The notorious bottom nude scene, ultimately played by Julianne Moore, deterred a lot of other actresses, including Madeleine Stowe, who switched roles in the film. Ironically, Stowe's new part required nudity too, though it was topless, rather than bottomless.
Even though he film is based on short stories by Raymond Carver, one scene is taken straight out of David Osborne's novel "Open Season" from 1974. The scene where Stuart (Fred Ward) and his two buddies, Gordon (Buck Henry) and Vern (Huey Lewis), harass Doreen (Lily Tomlin) at the breakfast diner before they head out on their fishing trip, plays almost exactly like a short chapter in that novel. Three good buddies are heading out on a hunting trip, and harass a young, sexy waitress at the diner where they went for a breakfast stop. Not only the way the characters interact is similar, even the way the friends in this film are dressed, and how they joke with one another, is exactly like Osborne wrote it. Thematically, the novel "Open Season" is linked to this film, in that it is a harsh critique of a perverted "American way of life".
In preparation for her role as a phone-sex operator in the film, Leigh spent time in actual phone-sex offices researching her role, during which time she claims to have read the call logs and recognized some prominent names, including two film directors she personally knew.
This film and Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia (1999), are similarly themed (both taking place in Los Angeles and running for three hours), and both have a large ensemble cast. Anderson is a huge fan and disciple of Altman. nm0000194 appears on both movies.