Director Danny Cannon was so disheartened over his constant creative disputes with Sylvester Stallone that he swore he would never again work with another big-name actor. He also claimed that the final version was completely different from the script, due to the changes Stallone demanded.
In later interviews, Sylvester Stallone said he felt the film was supposed to be a comedy/action film, and demanded rewrites to make it even more comedic. The director and screenwriter, however, had intended a darker, more satirical approach, which led to many difficulties behind the scenes.
The scene in which Fergie mocks Dredd was improvised, and it turned out to be so funny to see Rob Schneider making fun of Sylvester Stallone, that it was kept in the movie.
In the Dredd comics, tradition dictates that Dredd does not take off his helmet, thus his face has mostly only fleetingly appeared in full, but the producers obviously would not allow an expensive performer, such as Sylvester Stallone, to never show his face clearly.
Since this was shot in England, they kept the streets wet at all times so that it wouldn't matter if it rained.
In an interview, Rob Schneider claimed that the film crew gave Sylvester Stallone extra fire retardant on the back of his costume for the fiery exhaust shaft scene, while Mr. Schneider got no fire retardant at all.
The moment where Dredd takes off his helmet caused a lot of controversy. Judge Dredd would never remove his helmet in the comics. He took it off only once, but his disfigured face was covered with a censor bar.
According to Rob Schneider, Sylvester Stallone called him and offered him the role of Fergie after first choice, Joe Pesci, turned it down.
The "Lawmaster" bikes were built from scratch. They were so powerful, only stuntmen could drive them. The actors were given safer, low-powered "moped" versions to ride.
Director Danny Cannon had to fight hard to convince the producers to make the film in England. His reasoning for this was not because it's the natural home of Judge Dredd but because of the high level of film technicians in the UK.
The Welsh rock group Manic Street Preachers were supposed to compose the title song for the film, but after the disappearance of one of their members, they chose not to go on with the production and the project was abandoned. In 2003 they finally released the song, titled "Judge Yr'self".
To bring Hammerstein to life, they were going to use a man in a suit, but Danny Cannon insisted they build it for real. It's powered by hydraulics and controlled by five remote operators.
From the beginning the film was intended to receive a PG-13 rating. Due to excessive violence the MPAA refused to downgrade the initial R rating despite repeated appeals by the studio and Sylvester Stallone. Mostly because of schedule constraints the film could not be re-cut and was released with an R rating.
There were over 70 clones on set. Some were dummies and others were stuntmen in prosthetics. The actors in the suits had to shave off all their body hair before the costumes could be glued on.
In the film Mega City One is shown to be much smaller than it was in the comics. In the first scene featuring the Council Judges, a map of North America is shown and Mega City One doesn't spread out much further than the current New York metropolitan area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut). Maps from the comics have shown Mega City One covering most if not the whole of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. It is also stated in this scene that it has a population of 65 million, in the comics it is usually around 400 million (although it varies), this is after the Apocalypse War has halved the population from 800 million.
In the comics, Fergie is a fugitive who lives in the Undercity (the remains of the original Eastern Seaboard U.S. cities which were covered over with a layer of concrete and Mega City One was built on top) and is the "top dog" over the other outcasts and mutants. In the film he is simply a cowardly ex-convict who serves as comic relief.
This is the third film in which Sylvester Stallone plays a policeman framed for a crime he didn't commit. The other films were Tango & Cash (1989) and Demolition Man (1993).
Danny Cannon turned down the chance to direct Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), in order to make this film.
John Wagner, the creator of the comic character on which the film was based, said when interviewed by Empire in 2012: "the story had nothing to do with Judge Dredd, and Judge Dredd wasn't really Judge Dredd even though Stallone was perfect for the part." He did however praise the production value and budget of the film. In an interview with Total Film, he said that the film had "tried to do too much" and "told the wrong story".
The movie is about a popular and long-running British comic book character who first appeared in the comic "2000 A.D.".
Danny Cannon was apparently not allowed on the set for the post-production reshoots.
Prior to production, Danny Cannon proclaimed that this would be "the Ben-Hur (1959) of comic book movies", but unfortunately Sylvester Stallone had different plans, and Cannon's vision was unfortunately compromised.
RoboCop (1987) borrowed so much from the Judge Dredd comics that it delayed this production for years. It was so successful and similar that the producers had to wait before going ahead with this movie.
One of the flying taxis was later used as a test vehicle for what was touted as "the world's most powerful automotive subwoofer". Since the car had no glass, interior fixtures, or any breakable parts, it was considered a suitable platform what what were essentially two movie theater subwoofers bolted into the rear of the vehicle.
At first, the villain for this movie was going to be Judge Death, a monster who makes "living" illegal. But it was too expensive to create Death's skeleton body, and Rico had more to do with Dredd's past.
The crew built a replica of Lady Liberty's head twenty percent bigger than the real thing.
Danny Cannon had a poster for a Judge Dredd film that he created himself published in Prog 534 of 2000 A.D. dated August 8, 1987. The poster featured Harrison Ford as Judge Dredd, Daryl Hannah as Judge Anderson, and Christopher Walken as an additional co-star. Ridley Scott was listed as the director.
