William Donohue of the Catholic League lambasted the film and publicly protested against it for months without actually seeing the film, after which his office called View Askew offices and said "Dr. Donohue requests a special screening of Dogma (1999) so that he can speak about it intelligently." Kevin Smith's response was: "So what has he been doing the past six months?"
Jason Mewes had the entire script memorized before rehearsals. When asked why, he said it was because he didn't want to anger Alan Rickman, and because Kevin Smith took him aside before rehearsals began and said he needed to be on his best behavior and bring his A game to the set, which Mewes did.
When they heard Alan Rickman was a Chasing Amy (1997) fan, Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier felt confident enough to ask him to play Metatron. He read the script and came back with only two questions: 1) would we stay faithful to the script, and 2) are the wings real or CGI?
According to Kevin Smith on his DVD commentary, Linda Fiorentino was very difficult to work with, and on some days in fact wasn't even speaking to him. In retrospect, Smith says he wishes he offered the role to Janeane Garofalo instead.
On the train when Silent Bob grabs Bartleby, Bartleby yells, "Schueler Bob? I'll get you for this Schueler Bob!" Ben Affleck ad-libbed the line, much to the amusement of the cast and crew, intending it to be Silent Bob in German. Kevin Smith left it in, even though Schueler is actually German for pupil.
Alanis Morissette was originally meant to play the leading role of Bethany Sloan, but was unable to because of her 1998-99 world tour. By the time she was able to work on the film, the role had been cast, so she was offered the chance to play God as compensation.
Rufus' reply, "Know him? Nigga owes me twelve bucks!" when asked if he knows Christ, was one of the few lines ad-libbed by Chris Rock. When Rufus awakens on the train, he says the words "poopy trim", this was not in the script, but had been used in a Kevin Smith film in the past. In Mallrats (1995), when Willam is standing in front of the magic eye poster, he is woken from his trance by Brodie, and he says "poopy trim", and another ad-lib is when Rock calls Silent Bob "biggie". It was originally written as "tubby".
Unbeknown to protesters, Kevin Smith joined one of the Catholic groups that protested his film. He managed to get interviewed by a reporter who recognized him, though Smith managed to stay incognito by giving his friend's name as his own (Bryan Johnson; also present at the protest rally) and telling her that he is often mistaken for the Clerks (1994) director. During the interview, Smith (as Johnson) also made the comment that he kind of liked his (Kevin Smith's) first film.
Emma Thompson was going to appear in the film as God, but she backed out before filming began in order to have a baby, her first child, who was born in December 1999, just after this film was released.
George Carlin agreed to take the role of Cardinal Glick, but didn't want to remove his wedding band (he had recently lost his wife), so he wore a Band-Aid to hide it. This was actually unnecessary, as Catholic clergy wear wedding bands to signify their "marriage" to the church.
The Buddy Christ statue that was used in the film is on display (as of mid-2001) at Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, a comic book store in Red Bank, New Jersey, owned by Kevin Smith. Replicas of the statue are on sale at the store and have become one of the store's biggest selling items.
Due to the controversy of the film, Disney was having doubts about releasing the film, at which point Miramax's Harvey Weinstein personally brought the project from Miramax, and sent it to Lionsgate Films.
Smith originally wrote a draft of the film in the early 1990s, and planned on shooting it after Clerks (1994), hence the inclusion of that movie's end credits: "Jay and Silent Bob will return in Dogma (1999)". However, he found himself unhappy with the early version of the script, and decided instead to not pursue the project, until he became a better filmmaker.
In the scene where Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are in the gun shop, you can see Ben pick up a knife and play with it. If you continue to watch Ben, you will see him cut his finger. He then recoils with a look of shock on his face. This is joked about in the DVD commentary too.
In the film, Loki is the angel of death, and Azrael is a demon who wants to cause mischief. In traditional mythology, it is Azrael who is the angel of death, and Loki is a Norse god who causes mischief.
Among the numerous (reportedly eight) drafts of the script written, the controversy and protests of the film were based on the third draft, which was transcribed and placed on the internet by an unknown source.
The irony about Catholics and the Catholic League protesting against this movie is that Kevin Smith was raised Roman Catholic, and still considers himself a Catholic. He thanks God in the end credits and mentions that he is raising another little Catholic (his daughter).
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Kevin Smith): [Jaws (1975)]: In the DVD Special Edition, there is a cut scene where Jay (Jason Mewes) puts on Cardinal Glick's (George Carlin's) hat, and walks back and forth behind a screen, so that all you see is the hat, looking like a shark's fin.
In the opening sequence at the airport, Gwyneth Paltrow was sitting a couple of seats away from Ben Affleck. She is never seen however, and was only there because Affleck had invited her to the set that day as a friend.
Loki references Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There", and claims the novel is a criticism of organized religion. Not only does this cause the nun to abandon her calling, but it is ironic, in that Carroll was a conservative Christian, who openly defended Christian doctrines, and advocated the teachings of Christ. Loki then comments that he enjoys such pranks when directed at the clergy. It can therefore be noted that in the Norse mythology, Loki is a cheeky trickster god.
