The movie was shot largely at Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia, with no outdoor filming at all.
Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor do their own singing throughout the film.
Various tricks were used to make John Leguizamo's (Toulouse-Lautrec) legs appear shorter. Some shots are of his stand-in who was of the correct height, while in others he walked on his knees in special leg braces and wearing blue socks so that his lower legs could be digitally removed.
Filming was halted for two weeks in November 1999 after Nicole Kidman fractured two ribs and injured her knee while rehearsing a dance routine for the film. Many of the scenes where she is seen only from the chest up were shot while she was in a wheelchair.
The necklace worn by Nicole Kidman was made of real diamonds and platinum and was the most expensive piece of jewelry ever specifically made for a film. The Stefano Canturi necklace was made with 1,308 diamonds, weighing a total of 134 carats, and was worth an estimated US$1 million.
The wardrobe department created three hundred costumes and, at one point, eighty people were employed for this task.
The stage for 'Spectacular Spectacular' was especially reinforced to hold the weight of a galloping horse for a scene where the evil Maharajah rides across the stage. The scene was abandoned but the white horse still appears fleetingly in one shot.
The large red 'L'amour' sign seen on Christian's building was part of the set of Baz Luhrmann's production of La Boheme for the Australian Opera. It also appeared in Romeo + Juliet (1996).
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