Writer and Director Tim McCanlies wrote the lion as a female because he thought it would be easier to keep under control than a male lion. It was not until production began that he found out female lions were actually much more ferocious than male lions.
In the fight scene with Robert Duvall against the four teens, Travis Willingham was hit three times in the face by Duvall. This was due to a miscommunication. Duvall reportedly told him afterwards that he thought Willingham was a stuntman and that he, Duvall, was supposed to hit him. The cut used was the final one, when Travis' nose finally started to bleed.
Sir Michael Caine said that early in his career, he once held Sir Sean Connery's hat while he fought and beat four men in a nightclub single-handedly. This may have been the inspiration for the scene in which Hub (Robert Duvall) also fights and defeats four men single-handedly, while Caine and Haley Joel Osment's characters watch.
The ending was re-shot due to negative test-screening feedback. The re-shoot cost six hundred thousand dollars. The original ending (which does not include the scene with the sheikh's grandson) is available on the DVD.
EASTER EGG: On the special features side of the DVD, go to the deleted scenes section. While at the top of the list, press the "up" button on your remote control and a star will appear and be highlighted. Press the "Okay" button and a clip of outtakes will come on showing all of the filmmakers' attempts at trying to put the rooster on the pig.
Although Jasmine the Lion is frequently said to be old and weary, Taureg, who played Jasmine, was a young lioness, less than two-years-old (lions in captivity can live up to twenty to twenty-two years). This is stated in the DVD special features.
The lion in the movie was a mixture of reality and puppetry. In one scene where Hub, Garth, and Walter are looking at it, they were not really looking at the lion. From inside the crate, they were looking at the puppet lion moving the head like it was actually moving.
When Walter was wrestling with Jasmine, a female stunt double named Marie played Walter, with her hair cut really short when shooting the scenes with the real lion. When Haley Joel Osment plays Walter, it can be seen behind the head that it is the puppet lion.
Haley Joel Osment was contracted without knowing which studio would make the movie nor who the other main leads were. This was against standard Hollywood practice and surprised Eugene Osment (Haley's father and manager) at first, but he agreed to "use" his son to get the remainder of the cast and the studio.
The name of "Coupland, Texas" on the Sheriff's shoulder patch was changed to "Copeland" to honor the President of the Texas Film Commision at the time, Tom Copeland. Even so, the name of Coupland is seen in the film, including on the side of the feed store. The bridge in the film is just to the northeast of town.
Garth (Sir Michael Caine) tells Walter (Haley Joel Osment) that he and Hub (Robert Duvall) were "Shanghaied" in France and woke up the next day, forced into the French Foreign Legion, and on a ship bound for North Africa. Being shanghaied, or conscripted, was a reference to an abandoned practice of forcing a person into involuntary service, such as by the Royal Navy up through the 19th century. American sailors were protected from this, beginning with the Bryan Conciliation Treaty of 1914 (an agreement between 29 nations) and the Seamen's Act of 1915.
This was the second occasion where Robert Duvall and Kyra Sedgwick played relatives in a movie. In this movie, they were uncle and niece. In Something To Talk About (1995), they were father and daughter.
The shoulder patch on the uniform of the Sheriff, who meets with adult Walter shows Copeland, Texas, (not Comal County, Texas). Even so, filming locations included Coupland, Texas, which is just northeast of Austin, Texas and is an acceptable place for growing corn - as shown in in the film. The farmhouse was just a few miles away.
Jennifer Stone and Mitchell Musso appeared in two Disney Channel television shows. Jennifer Stone, who was one of the cousins, played Harper in Wizards of Waverly Place (2007). Mitchell Musso, who was another cousin, played Oliver in Hannah Montana (2006) with Emily Osment, Haley's sister.
The house used in the film is a real house and is occupied. It differs from the film version in that the set builders added the tower (which is obviously too small for a bedroom) and they added a wrap-around porch to the right of the main porch, along with a fake door between the two windows of the bedroom where the porch was added. Originally the house was white with a silver-painted corrugated metal roof. After the production the house, fence and immediate grounds were returned to their original form but with a white-painted roof. When the homeowners saw the place after it had been dressed and distressed, the wife hyperventilated and nearly passed out. Her husband assured her that the producers would return the home to perfect condition when the movie was completed.