Although rare in Hollywood, Carl Ellsworth (first time feature writer) was the only screenwriter to work on this script. He claims he kept expecting to be replaced at any moment but was kept on until the film was finished shooting.
The entire airplane set was build on hydraulics so when turbulence was called for in the script, the set actually shook from side to side.
Both Wes Craven and Carl Ellsworth filmed cameos as airline passengers in the airport terminal. Wes Craven couldn't keep a straight face with his script supervisor Sheila, so their cameo wound up on the cutting room floor. Ellsworth's cameo remains in the final cut: three women are sleeping on the terminal seats and they all have their heads resting on the next ones shoulders, until the last one is sleeping on a man's shoulder; this is Carl Ellsworth wearing a green sweatshirt promoting the band Outkast.
Wes Craven got married in the middle of shooting.
For the movie, fake airline tickets were printed up for passengers to carry and use. On the back was listed 12 "terms and conditions" for buying the ticket, just like on real airline tickets. However, the twelfth read: "All the provisions of this Passenger Ticket and Baggage Claim Check are completely bogus. It's all a bunch of excessive detail, and if you happen to be reading this you've got too much time on your hands. Bring a good book next time."
The pen used in this movie has a monster on the end of it. In the original script, it was a pen with Bart Simpson on it, but since they couldn't get the rights to use it, they had to settle with the monster.
Dreamworks marketing head Terry Press makes a cameo appearance as the irate hotel guest.
In the Audio Commentary, Wes Craven mentions the many cameos that members from the crew can be seen throughout the movie, including writer Carl Ellsworth as a passenger in the terminal, Dreamworks marketing head Terry Press as the irate hotel guest, producer Marianne Maddalena as a passenger in First-class, and production-manager Tina Anderson as Rebecca's mother. Craven also mentions that assistant property master Skip Crank, first assistant director Mark Cotone, and producer Jim Lemley make an appearance as the men on the fishing boat.
Carl Ellsworth worked with his college friend Dan Foos on the story for many years before they sold the script.
When the "fishing" crew pull in the crate with the missile into the ship, they are speaking Russian.
Cillian Murphy wanted the role of Jackson so badly that he took a plane from England to Hollywood two days before his wedding to have lunch with Wes Craven. Craven later gave him the part saying that his eyes won him over.
In the scene in the plane bathroom, Cillian Murphy actually missed the place to throw Rachel McAdams. She hit her head and was knocked unconscious for a half hour. After that she was ready for work and Murphy was afraid to do it again. This was captured on film and is included in the gag reel on the DVD. In the take that's in the film Murphy's hand can be seen holding the back of McAdams' head to guard it from it hitting again.
The framed photograph of a younger Lisa playing sports (in the first scene, when the father puts his wallet down next to it) is actually a still from Mean Girls (2004), the movie in which Rachel McAdams starred with Lindsay Lohan.
Originally allotted $44 million, the movie's budget was later cut back to $25 million.
When a woman spills an iced cappuccino on Lisa, the expression on Rachel McAdams's face is real surprise, not acted. She did not know that the beverage would be so cold.
This is the second movie that Rachel McAdams has starred in that references a man named Duke. Previously in The Notebook (2004), her character's husband in old age is nicknamed Duke. In this movie, she tells Jackson that her grandmother had a boyfriend named Duke.
This film was written for Sean Penn and Robin Wright. However, Wes Craven opted for younger leads.
During the scene where Lisa runs over the Beemer assassin, at the moment the Jeep impacts the doorway and the assassin is launched through the door, the assassin (or a voice dubbed in later) says "America!"
As mentioned by Wes Craven in the "making of", the lady that plays the irate customer in the beginning and end of the film was cast after Craven met her at a board meeting. He had a feeling that she would make an excellent irate customer from her persona, walked up to her after the meeting, and asked her to be in his movie. She eventually agreed.
Following special advance screenings of the movie in Los Angeles and New York, audiences were given replica copies of the monster pen used in the movie as memorabilia. Attached to the souvenir was a tag that read: "Red Eye, in theatres August 19th." On the back read: "Don't take the red eye without this... www.redeye-themovie.com."
Actresses that were considered for the role of Lisa included, Neve Campbell, Amanda Peet, Rachel Weisz, Robin Wright, Jennifer Connelly and Claire Danes.
Actors that were considered (and rumored) for the antagonist role of Jackson included, John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Bacon, Willem Dafoe, Michael Pitt, John Malkovich, Edward Norton and Ray Liotta.