd left due to creative differences and had only a month to score the film with the music being recorded in early January 2000.
The film was cut by over twenty minutes before it's original theatrical release date of December 1999 because of both a poor test screening and the MPAA for the infamous dart torture scene which was Director John Frankenheimer's preferred version, which was dark, gritty and sexier. The film was released in Feburary 2000 in it's shorter 104 min version, which lost all of this and the real essence of the story. Frankenheimer's original version would be released a year later with the twenty minutes restored on DVD as his "Director's Cut".
Despite her bad experience on this film, Charlize Theron who later would win an Oscar for Monster three years after this film worked with a few Oscar Winners and nominees in the very same year this film was released. They include: Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting), Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting), Robert DeNiro (Raging Bull), Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Robert Redford (Ordinary People), Will Smith (Ali) and Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump, Apollo 13). Theron would co-star with DeNiro and Gooding Jr. in Men Of Honor which was released at the same time as The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was Directed by Redford and co-starring Damon and Smith. If you also count the long delayed at the time (1999-2000) action-thriller, 15 Minutes, which also starred DeNiro and Edward Burns, it was two appearances working with DeNiro in the same year.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The character names Rudy and Nick are an allusion to the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" from which this movie takes it title. Nick (St. Nicholas) orchestrates the entire plan, only to have Rudy (Rudolph) lead it.