During filming Kyle Gallner suffered a panic attack whilst being tied to a cross, which the crew were unaware of at first, thinking he was still acting.
The Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest Red State at its premier at the Sundance Film Festival. Kevin Smith in turn planned a counter protest which he and his fans took part in. At the premiere the counter-protesters heavily outweighed the handful of Westboro protesters who showed up. This occurred 12 years after Smith's first film to tackle religious controversy, Dogma (1999), drew protests from certain sects of the Catholic Church, one of which Smith jokingly took part in himself.
There is no score for this film. The entire soundtrack consists of songs sung within the film itself.
Shot over a period of 25 days, using the all-digital Red camera system, director and editor Kevin Smith could edit the footage the day he shot it. Because of this between shooting scenes Smith would be editing almost non-stop. As a result, a mere 2 days after the last shot was done, Smith was able to show a fine-cut of the film to the entire cast and crew at the wrap party.
After a screening of the film in Kansas City, Kevin Smith interviewed two life long Westboro Baptist Church members (Shirley Phelps niece and son) who had defected a few years prior. They both enjoyed the film and even complimented Smith on how realistic certain aspects of religious fanaticism are depicted.
Little did Kevin Smith know Michael Parks was actually a country singer early in his career who sang with the likes of Johnny Cash. Many of the country-gospel songs sung in the film were suggested by Parks during filming. Later after the film was completed Parks re-recorded the songs onto an album.
A first for writer/director Kevin Smith, he has stated this film is a strict non-comedy saying, "It's a nasty-ass $4mil horror flick with few (if any) redeeming characters."
At the premier of the film at the Sundance film festival, Kevin Smith said he would "pick the distributor 'auction style'" immediately following the screening. After the screening he then pulled producer John Gordon on stage to conduct the auction. Smith then bid $20 for distribution rights and Gordon immediately sold it to him. Smith revealed it was his plan all along to self-distribute the film himself.
Kevin Smith wrote the role of Abin Cooper for Michael Parks after seeing his performance in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Smith has said that if Parks had not agreed to be in the film, he would have dropped the project entirely.
Released on tour in March 2011, Kevin Smith invited the WBC and specifically Megan Phelps-Roper over Twitter to attend the Kansas City screening and Q&A. Megan and around 15 other members of WBC attended the screening and some brought their young children along. Smith warned the family that the film's content was for a mature audience and not suitable for children, but was promptly told off by the church members. Less than 20 minutes into the screening, the entire WBC audience attending the event walked out, outraged by the film's content. Megan called the film "filth" and "a vulgar piece of tacky melodrama."
Samuel L. Jackson was considered for the role that eventually went to John Goodman.
The megaphone John Goodman uses when announcing his team's arrival is actually from Kevin Smith's home where he would use it to communicate with his pets and family. Smith thought that it looked professional enough and that Goodman's character might pick it up on the way as "a sort of last minute, oh 'sh--t' sorta thing."
Kevin Smith wrote the script around the same time he was writing Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) and presented them both to the Weinstein brothers. They immediately gave the green light to Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but declined on Red State fearing its story was too bleak to attract an audience. Had they green lit, Red State would've been shot back to back with Zack and Miri.
Casting director Deborah Aquila was moved to tears whilst listening to Kyle Gallner's performance during the cage scene.
Alan Rickman was considered for the role played by John Goodman, but Alan was busy filming Harry Potter
Kevin Smith had originally wanted to shoot the film on location in a real Red State around middle America. However, due to budget constraints he ended up shooting it all just outside Los Angeles.
This is the first feature Kevin Smith and his cinematographer David Klein shot using the all-digital Red camera.
Kevin Smith stated on his podcast Hollywood Babble-On 55 that the name Abin Cooper comes from the Green Lantern character Abin Sur and a character from indie film The Reflecting Skin (1990).
Kevin Smith was gifted a poster by one of the many protesters for the film that was the theatrical poster with the word "Fags" added to the title. One night, Smith took his wife and daughter out to dinner while maids were cleaning their house. When they returned home, they found that the maids had displayed the poster right in the living room, so it was staring at them when they entered. Smith and his wife were horrified that their daughter had seen the poster, but she simply assumed it was for a sequel and thought nothing of it.