Director Derek Cianfrance claims that he would not have made the movie without Bradley Cooper cast as Avery Cross. In fact, he drove five hours to Montreal (QC) to meet with Cooper in person to convince him to take the role. Cianfrance says he did write the role for Cooper, "a guy who's paraded around as a hero but inside feels corrupted."
According to director Derek Cianfrance, he met with Ryan Gosling at his agent's home in 2007 while working on Blue Valentine (2010). He asked Ryan Gosling (paraphrased), "You've done so much already, what is there in life you haven't done that you want to do?" Gosling responded that he has always wanted to rob a bank. "What has kept you from robbing a bank?" Being arrested. "And how would you go about robbing a bank?" Ryan Gosling described robbing a bank on a motorcycle because it is fast and agile, and the helmet would conceal his identity, then stashing the motorcycle in the back of a truck because the police would be looking for the motorcycle. Cianfrance responded that he was actually writing a screenplay about a bank robber in exactly that way, and he felt that Gosling was meant to play this role.
Ben Mendelsohn (Robin) completely improvised the line, "If you ride like lightning you're gonna crash like thunder." Director Derek Cianfrance admitted it was not in the script on the audio commentary of the movie.
Two months before filming, Andrij Parekh, who shot Blue Valentine (2010), refused to do the film largely because of the Globe of Death stunt in the opening. According to Derek Cianfrance, Parekh spoke to him on the phone saying he refused to do the film because he had dreamed that he would be killed during filming. This nearly became a reality, as during the filming of the stunt, cinematographer Sean Bobbitt was himself nearly killed; luckily, he was only knocked unconscious when a motorcycle landed on top of him during filming the second take of the stunt inside the cage. At the time, he was wearing heavy protection gear and a helmet.
Derek Cianfrance shot twenty-two takes of Ryan Gosling performing the stunt of speeding the motorcycle past the intersection before thirty-six cars crashed into one another. Cianfrance originally wanted a stunt double to do it but could not hide the stuntman. He also noted that for each take until Gosling finally got it right, he chewed his shirt in nervousness until there was a hole in it by the time the stunt was over.
In the opening track shot scene, several assistant directors actually appear on the fairground wearing Dr. Seuss hats. They were instructed to distract the extras into not looking at the camera and at a shirtless Ryan Gosling walking into the circus tent. The shot was conceived by cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, who wanted to have it as a way to teach the audience watching the movie.
Derek Cianfrance wrote the script based on the town his wife Shannon Plumb grew up in, Schenectady, NY. The film was mostly filmed there on location. The phrase "Place Beyond the Pines" is actually the Native American meaning to the word "Schenectady."
Rather than hold a typical audition for Eva Mendes, director Derek Cianfrance had her drive him around L.A. and show him her favourite places to determine whether she was the right choice to play Romina.
When Luke and Robin prepare for their first robbery, Luke says, "Not since Hall and Oates has there been such a team." Later, as Avery, Scott and Deluca drive to Romina's home to investigate, the Hall and Oates song "Maneater" is playing. In the French translation, Luke speaks about "Starsky and Hutch" instead of Hall and Oates, who are not well known in France.
There are a lot of nods to Rochester, NY, which is less than two hours away from Schenectady, NY: 1) Genesee Beer is founded and brewed in Rochester, and can be seen in many scenes 2) Garbage Plate; this was mentioned that Bradley Cooper's character was visiting Rochester and would eat a Garbage Plate near the end, and the Garbage Plate is a famous staple meal created by Nick Tahou. The plate consists of macaroni salad, home fries, and topped with either two hamburgers, cheeseburgers, red hots, or white hots, and slathered with meat hot sauce, spicy mustard, and chopped onions 3) Metallica posters; the band recorded their first album in Rochester, NY (Kill 'Em All (1984)).