When being interviewed about the film by documentarians Ted Demme and Richard LaGravanese (for their film A Decade Under the Influence (2003)), co-star Roy Scheider expressed in a flustered manner, "I had never been involved in a film project that spent so much time studying how a woman drinks her tea!"
Director Jerry Schatzberg told Faye Dunaway about the idea for the film when he was photographing her for Esquire. Dunaway, then a beginner in cinema, lobbied for the project.
The film's story is inspired by the life of model Anne Saint Marie. Jerry Schatzberg taped a series of interviews with her and this became the basis of the film.
On the list of insolent photographers (with whom the main character would "never" work again) is the name Schatzberg. The name is seen clearly prior to Barbara Carrera's entrance into Dunaway's dressing room, just before she adds another name. Jerry Schatzberg is the director of the film and this is most likely an inside joke about the real model upon whom he based the character.
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According to filmmaker Shatzberg, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were early champions of the film, helping to get it financed via their film production company at Universal.
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