Throughout the film, there is a very prominent ad that shows a woman's white face, and underneath it are the words "Truth Is Beauty". The eyes of this woman belong to lead actress Nikki Reed. Throughout the movie, as Tracy falls deeper into trouble, the face becomes more distorted and dirty.
During the belly piercing scene, Tracy says "What the fuck did you do" that was not scripted because Nikki Reed had actually poked the top of Evan Rachel Wood's belly with the needle. She still has the scar to prove it.
Because of the film's low budget, the girls' clothes in the movie is mostly from their own wardrobe. Catherine Hardwicke noted that as filming progressed, the girls began to dress similarly without being told to.
The tongue stud that Nikki Reed wore in the film was real, but Evan Rachel Wood's was not. It was made like a suction cup, but occasionally would fall off. Because of this, she ended up accidentally swallowing a few of them by the time the movie had finished filming.
The low-budget film was shot in an actual house that the crew had rented out for the duration of filming. Holly Hunter (Melanie) was amazed to see that the water worked. Brady Corbet (Mason) only lived about a block away from the house so he was able to walk to shooting.
During a live Q&A on Ustream to celebrate the film's 10th anniversary, hosted by Reed and Wood, the actresses claimed that neither of can watch the movie since they both have such strong emotional reactions to the film.
The director of this movie purposely changed the lighting through out the film to match the mood/distress of the characters. The further Tracy spiraled downward, the grittier and darker the lighting in the film became. By the end of the movie the color is almost completely washed out to black and white, as that is when Tracy finally reaches rock bottom.
In the scene where Melanie questions Tracy about her belly button ring, a reference is made to rapper Bubba Sparxxx. One of Tracy's lines is taken from his first single, "Ugly" in which he raps, "That's just my mood now, I hate it came to this. How else can I say it? I don't speak no other languages."
The language that Evie and Tracy speak in the kitchen the morning after Tracy's fight with her mom is a fake language called Gibberish. Tracy asks "why does my tongue hurt?" To which Evie responds "maybe because you give head."
Teenage singer/songwriter Katy Rose wrote the song "Lemon" especially for Thirteen (2003) after reading an article about the movie in the paper. "Lemon" is played during the credits, while another Katy song, "Overdrive" is in the film.
Evie refers to Brooke as three different things to her in the movie. First she refers to her as her guardian, then her aunt, and finally her cousin. Time codes for these different references are as follows: Guardian 00:18:12, Aunt 00:43:15, Cousin 00:43:36.