To add a spontaneous effect to the performances, Mike Leigh met with each actor individually and only told them what their character would know at the beginning of the film. As filming progressed the actors were hearing the secrets for the very first time. Brenda Blethyn, for instance, didn't know that Marianne Jean-Baptiste was black.
Even though the film's screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award and won a BAFTA, most of the script was improvised during filming. Writer/director Mike Leigh told each of the actors what his/her part in the story was and they each developed their own characters.
Members of the Heaven's Gate cult went to see this movie shortly before their mass suicide.
The restaurant where Cynthia and Hortense meet for lunch is "Pasta Plus Restaurant", a family-run Italian restaurant on 62 Eversholt Street, Camden, London. The restaurant is still open to the public (Monday to Saturday) and is very close to Euston station.
Was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the "Best of Film 1996" at position #6 in the in their year end review issue dated December 23, 1996.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Mike Leigh and Brenda Blethyn were both born on February 20th. Mike is exactly 3 years older than her.