Kevin Costner was reportedly also offered the Judge Wakefield part.
After filming one day, actor James Brolin returned to his car to find two youths attempting to break in. Still in his general's uniform, he frightened away the would-be thieves, who mistook him for a real military officer.
The only two story arcs to ever come close are Catherine Zeta-Jones and Benicio Del Toro's when their characters pass each other on the street in Mexico, and when Judge Wakefield (Michael Douglas) has a meeting with General Salazar and Javier Rodriguez (Del Toro) is sitting in the room.
Steven Soderbergh: (company named "Perennial") The company where Montel Gordon (Don Cheadle) and Ray Castro (Luis Guzmán) go to apprehend Eduardo Ruiz (Miguel Ferrer) is called Perennial Storage. Also see The Limey (1999), Out of Sight (1998) and The Underneath (1995).
Al Pacino was also asked to play Judge Wakefield but couldn't fit it into his schedule and Richard Gere was considered before Michael Douglas came on board.
The scenes that take place in the White House were shot on the set of the television series The West Wing (1999), which is a near-exact replica (albeit wider, to allow for free movement of the cameras) of the actual interiors of the White House's West Wing.
Every scene that takes place in Tijuana is shot with a hand-held camera.
Michael Douglas originally declined the role of Robert Wakefield, and it was offered to Harrison Ford, who accepted. Ford worked with director Steven Soderbergh to improve the character, but then decided not to do the movie. Douglas liked the change in the character so much, he accepted the revamped part.
Helena Ayala's license plate is 2GAT123. The same California license plate also appears in Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), L.A. Story (1991), Go (1999), Pay It Forward (2000), Mulholland Dr. (2001), Crazy/Beautiful (2001), Two and a Half Men (2003), and S.W.A.T. (2003).
Senator Harry Reid is shown speaking with Michael Douglas's character at the beginning of the movie. A script was written for the senator, but he didn't like it. Instead, he had the actor ask him the question and he responded as he would normally.
Writer Stephen Gaghan originally planned to set the Wakefield family storylines in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. During his research, he determined that Cincinnati's bad neighborhoods looked worse than Louisville's, and would serve the finished film better, so he moved the Wakefields' stories to Ohio.
In the original big screen release, Caroline (Erika Christensen) states that she attends Cincinatti Country Day. Stephen Gaghan, (screenplay), attended a private school in Louisville, KY called Kentucky Country Day and was expelled the week before his graduation for driving a go-cart down the halls of the school.
During the party scene where Bowman ODs, the teens were snorting dried milk. Corey Spears (Bowman) snorted so much that he became ill.
Four people won Oscars for this film. Their names were Steven, Stephen, Stephen and Benicio.
The scene where Michael Douglas takes his trip to the California border crossing to discuss drug interdiction was actually shot at the Tijuana crossing. The video and sound quality is so low in part because it was never supposed to be part of the movie. Douglas started asking, out of character, Rudy M. Camacho about drug trafficking on the border. Camacho was, at the time, the actual Customs chief in charge of the California border crossings. Steven Soderbergh began filming it with a hand-held camera, praying that Camacho wouldn't address the actor as "Mr. Douglas".
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