The film was shot in July and August of 2005 in Southern Louisiana, and wrapped up only a week before Hurricane Katrina hit the area; the cast and crew narrowly escaped the disaster by only a few days.
According to Lynn Collins, director William Friedkin never took more than four takes to get a scene in this film, and in fact worked so fast that the actors sometimes had to beg him to do a second take when he thought they'd nailed it the first time.
According to Ashley Judd, when she first met director William Friedkin at a social event, she complimented him on a scene in French Connection II (1975) that she really loved, unaware that Friedkin had not directed it. According to Judd, Friedkin was very "gracious" about it.
Harry Connick Jr. was cast when he happened to be sitting across from William Friedkin at a Las Vegas hotel opening, and started to "put him on" in a way that reminded Friedkin of the character of Jerry Goss.