According to Mia Farrow's autobiography "What Falls Away", Woody Allen filmed two or three versions of every scene, took all of the footage into the editing suite, cut the film together and then decided that he hated it. He then rewrote the entire script, fired and recast virtually every major part, and re-filmed the entire thing. This meant that he doubled his production costs and came in well behind schedule. Allen was reportedly keen to do it all again for a third time.
Director Woody Allen cast and shot this film twice, without telling the original cast.
Mia Farrow (Lane) and Dianne Wiest (Stephanie) are the only actors to appear in both versions of the film.
Woody Allen decided to make the film for two main reasons. One was because he had always wanted to do a "chamber piece", a film with a small cast (there are only six principal characters, and only nine in the entire film) in a single location. The other was for the location itself, Mia Farrow's Connecticut country house, which inspired Allen to write the screenplay with the intention that it would be shot at the house. Unfortunately, by the time Allen finished the screenplay, it was winter and the location was unusable for a movie so firmly planted in September. The entire movie (which takes place in Vermont) was shot on a single soundstage at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in New York.
Woody Allen once said that this film and A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982) were his "two biggest financial disasters".
One of the main plot thrusts of "September" is taken from the life of Lana Turner, whose 14-year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane, killed Lana's gangster lover, Johnny Stompanato, in 1958.
In addition to these replacements, there was one more that did not even make it through an entire shooting. At the very beginning of shooting, Christopher Walken played the role of Peter but Allen only shot a few scenes with him before he decided that he was wrong for the part. Walken was replaced by Sam Shepard who, in turn, was later replaced by Sam Waterston.
Allen's intention was that the production should feel like a play captured on film. For that reason, he generally shot in long, uninterrupted takes with very few close-ups.
'Movieline' Magazine reported that as of 2011, September (1987) is Woody Allen's lowest-grossing movie (at only $486,484).
This is one of four film collaborations of Woody Allen and Sam Waterston. The other three are Interiors (1978), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).
Reportedly, Woody Allen had been a big fan of actor Denholm Elliott and had been trying to get him for years to be in one of his movies. Allen had particularly wanted him for his earlier and similar picture Interiors (1978).
After Radio Days (1987), this was the second film directed by Woody Allen to be released in 1987.
In a 2014 interview, Woody Allen admitted he would shoot the movie again if he got the chance.
For the re-shot second version, Elaine Stritch, Denholm Elliott and Sam Waterston replaced Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Durning and Sam Shepard respectively.
Maureen O'Sullivan, who was replaced by Elaine Stritch, is Mia Farrow's real-life mother. O'Sullivan would have been seen as Farrow's character's mother in this movie as she had been in Allen's earlier Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).
According to the book "Woody Allen: A Biography" (2000) by John Baxter, "Embarking on another drama [Another Woman (1988)] immediately after September (1987) was a calculated risk. September (1987) hadn't been released when Allen started shooting in October 1987, and Orion still had every reason to believe that the earlier film would do well. Were that to happen, Another Woman (1988) could be the film that sealed Allens new standing as a dramatic film-maker".
The movie, like Woody Allen's earlier A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982), featured only six main characters.
For the French dubbed version, Stephanie's French lesson at the beginning of the film was changed to an Italian lesson.
In Elaine Stritch's one-woman Broadway show, "At Liberty", she reveals that after the wrap party she had an attack of hypoglycemia at the door of her hotel room, and was rescued by the mini-bar attendant who gave her a Pepsi. This event caused her to completely give up alcohol.
One of five cinema movie collaborations of Woody Allen and actress Dianne Wiest. In two of them, Wiest won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. Wiest also appeared in Allen's other 1987 movie Radio Days (1987).
After The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Radio Days (1987), this was the fourth consecutive Woody Allen film in which both Mia Farrow and Dianne Wiest appear.
At seven, this film tied the number of appearances made by Mia Farrow and Diane Keaton in Woody Allen films.
Principal photography for this film first started in late October 1986. The production shoot on it was not completed until about eight months later in June 1987.
Rosemary Murphy (Mrs. Mason) and Elaine Stritch (Diane) died only twelve days apart: Murphy on July 5, 2014 and Stritch on July 17, 2014.
Around the time the movie was made and released, lead actors Woody Allen and Mia Farrow were in a personal relationship, which had started around 1980.
This was the seventh of thirteen film collaborations of actress Mia Farrow and actor-writer-director Woody Allen.