This is the first collaboration between the two actresses Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman. Both actresses have been working since the 1980s, won their Academy Award in the early 2000s, and have been among the highest paid actresses in the movie industry. According to director Billy Ray, there was a healthy working relationship between the two; "There was enormous respect, great camaraderie, and, in my opinion - I don't know if either of them would ever admit to it - there was a very healthy, kind of athletic level of competitiveness. They both had such regard for each other and they both wanted to do their best because the other was in the movie."
Director Billy Ray spent five years on the project. Development on the film originally began at Warner Bros Pictures in 2010. In 2011, Denzel Washington was offered the role, while an October start date was planned the same year, with filming taking place in Atlanta. However, Warner Bros decided to let go of the film and the project was stalled for years, until the independent company IM Global decided to move forward with the project. Casting began in early 2014 and filming commenced in January 2015.
The biggest differences between The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) and this American remake are the setting and era (Argentina during the military dictatorship vs. the USA post-9/11). Other major differences include: the Argentinian version concerns a widowed husband unknown to the main character instead of a bereaved mother and colleague of the protagonist. 25 years have passed between the two timeframes instead of 13. The killer is released because he is drafted into a government-supported security agency, taking his revenge by killing the main character's colleague; in the American version, he receives secret protection from the justice department because he is an important police informant. Unlike the Argentine version, he is finally killed at the end.
Another difference between this movie and the Argentinian original is the sport that the criminal was passionate about. In this film it is baseball, in the original it is futbol or soccer as it is known in America.