Twice when giving locations, the police radio announcer alluded to two comedic duos: "Corner of Abbott and Costello" (Bud Abbott and Lou Costello) and "Corner of Burns and Allen" (George Burns and Gracie Allen).
The vehicles used in the film (Taxis mainly) were actually Land Rover Forward Control 101s, originally used as a military vehicle. For the film, Land Rover designed and built the 31 vehicles using the FC101 chassis and a fibreglass body. Only one of the vehicles was given an interior to match for close up and interior shots, the rest were totally bare inside except for the controls and a drivers seat. The one with the interior can be seen at the Planet Hollywood in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Three years before this film was made, Tim Hunter was attached to direct it with Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the Judge.
Rob Schneider got banged up while shooting. On his first day, he fell down a flight of stairs.
Jerry Goldsmith was originally scheduled to score the film, but due to scheduling problems had to drop out. However, as a favor to the producers, he wrote an original score for the film's original teaser trailer that has since been used on a number of other trailers. David Arnold was originally hired to replace him, but was himself replaced by Alan Silvestri because the producers felt he was too closely allied to director Danny Cannon.
Joan Chen treated her character's relationship with Rico like they were lovers: "She's attracted to (his) absoluteness."
The Coen brothers, Peter Hewitt, and Richard Stanley all reputedly turned down the chance to direct.
The "flying bike" scenes features three seconds where Dredd is a computer generated image. This is the part where he swoops low over a crowd of punks.
Danny Cannon wanted actors "of international importance" so that the movie would feel timeless.
The film was rebooted as Dredd (2012), which Karl Urban stepped into Sylvester Stallone's shoes as Judge Dredd. The reboot was directed by Pete Travis and written by Alex Garland. The reboot received positive reviews and made $41.5 million at the Box Office.
The Coen Brothers were offered the chance to make the film. They turned it down in favor of Fargo (1996). Coincidentally, Max von Sydow's character is named Fargo.
A stuntwoman was used for the head-butt in the fight scene between Hayden and Hershey, but Diane Lane and Joan Chen did the rest of it themselves.
Danny Cannon was chosen to direct because the producers liked his previous film The Young Americans (1993).
After the success of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991), Peter Hewitt was lined up to direct this film with Arnold Schwarzenegger set to play the tittle role and Michael Ironside as Rico.
In the comics Judge Hilda Margaret McGruder (Evelyn McGruder in the film) and Judge Thomas Silver (Gerald Silver in the film and played by a white actor, in the comics he was black) both had extensive histories and served as Chief Judge, in the film they are minor characters who only serve as Council members and end up being killed. Also in the comics there was never a Judge Carlos Esposito on the Council.
Writers Walon Green, Rene Balcer and Michael S. Chernuchin did uncredited rewrites at the behest of producer Ed Pressman.
The Janus lab was constructed from aluminum to give it a different look from the rest of the movie.
In addition to sprinkling various stores with crew names in Mega City, they also honored writer Steven E. De Souza with a character. The drunk guy with the hovering Lamborghini in the beginning is named Mr. Souza.
According to "The Making Of Judge Dredd" by Jane Killick with David Chute and Charles Lippincott, several production crew members are mentioned around the set of Mega City 1: Ty's Thai Kitchen (Ty Teiger, Prop Master) Mary Lou's Reptile House (Mary Lou Devlin, Production Associate) Lanzer Bacteriologist (John Lanzer, Production Buyer) Allday and Nite Liquor Store & Allday Dining (David Allday, Art Director for vehicles) Bill Ying Tong's (Jon Billington, Junior Draughtsperson) Grays Marks Dependable Delivery Service (Richard Graysmark, Floor Runner) Newman's Dehumidifying (Christopher Newman, 1st Assistant Director) Bracey Massage Service (Chris Bracey, Neon work, uncredited)
The tank-like SUV's were custom-made by Land Rover. The hovercar is based on a Lamborghini Countach.
Alan Silvestri's score is similar to Eraser (1996). Coincidentally, Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for the title role in this film before his good friend and future The Expendables (2010) and Escape Plan (2013) co-star Sylvester Stallone got the part.
11 years earlier, Maurice Roeves (Miller) guest starred in the long running BBC science fiction series Doctor Who (1963) (TV Series). In the 1986 season of the series entitled "The Trial of a Time Lord", The Doctor (Colin Baker) is forced to stand trial by the High Council of Time Lords for interfering in the affairs of other planets and genocide which The Doctor later learns the High Council is using the trial as a farce to cover the truth behind the planet Ravalox and are using the court prosecutor The Valeyard (Michael Jayston) to adjust the evidence in the Matrix, so The Doctor can be found guilty and it is revealed that The Valeyard is an evil future incarnation of The Doctor. 2000 AD published comic books of the series and had a planned to do a crossover which Judge Dredd meets The Doctor, but never happened.
The warden at the Aspen prison facility is called Miller. In Mel Brook's Star Wars spoof Spaceballs (1987) the warden of the Spaceballs prison which Princess Vespa and Dot Matrix have been imprisoned in is called Warden Miller. Sylvester Stallone whom plays Judge Dredd had auditioned for Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), but lost out to Harrison Ford.