Co-written by Oscar award-winning writer Tom Stoppard ("Shakespeare in Love") who is also a famed playwright ("Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead").
Among the actresses considered for the role of Jill were: Ellen Barkin, Madonna, Rebecca De Mornay, Kelly McGillis, Jamie Lee Curtis, Joanna Pacula, Rae Dawn Chong, and Rosanna Arquette. Gilliam reportedly preferred Barkin.
Robert De Niro wanted to play the role of the torturer, Jack, but this role had been promised to fellow Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin. De Niro was subsequently cast as Harry.
When the part of Sam was written, it was written especially for Jonathan Pryce who at his time was in his late 20's or early 30's. However, by the time the film was actually made Pryce was approaching 40 and the part was, therefore, "reworked".
Sometimes, there will be several versions
of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may
release a special cut of the movie.
One of the most documented studio vs. director feuds took place over the ending of this film with Gilliam pushing for the darker ending that you usually see today. Universal chairman Sid Sheinberg wanted to eliminate the cynical ending and created his own cut of the film, which has also been shown on several accounts. After threatening to disown the project, Gilliam was given his way. The dispute was documented in the book and subsequent documentary "the Battle for Brazil", and Criterion versions of the film include the Sheinberg "Love Conquers All" edition. Sid Sheinberg was appropriately credited in the film as "worst boy". (Personal note: The darker ending is considerably more appropriate and overall better, check out the "L.C.A." edition only for amusement.)