A pile of Lee Israel books ("Beyond the Magic", an unauthorized biography of Estee Lauder) are shown on sale at a bookstore for 75% off. Lauder was publishing her own memoirs and initially tried to pay Israel *not* to write her book, but she refused and rushed her book to publication. The autobiography was released in October 1985 and Israel's biography one month later. The book buying public chose to buy the Lauder's autobiography rather than the Israel's biography. Lee Israel later said she regretted not taking the money when it was first offered.

Melissa McCarthy's husband, Ben Falcone, was attached to the project before she was. He recommended her for the lead when another actor backed out.

Julianne Moore was attached to this project during early development. She removed herself from the project due to creative differences.