# Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening were both the first choices of Sam Mendes for the roles of Lester and Carolyn although the role of Lester Burnham was originally offered to Chevy Chase and Tom Hanks (who later starred in Mendes's follow-up project Road to Perdition (2002)).
# Jeff Daniels was also considered for the role of Lester Burnham.
# The role of Angela Hayes was offered to Kirsten Dunst, who turned it down.
# Thora Birch was only 17, so filming her brief nude scene required permission from her parents, who were both on the set during the filming along with child labor representatives.
# The self-help tapes that Carolyn listens to are made by a "Dr. Alan Ball." Alan Ball is the film's screenwriter.
# The tagline and important theme of the film - "Look closer" - can be seen in Lester's cubicle at work. It was simply something a set dresser had put in, and director Sam Mendes noticed it while editing and suggested it be used for the poster.
# The title of the film refers to a breed of roses.
# Director Cameo: [Sam Mendes] Near the end of the film, when Ricky opens the kitchen door to discover Lester, the hand opening the door (to reveal the blood on the table) is that of director Sam Mendes.
# Director Trademark: [Sam Mendes] Water marks the event of a death
# The helicopter shot at the beginning of the movie was originally for a flying sequence where Lester floats over the houses and then down onto his bed.
# The original script was topped and tailed with scenes of Ricky and Jane in jail and on trial, and other events surrounding their arrest.
# In the original version of the script, there was a seperate story that included Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper) having a gay lover who dies in Vietnam.
# Sam Mendes designed the two girls' look to change over the course of the film, with Thora Birch gradually using less makeup and Mena Suvari gradually using more, to emphasize his view of their shifting perceptions of themselves.
# After the film was complete, director Sam Mendes and editor Tariq Anwar decided to scrap a short fantasy opening and the lengthy epilogue in which Jane and Ricky are tried for Lester's murder, choosing instead to increase the three teens' screen time throughout the film; many of the cast and crew were caught completely by surprise when they saw the finished film.
# Kevin Spacey was only supposed to dump the asparagus on the floor; when he instead threw the plate at the wall, everyone was caught off guard, and a replacement for a broken vase had to be quickly scrounged up.
# In the script, Lester was supposed to go ahead and have sex with Angela, but it was decided that it would be better to have him stop just short of doing so - in spite of the filmmakers' concerns that they might be making the change out of uneasiness with having the main character actually go that far.
# Another version of the script involved Ricky and Jane being arrested and convicted for the murder of Lester. The main evidence is the video Ricky made of Jane offering him $3,000 to kill her father, which we, the viewers, find out was a joke immediately after Ricki turns off the camera, one second too late for the defense. It also involves Mrs. Fitts finding her husband's bloody clothes, and hiding them immediately after.
# Kevin Spacey improvised everything he does in the car while he's stoned and singing to "American Woman".
# The hand and stomach on the film's poster do not belong to Mena Suvari, but are in fact those of actress/model Chloe Hunter.
More information, photos, trivia, and goofs from the film can be found at IMDB's American Beauty page