Mickey Rourke initially turned down the role of Ed as he felt the script was weak and wanted to take part in Guy Ritchie's Revolver (2005), which was shooting at the same time. However, he gave in when director Tony Scott re-wrote the part with Rourke specifically in mind.
Mickey Rourke's character, Ed Moseby, is based on real-life bounty hunter Ed Martinez, while Delroy Lindo's character, Claremont Williams III, is based on real-life bail-bondsman Celes King III, Domino Harvey's real boss. Both men were used as technical advisors on the film.
The scene where Domino, Ed, and Choco are standing outside Claremont's office with their guns is a reference to a photo of Domino Harvey and Ed Martinez outside Celes King III's office, that was in the newspaper article where Tony Scott first heard about Domino. The photo was also printed on the cover page of all drafts of the film's shooting script.
For Domino's Reality TV Show in the movie, the producers created a promo poster of the three hunters with Domino on the far right. Domino's mother said they'd only go for it if Domino was in the center. The final movie poster is the same as the reality poster, with Domino in the center.
Richard Kelly's script included notes on the intended title sequence. It would have involved the camera following a trail of falling dominos along several southern California roads. As the dominos fall, they would spell out the credits. The last domino would fall and land at the base of the Stratosphere. In a script review for Aint It Cool News, the title sequence was singled out as one of the creative highlights. Ultimately budget concerns forced a more conventional title sequence to be created.
The character of Alf was inspired by the real life driver of Domino Harvey, Ed Martinez and Choco. According to Harvey, he was a man from Afghanistan whom they referred to as 'The Afghani' as they could not pronounce his name.
During the lengthy development period, Tony Scott commissioned several script drafts from Pulp Fiction (1994) coauthor Roger Avary. When Richard Kelly was brought on board, he discarded all prior drafts and started from scratch. None of Avary's material made it to the final film.
Multiple key off-screen lines of dialog are actually voiced by picture editor Tony Ciccone. Ciccone recorded the lines while editing in post production. Director Tony Scott was impressed enough with the performances of the one-time actor to keep them in the final film.
During production the film was given the good-natured nickname, "Man on Blowtorch" by picture editor Tony Ciccone in homage to the progression of a visual style Tony Scott incorporated on his prior film).
Domino says that they called Alf by the name "cat eating alien" because they could not pronounce his actual name. Alf is the name of the titular character in the comedic TV Series ALF (1986), which is about an alien living with an Earth family. The alien in question hails from a planet where cats are a delicacy and many jokes are made throughout the series about him trying to eat their house cat.
Tom Waits plays a character known only as The Wanderer who rescues the characters after their crash in the desert and appears to have some supernatural understanding of what is going on in their lives and provides them with spiritual morale and advice. Tom Waits plays a similar character in the movie Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006); a stranger the heroes meet in the desert who helps them and is also a servant of God.
The basketball game being watched in the RV was actually the 2000 Continental Basketball Association Finals between the Yakima (WA) Sun Kings and the La Crosse (WI) Bobcats held at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Yakima won the game, 109-93, to win their second CBA title.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Domino Harvey died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl on 27 June 2005, months before the release of the film, which was subsequently dedicated to her. Tony Scott and Mickey Rourke were among the people who attended her funeral.