The day after X (2022)'s South by Southwest premiere, writer/director Ti West revealed that during a mandatory two-week COVID-19 quarantine in his New Zealand hotel, before production could begin on this film, he wrote a prequel, Pearl (2022). A24 saw the script and greenlit the movie even before production on "X" had wrapped. He asked star Mia Goth if she wished to remain in New Zealand and film "Pearl," and she readily accepted. The prequel released later in 2022.
There was an actual adult film called The Farmer's Daughters (1976), which is infamous because it starred future acclaimed mainstream writer and actor Spalding Gray.
The title of the films refers to the X rating used by the MPAA from 1968 to 1990, which indicated that a film was only suitable for an audience aged 16 or older. The idea behind the rating was that, unlike the other certificates, X would not be trademarked, and would allow filmmakers to release their film in theaters without needing to submit it to the MPAA for an age certificate. Notable films that were originally released with an X rating include A Clockwork Orange (1971), Fritz the Cat (1972), Last Tango in Paris (1972), Midnight Cowboy (1969), and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971). In the '70s, the porn industry would end up exploiting the X rating's lack of a trademark by releasing pornos in theaters with that same rating. Eventually, X became more associated with porn, and more and more theaters started refusing to show films with an X rating, forcing non-pornographic films to be censored to receive an R rating. In 1990, the MPAA discontinued the X rating and replaced it with NC-17. Unlike X, NC-17 was trademarked and could not be self-applied, but it still meant that most theaters would not show films with the rating, resulting in censorship, once again.
The prequel film, Pearl (2022) began preproduction almost immediately after X (2022) wrapped, and began shooting a couple of weeks later. Pearl (2022) had its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2022, and was released in theaters in the United States on September 16, 2022, by A24.
Brittany Snow talked about filming the nude scenes in an interview, "I think there was a lot of confidence in terms of our characters, and a part of the nudity came from that confidence that our characters exuded. It almost felt necessary, because not only were we filming a porn, but our characters would've been so comfortable with that." Snow said the film "was an exercise in me feeling confident about my body. I was pretty proud of myself."
The name of the gas station and mini-mart at the beginning of the film is a direct reference to Ti West's movie, The Inkeepers (2011), which was set at the Yankee Pedlar Inn.
There is a subtle nod to a scene in When Harry Met Sally (1989) when they're talking about day of the week panties, and why there is no pair for Sunday, "because of God." Lorraine's character is wearing a pair of "Sunday" panties, while also being labeled "church mouse" by the crew.
This is the second time Mia Goth has appeared in a movie centering around sex. She previously appeared in Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2013).
Shares the title and main theatrical poster of Australian horror film X: Night of Vengeance (2011).