There really is a Whistle Stop Cafe that does indeed serve fried green tomatoes (among other Southern foods) just north of Macon Georgia. It is in the actual area where many of the scenes were filmed. After the film became a huge success, the Whistle Stop Cafe set was turned into an actual restaurant, and its surrounding area into a tourist attraction. Although they may have filmed in Georgia, the true Whistle Stop Cafe is in Irondale, Alabama (a suburb or Birmingham, where Author Fannie Flagg grew up.)
In July 2008, afterellen.com reported that Mary-Louise Parker said that she, her costar Mary Stuart Masterson, and screenwriter (and original novel author) Fannie Flagg were all strong advocates for depicting in the film the lesbian relationship between Ruth and Idgie that had appeared in the book. However, the director, Jon Avnet, and the producers of the film decided to excise the romance and just make the two characters into friends. In the DVD extras, Avnet does say that he considered Idgie and Ruth's food fight scene in the movie as an analogy for a love scene between the two that he chose not to include.
Author Fannie Flagg was good friends with Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. In the movie, Mrs. Threadgoode suggests Evelyn would be "good with cosmetics" - so she becomes a successful Mary Kay beauty consultant.
Carol Sobieski wrote the first draft of the screenplay, which the director and producers thought were wonderful - but it wasn't the movie they wanted to do. Next, Fannie Flagg was brought on to do another draft and she finished seventy pages before quitting. With no money left to hire another writer, director Jon Avnet took it upon himself to write the screenplay and spent the next three years doing so. He did, however, stay in close contact with Flagg to make sure he stayed true to her book.
A persistent rumor is that Ninny Threadgood, who is the older woman telling the story at the beginning of the movie, is secretly Idgie Threadgoode, citing as evidence her first scene (where she asks Evelyn in a rather sly way if she's ever heard of Idgie Threadgoode) and her final scene, in which Evelyn looks at Old Ninny with what seems to be dawning realization and suggests that "maybe we'll see [Idgie] today." The novel makes it a bit more clear that Ninny and Idgie are two different people, as there are scenes in which they both appear and interact with each other. In the film, Ninny states that she married Idgie's brother Cleo, which is how she acquired the Threadgoode name. Ninny also states in the film that she had a crush on Buddy, which would be quite a strange thing to admit if Ninny was really Idgie, since Buddy would be her biological brother.
Fannie Flagg, who wrote the screenplay and the renowned book the movie was based on, "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe," is best known as a panelist on the 1970's game show Match Game PM (1975). She was born in Alabama, where the book is set, and is now a celebrated author of Southern-genre writing, in the vein of Margaret Mitchell and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
An August 2017 New York Times profile of Mary Stuart Masterson (Idgie), said that she has recently installed two beehives on her family's farm in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. Masterson explained that she had long wanted to become a beekeeper because of the role that beekeeping played in Idgie's life: "Ever since 'Fried Green Tomatoes' I've felt like a sham."
Graffiti on one of the buildings in Whistle Stop, shown at the beginning of the movie when the credits are still rolling, says "Kudzu Kills." Kudzu is a plant in the pea family, and is usually considered an invasive species. It climbs over other plants and kills them by depriving them of sunlight. Some of the old abandoned buildings in this scene are covered with vegetation, presumably Kudzu. Kudzu thrives in the American Southeast, due to the hot, humid climate.
In 2019, as one of many events during the yearlong celebration of the Alabama Bicentennial (the 200th anniversary of Alabama statehood), the University of Alabama Department of Theatre and Dance presented a staged reading of the screenplay for Fried Green Tomatoes at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Presented with the permission of Fannie Flagg and NBCUniversal Pictures, the reading was directed by UA theatre professor Kelley Schoger and performed by theatre students. The event program credited the screenplay to Fannie Flagg and Jon Avnet (omitting Carol Sobieski, who died while writing the first draft but who nonetheless received onscreen credit and an Oscar nomination as co-screenwriter; and adding the film's director, who reportedly did some uncredited work on the script). Although in 2005 there was a press release announcing that Broadway producer Jeffrey Finn had optioned Flagg's novel for a stage adaptation, neither that version nor any other professional stage adaptation of the material has ever materialized.
In the film, Ed's aunt whom he and Evelyn visit in the nursing home is named Vesta Adcock. In the novel, Vesta Adcock is a rich and snobby resident of Whistle Stop, and it's Ed's mother, "Big Momma" that he and Evelyn visit.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Several comments allude to products advertised on signs at the cafe are anachronistic, assuming the cafe closed in the 30s or 40s. But Ninny says the cafe closed when the railroad left, and the rusty gas pumps in front of the cafe are indeed 60s-70s era gas pumps and quite different from the red pumps depicted in the 30s portion of the film.