Isabella Rossellini claims that during the initial filming of the ritualistic rape scene, David Lynch couldn't stop laughing off-screen at the weirdness of it all. Though she was baffled as to why he was laughing at the time, Rossellini says that to this day, she herself laughs uncontrollably every time she watches that particular scene.
In an interview, Dennis Hopper claimed that writer/director David Lynch would never say the word "fuck" during filming, he would simply point to the line in the script and say "that word". Hopper laughed, saying "He can write it, but he won't say it. He's a peculiar man." Lynch has said this isn't exactly true, but he didn't want to charge the atmosphere anymore than it already was.
In Jonathan Ross Presents for One Week Only: David Lynch (1990) Lynch claims that the robin in the final scene is a real bird. When told that it looks like an artificial bird, he says, "Well, it's playing a role" and smiles broadly.
Isabella Rossellini actually was naked under her velvet robe when she did the "ritualistic rape scene", a fact that her partner Dennis Hopper was not aware of until the cameras started rolling and his co-star opened her legs for him to kneel between. This scene was the very first time the two of them ever worked together.
Several of the actors who were considered for the role of Frank found the character too repulsive and intense. Dennis Hopper, by contrast, is reported to have exclaimed, "I've got to play Frank. Because I am Frank!"
Roy Orbison initially rejected David Lynch's request to use the song "In Dreams" in the brothel scene. Lynch found a way to legally use the song anyway and Orbison did not discover the song was in the movie until Orbison just happened to see the movie in a California theatre. Orbison eventually filmed a video for the song that was produced by Lynch with footage from the movie.
Isabella Rossellini's role was written by David Lynch for Debbie Harry. Harry, sick of receiving offers to play "the weirdo" after she had played such a character in Videodrome (1983), turned it down.
The scene in which Jeffrey and Frank go driving off at breakneck speeds was filmed by having stagehands rock the (stationary) car while others ran past with lights in their hands.
The character of Frank was to breathe helium at various intervals in David Lynch's original script, but Dennis Hopper suggested this be changed to amyl nitrite which he knew was used to enhance sexual experiences. Hopper only realized years later how bizarre the concept of a helium-breathing maniac talking with a high voice was. Lynch, however, felt that using helium might elicit laughter in the audience which would have been undesirable.
Dean Stockwell held a worklight in the "In Dreams" sequence only after director David Lynch saw him holding one during a lighting session. He was originally supposed to hold a microphone.
Producer Dino De Laurentiis had to set up his own distribution company, D.E.G., in order to get the film into theaters, as nobody else was willing to touch it.
Molly Ringwald was originally offered role of Sandy, but her mother objected to her starring in it due to the graphic content of the film. Laura Dern was cast instead.
The role of Jeffrey was originally offered to Val Kilmer, who turned it down, describing the script he read as "pornography", although he says he would've done the version that finally made it to the screen.
A scene in which Dennis Hopper hits Isabella Rossellini was edited so that his hand connects with her face off-screen, to satisfy MPAA concerns about violence towards women. Director David Lynch opined that that change only made the scene more disturbing.
The producers did not want to pay the rights for including the original recording of Bobby Vinton's song "Blue Velvet". So Angelo Badalamenti was brought in to record a new version that sounded exactly like the old one. After Badalamenti delivered, the filmmakers invited Vinton into a studio to re-record vocals for his famous song. It had to be arranged two and a half keys lower because of Bobby's changed vocal range. David Lynch heard the new recording, liked it, but thought that it would not work as well as the original version and finally convinced the producers to shell out the extra money for using it.
The movie's line "Don't you fucking look at me!" was voted as the #74 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
In the original screenplay, the sex scene between Jeffrey and Dorothy was longer; Jeffrey spins the propeller on her son's hat when Dorothy undresses him and Jeffrey learns Frank is coming. Dorothy thinks Jeffrey is her husband Don and cries when saying Jeffrey's name.
David Lynch originally wanted Song to the Siren by This Mortal Coil playing when Jeffrey and Sandy are dancing in the bar because it was one of his all time favorite songs. Despite many efforts to obtain the rights, Lynch was not able to use the song. Despite his disappointment with this situation, Lynch was granted rights to the song for his later film Lost Highway (1997).
The prosthetic ear found by Kyle MacLachlan's character at the beginning of the film has remained in the possession of its creator and makeup supervisor Jeff Goodwin despite numerous claims to the contrary. The ear was originally modeled from Goodwin's own ear until Lynch remarked that it looked like a child's ear. It was then remodeled from Fred C. Caruso's ear.
Isabella Rossellini and Kyle MacLachlan went through improvisations of all their scenes together when they first met, the day Rossellini was testing for the role of Dorothy.
David Lynch had never seen any of Laura Dern's previous films. Isabella Rosellini had seen Mask, and was so convinced by her performance that she wondered why Lynch had cast a blind girl in a role that hadn't been written as such.
David Lynch initially envisioned Hanna Schygulla for the role of Dorothy. When she declined, he thought of Helen Mirren for the part, before meeting model Isabella Rossellini in a New York City restaurant.
