The town of Mount Rose is fictional and is a anagram of Rosemount, where screenwriter Lona Williams graduated from high school. However, all the other Minnesota cities mentioned in the film (such as Burnsville, Forest Lake and Pine City) are real cities in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.
The movie makes multiple references to traditional Minnesota food: The Mount Rose High cafeteria serves lutefisk for lunch, Jell-O salad is served at Tammy's funeral, and several scenes include people eating and offering "bars," considered an essential dessert for Minnesota potlucks.
The sports teams at Mount Rose High School are called the "Muskies." This is in reference to the muskellunge, a fish found in northern Minnesota, whose name derives from the Ojibwa word for "ugly pike."
The film's original ending had Gladys (Kirstie Alley) commit suicide in prison and the sniper be the town librarian/former Mount Rose American teen Princess Iona Hildebrandt (Claudia Wilkens). This was changed after negative test screenings.
According to director Michael Patrick Jann, Kirstie Alley refused to try on many of the costumes the wardrobe department had picked for Gladys, instead asking for them to be sent to the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Hollywood to try them on there.
Both Amy Adams and Kirsten Dunst would go on to play girlfriends of Superheros. Amy Adams played Lois Lane in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. Kirsten Dunst played Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-man series with Toby McGuire.