The sequence where Darryl slips and falls over on the builder's supplies, as he is leaving for work, was unscripted, as Christopher McDonald genuinely lost his footing. Despite this, he remained in character, yelling at the workmen as he got into the car and drove away. As he states on the DVD commentary, Director Ridley Scott liked the result so much, he kept it in the film.
The scene where Louise grabs Thelma's headphones off her and scares her wasn't planned. In the DVD's audio commentary, Geena Davis commented that she was supposed to get up when Susan Sarandon called her from the car, but she had the volume on her Walkman up too high, and didn't hear her cue, so Susan came over to get her.
Ridley Scott was reportedly so amazed with Hans Zimmer's score, that he created a main title sequence (with Zimmer's music over it), rather than giving the main credits at the end, as it was primarily planned.
For the more raunchy sex scenes between Brad Pitt and Geena Davis, Ridley Scott had assumed that a body double would be needed for Geena. Shortly after he'd begun auditioning prospective doubles, Davis learned of Scott's intentions, and insisted that no doubles were needed in those steamy scenes.
According to the DVD commentary, Susan Sarandon explained that when Louise gets out of the car to throw up, egg whites were used for the vomit, and she added that they are also used for love scenes in movies.
When Geena Davis happened to be seated next to George Clooney on a flight over 20 years after the movie's release, during the course of idle conversation George mentioned that he'd read with her for the part of J.D. but she, regretfully, had to admit that she had no recollection of his audition.
Catherine Keener was cast in the role of Investigator Hal Slocumb's wife. Her one and only scene was cut from the final film. This deleted scene can be found on the Special Edition DVD released in 2003.
Won Best Original Screenplay in the same year that The Silence of the Lambs (1991) swept the major awards at the Oscars (including Best Adapted Screenplay), making it the only other film to win a major award that year.
In the documentary, The Celluloid Closet (1995), Susan Sarandon said that she added the kiss between Louise and Thelma at the end of the movie. Sarandon said that she told co-star Geena Davis (but no one else) that she was going to kiss her.
In the scene where the tanker truck is shot and blown up, the reactions of Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis were supposed to be genuine. Rather than filming separate reaction shots, Ridley Scott rigged the tanker to blow up during the take, in order to get authentic expressions of surprise from the two leads. Despite this, they were so astonished while watching it, that they forgot to actually react, so Scott had to film their reactions again.
Ridley Scott is very receptive to ideas from cast and crew members on his films, and used many suggestions from Susan Sarandon during production. Some ideas of Sarandon's that made the final cut of the film: the visual of Louise packing her shoes in plastic bags while prepping for the lady's weekend getaway in the mountains; the scene where Louise exchanges her jewelry for the old man's hat; and the scene where Louise stops the car in the desert at night and takes a personal moment looking at the stars, while Thelma sleeps in the car. That last scene idea took half the night to light. Sarandon and her longtime partner Tim Robbins re-worked most of the dialogue in the sequence between Louise and her boyfriend Jimmy at the hotel in Oklahoma City. Originally that scene called for Louise and Jimmy to make love and conduct an impromptu mock wedding ceremony. Sarandon felt that having sex would be the last thing Louise would be interested in doing at that point in the story, and told Scott that if she performed the sequence as written, that they would have to include a scene where Louise would wig out as a result, and prior to signing on to do the film, Scott gave Sarandon his word that he would not change the ending of the movie. She had just experienced that on her last movie, White Palace (1990), with the original, ambiguous ending being scrapped, in favor of a more upbeat one, and did not want this movie to meet a similar fate.
Jason Beghe improvised his scene where the State Trooper starts crying when Thelma is holding a gun on him, deciding it would make his character more memorable instead of unemotionally complying with the demands of Thelma and Louise.
Ridley Scott filmed a longer ending (found on the Special Edition DVD) in which the car is seen plunging into the canyon, with a melancholy B.B. King song playing in the background. He opted for the more upbeat ending with the car frozen in descent and Hans Zimmer's score playing.