Harry Dean Stanton was the first choice for the role of Frank but Stanton turned it down because he did not want to work on a violent film. He later appeared in works by Lynch several times, including The French as Seen by...: The Cowboy and the Frenchman (1988), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), Hotel Room: Tricks (1993), Inland Empire (2006) and several episodes of Twin Peaks (2017).
Steven Berkoff was David Lynch's first choice for Frank Booth. When he rejected it the role went to Dennis Hopper. Berkoff said that "there was nothing in that part except destruction".
When Frank and his crew arrive with Jeffrey at the brothel, Frank announces "This is it". The neon sign in the window of the brothel says "This is it".
Chris Isaak was up for the role of Jeffrey Beaumont, but he turned it down and the role went to Kyle MacLachlan. David Lynch used two songs by Isaak from his 1985 debut album "Silvertone". Isaak later agreed to appear in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) in a role, which curiously was originally intended to be another Kyle MacLachlan character, Agent Dale Cooper, until the role was re-written into two separate parts.
During a 2018 interview with Alec Baldwin on Baldwin's WNYC radio program "Here's the Thing, " Kyle MacLachlan said that Blue Velvet had a pre-release test screening (then a common practice for studio films) in California's suburban San Fernando Valley. The test audience filled out comment cards after the screening, and, MacLachlan said, they were some of the worst response cards the studio had ever seen for any movie. MacLachlan remembered that everyone involved with the making of the film were despairing until the New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael reviewed the film and "explained it to people in a way, or pointed them in the right direction, or helped them to get a sense of what the world that they were seeing was about, and that started the slow movement of acceptance of the movie."
The second work in which Dennis Hopper plays a character named Frank. He would go on to play seven completely unrelated "Franks" throughout his career.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Robert Loggia wanted to play the role of Frank Booth. David Lynch later specifically wrote a part of Mr. Eddy for him in Lost Highway (1997).
Karen Allen, Rebecca De Mornay, Jodie Foster, Anjelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek were considered for the role of Dorothy Vallens.
Dorothy Vallens's apartment is on the 7th floor. The actual filming location (Carolina Apartments in Wilmington, North Carolina) is only 6 stories high.
Meryl Streep didn't like the erotic tone of the film, and later claimed that the part of Dorothy Vallens was written at Isabella Rossellini's request.
The Dorothy Vallens character was inspired by the story of Judy Garland. Coincidentally, Garland played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Ranked #8 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Mystery" in June 2008.
Chosen by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in October 1997.
In the film it is not revealed what year the film is set in. The film itself owes a large debt to 1950s film noir and the original version of the "Blue Velvet" song by Tony Bennett was released in 1951 and it's possible the film could take place somewhere in the 1950s or in a alternate reality.
Sigourney Weaver was interested in playing Dorothy Valens, but she had to move on to other projects.
Debra Winger turned down the role of Dorothy Valens due to the erotic nature of the film.
Helen Hunt was considered for Dororthy Valens, but David Lynch felt she was too young for the role.
Meghan Mullaly played Jeffrey's college girlfriend in a scene that was cut from the beginning of the film.
Isabella Rossellini's hairdo in the movie is identical to Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the main antagonist of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).
Laura Dern would later go on to star in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). David Lynch had been offered to direct Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), but he turned it down.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
22 years after the film's release, Isabella Rossellini wrote and directed a series of 8 films for The Sundance Channel entitled Green Porno (2008) which the actress enacted mating ritual of various insects and other animals.
Ceann, an American/Irish pub band references the movie in their song 'Pabst Blue Ribbon'.
The only film that year to be Oscar nominated for Best Director, but not Best Picture.
Dennis Hopper had appeared with Bruce Dern in Hang'em High. That film also starred Clint Eastwood, whose daughter Francesca appeared in Twin Peaks.
David Lynch was offered the chance to direct Return of the Jedi. Actor Brad Dourif went on to share two roles with its cast. He originated the role of Chucky, a role later played by Mark Hamill. He also played Grima Wormtongue in the Lord of the Rings films, a part played on radio by Paul Brooke.
Laura Dern went on to appear in Jurassic Park, but was replaced in the sequel by Julianne Moore. Dennis Hopper and Dean Stockwell later appeared in Backtrack with Jodie Foster. Foster appeared in The Silence of the Lambs, but was replaced in Hannibal by Julianne Moore. Dern also appeared with Foster in Foxes, and Moore in The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio.
Roy Orbison's song "In Dreams" appears in Blue Velvet, while another one if his songs (Crying) appears in a Spanish version in another one of David Lynch's movies, Mulholland Dr.
Hope Lange previously appeared in Peyton Place (1957), which became a major inspiration for David Lynch's series Twin Peaks (1990). Her character in particular; who suffers sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather; was an inspiration for Laura Palmer. That film also featured future Twin Peaks cast member Russ Tamblyn.
David Lynch: [Lincoln] Contains several references to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Jeffrey Beaumont is warned not to go to Lincoln Street, where Deep River Apartments are located. Frank Booth's name evokes John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin. One of the victim's at the end is shot through the head much the same way Lincoln was.