Rufus tells Bethany something no one else knew, about a boy named Bryan Johnson. Bryan Johnson is a friend of Kevin Smith's, and appears in most of his films. Johnson is a Writer and Director, who directed the first film from View Askew (Smith's production company) not to be directed by Kevin Smith - Vulgar (2000).
This film was originally scheduled for a November 1998 release, and to be released by Miramax Films, but due to controversy, the film was postponed for a 1999 release, and the rights were passed on to Lionsgate Films.
The Golgothan's first line, "Not born, shit into existence.", is taken verbatim from Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. It pertains to a very disgusting-looking Clayface in that, if you're wondering. The next line, "No man of woman born", is a reference to Macbeth where the title character cannot be harmed by any man born of a woman.
Several versions of the script had much more uncouth dialogue for the conversation between Loki and the nun. Originally, he told her to take the money she was collecting, and get a nice piece of ass. This was changed for the movie, to a nice dress. The original was a reference to the book and movie Fletch (1985).
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Kevin Smith): [comic books]: One of the Stygian triplets wears a Hellboy t-shirt. Bartleby says, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.", in reference to The Incredible Hulk. Madman toys appear in the toy store.
The origins of the Mooby franchise, as related by Loki, include allusions to Mickey Mouse (the bi-coastal theme parks), McDonald's (the fast food restaurants), and various doll lines for little girls like Barbie and My Little Pony (whose creators are mostly known only to fans of the respective franchises).
According to Kevin Smith, Alan Rickman held on to the maracas all day when they shot the scene in the Mexican restaurant when Metatron shook them after his meeting with Bethany. He started driving the crew and cast crazy playing with them the whole day.
When Azrael takes Bartleby and Loki to the toy store, Madman toys can be seen behind Azrael. Madman is a comic book character created by Mike Allred, who did the pencils for the comic book pages used in Chasing Amy (1997).
The name of the bus company in the film is "Derris". Rick Derris is the name of a recurring character that appears in, and is discussed in, Kevin Smith's movies (Clerks (1994), Mallrats (1995), et cetera).
Bob Schreck, Joe Nozemack, and Jim Mahfood all make cameos as church parishioners. They all worked with Kevin Smith in comics, with Mahfood illustrating the Clerks comics, Schreck as Editor on Kevin's Green Arrow run, and Schreck and Nozemack as co-publishers of his Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Comics at Oni Press.
Matt Damon's character Loki is named after the same god from Norse mythology as Loki from the Marvel comics/cinematic universe. Coincidentally, 18 years later, Damon would play an actor playing Loki in a play in Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
Kevin Smith wrote a lengthy, multi-part blog detailing Jason Mewes' battle with drugs. In it, he describes how Mewes was using heroin during the filming of Dogma, with specific reference to the scene outside Mooby's where The Apostle is telling Bethany, Silent Bob, and Jay his life story. Mewes kept nodding off during takes where he wasn't in the shot, earning himself a telling-off by Smith. Later, during the scene in the bar, where Azrael has them all sitting down and is lecturing them, you can often see Jason Mewes "on the nod". Clearly they forgot to wake him up for the takes with the wide shot.
In the scene where Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) are watching Serendipity (Salma Hayek) perform, one shot cuts from Serendipity to Jay, who is running his hands down his face. This happens because half the shot was cut. Bethany had originally smacked Jay upside his head, while telling Rufus (Chris Rock) what happened to her car, and Jay was pulling his cap back down over his head.
When they are in the bar watching the reign of terror at the church on the news, the newscaster is Brian O'Hallorahan (Dante Hicks from Clerks (1994)) making his fourth appearance in a Kevin Smith film. Also making a cameo, is Jeff Anderson (Randal from Clerks (1994)) as the gun salesman. Several other Clerks (1994) actors and actresses also appear as well, as they do in all of Kevin Smith's films.
When they first encounter the poop monster in the strip bar scene, Jay says "Let's smoke this motherfucker like it ain't no thang" to a gang member, a quote from NWA's "Gangsta, Gangsta." This same song was also referenced in Chasing Amy (1997) when Jay says "Life ain't nuttin but bitches and money."
Kevin Smith: [star wars] After meeting with Bethany, Jay says "It's like I'm Han, you're Chewie, she's Ben Kenobi and we're in that fucked-up bar!" The scene transitions are done in the same way as the Star Wars movies, wiping instead of just cutting to the next scene.
There were eight different versions of the script, and not one of them, including the shooting script, ever had anything about God cleaning up at the end. Kevin Smith had what he called an epiphany at the last minute. There had been several delays in shooting the scene, and the church eventually asked Smith to clean up the street. He chose to immediately clean up the street, and added God cleaning up, rather than disappoint the very accommodating church.
Although Alanis Morissette is only on-screen as God for a few minutes at the end of the film, she has two different costumes. The second, a white dress with a metallic bodice and jacket, was designed by French haute couturier Christian Lacroix, and was by far the most expensive outfit in the movie. Appropriately, given the plot and Catholic themes of this movie, the designer's first and last names are both references to Christianity, "Lacroix" meaning "the cross" in French, and "Christian" meaning, well, Christian.
When Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) tosses Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) off the train, he says one of the only lines he has in the movie, "No ticket" when he is caught by a passenger. "No ticket" is a line that Harrison Ford delivered in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), when he tosses a character out of the window, and is caught off-guard by the passengers.