Burt Munro's children visited the set one day, when, according to director Roger Donaldson, "Tony (Anthony Hopkins) was having a particularly good Burt day". His performance was so authentic that it moved them to tears.
Many of Burt Munro's tools and props from his tool shed are kept for posterity in a hardware store in Invercargill. These, as well as small pieces of costume such as one of Munro's ties on loan from his son, were used by Anthony Hopkins to add to his character's authenticity.
On the last day of filming in the United States there was a helicopter crash while filming a scene of Burt Munro's car pulling the motorcycle and trailer. Both the pilot and camera operator walked away from the destroyed helicopter. Three days later the camera operator traveled to New Zealand to finish the movie.
Director Roger Donaldson was initially reluctant to cast Anthony Hopkins as the two had clashed constantly when they worked together on The Bounty (1984). However, Donaldson says that it was a totally difference experience and that Hopkins was wonderful throughout the entire shoot.
At a post-film question and answer session at the National Film Theatre, London on 20 February 2006, director Roger Donaldson said that four motorcycles were built for the shoot: two replica Indian Scouts for detail shots made by the late motorcycle engineer John Britten's firm and two modified Ducatis for the running shots. He also said all four had difficulties on the salt flats breaking down regularly although the Ducatis reached 150mph for some shots. As for his own exploits, Donaldson admitted that the highest motorcycle speed he achieved was 65mph.
William Lucking plays Rolly Free. Rolland "Rollie" Free was a racer of Indian Motorcycles in the 20's and 30's. He set an American motorcycle speed record by riding a Vincent HRD to a speed of 150.313 m.p.h. at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1948.
The actual street where the Post Office was set is called The Crescent, and had 1960s phone booths and parking meters fitted for the shoot. Local residents offered to move their parked cars to allow more room for the production vans.