The Coens' initial concept for "Miller's Crossing" was "Big guys in overcoats in the woods -- the incongruity of urban gangsters in a forest setting."
Star Gabriel Byrne said of his role, "All through the picture, Tom is battling with the idea of love and the idea of giving himself to another person. The turning point for Tom is at Miller's Crossing -- Bernie gets through to his heart and he lets go. From then on everything goes haywire, and he determines never again to be ruled by his heart." Byrne was married to actress Ellen Barkin, whom he worked with on "Siesta," at the time this film was made.
John Turturro describes his character's role in the film, "In a way, it's like 'Dr. Faustus,' but in the Dashiell Hammett vernacular. I'm kind of a devilish character, and I'm sort of like a phantom, appearing and disappearing. And all my scenes are through Tom, so I really exist through him... Bernie's very quick-thinking. He's much more verbal and intellectual; he's dangerous, but more with his mind and his mouth."
Turturro also appeared in two Spike Lee movies, "Do the Right Thing" and "Mo' Better Blues," and starred in the Coens' next film "Barton Fink" (1991). He also appeared as a cop in another of 1990's many gangster films, Phil Joanou's "State of Grace." In 1993, he directed his first film "Mac."
Actor Trey Wilson was originally intended for the role of Leo, but he died in New York on January 16, 1989.
Cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, who also did the Coens' two previous films "Blood Simple" and "Raising Arizona," made his directorial debut with "The Addams Family."
Director Sam Raimi makes an appearance in "Miller's Crossing." Joel Coen worked on Raimi's film "Evil Dead."
Frances McDormand, who starred in "Blood Simple," has an unbilled cameo.
Film debut for stage actress Marcia Gay Harden.
Vintage automobiles provided by the New Orleans "A's" Club.
Estimated budget $14 million.
Shot in New Orleans, Louisiana in Panavision. Color by DuArt. Filming began January 27, 1989.
Opening film at the 1990 New York Film Festival. Screened at 1990 London Film Festival.
Released in New York City September 22, 1990 and Los Angeles and Toronto October 5, 1990; wider release October 19, 1990.
Released on video April 4, 1991.
Rated BBFC 18 by the British Board of Film Classification.