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Filmed at the University of Redlands in Southern California. The crew added fake snow for the winter shots. They filmed three different dorms: Bekins, Grossmont, and Fairmont. Each dorm was given a different name in the film. In the opening credits, the students all run out of two huge double doors as if they just left class. In reality, the double doors are those of the Chapel.

The film on mute in Fred Savage's room is The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

Christina Ricci turned down an offer to play the character of Lauren Hynde.

At the Edge of the world party, Candace is wearing a "Tomandandy" T-Shirt, the name of the music supervisors.

According to an interview with in 2010, Bret Easton Ellis has said this is his favorite of the adaptations of his books.

Roger Avary kept an online blog, updated daily, during production. Ian Somerhalder notes in his commentary that this is how his girlfriend found out he went to a strip club.

Roger Avary says about Shannyn Sossamon's Lauren Hynde character that "she doesn't want to just lose her virginity, she has a dream about how she wants to lose it. Whether it be her dreamy Victor or even Sean Bateman... She wants to feel complete, to know what sex fully is. To have that shared moment with a man. By the end of the movie, after the serial betrayals, she's aged a decade in just a semester. Who has she become? I'm not sure. This movie isn't about answers, it is about transformations. The changes."

At the Edge of the world party, Candace is wearing a "Tomandandy" T-Shirt, the name of the music supervisors.

In 2013, Bret Easton Ellis wrote an essay for Out Magazine where he attacked perceived problems with the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) awards, using this film as an example. He writes, "GLAAD had even nominated The Rules of Attraction as movie of the year in 2003-it lost to The Hours, where of course a tormented gay dude with AIDS commits suicide by throwing himself out of a window in front of Meryl Streep, whereas in Rules, cool-with-being-gay college student Ian Somerhalder only falls in love with James Van Der Beek and becomes bummed by his rejection."

Christian Bale turned down an offer to reprise the role of Patrick Bateman.

A reporter from Aint it Cool News was present as a scene was being shot. He comments on Roger Avary's "creative" means of getting actor reactions. "For the last take Roger wanted a surprised reaction from Shannyn... so naturally he asked Jessica Biel to flash her. Due to its placement, the camera didn't see Biel's surprise... But I did. Good God almighty I love this job!"

Director Roger Avary does not have a cameo in this film (some people falsely believe he appears at the bus stop), but he did cast someone to play himself. He has stated that the background character Dumb Guy From LA, played by Adam Robitel, is meant to be him. The character even wears Roger Avary's hat from his own college days.

The movie that the film student refers to when talking to Lauren at the beginning of the film is Killing Zoe (1993), directed by Roger Avary; it also stars Eric Stoltz, who plays Mr. Lawson in this movie.

According the director, the movie played very differently in certain markets than in others. "I went to several screenings of the film all over the SoCal area. In Orange County, the split-screen marriage shot elicited groans, whereas in Venice the audience applauded."

Several critics, including Roger Ebert, reacted negatively to the nihilistic characters that permeate the film. Eventually, director Roger Avary gave a rebuttal. "The Rules of Attraction isn't about the deeply sensitive types. It isn't about the Richard Dreyfuss character from American Graffiti (1973). This is about those other people. The amoral ones. The folks that justify it all as being 'an experience.' The ones that bang through college as a late day class into an all night party, day after day after day. Folks that seemingly celebrate each and everyday as though it were the last. The ones that go wild for the first time in their lives. The Rules of Attraction is about three such characters. All three characters are transformed by their experiences. Some learn, some merely evolve from it."

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