FILM 1532: TERMS OF ENDEARMENT
TRIVIA: James L. Brooks received a special gift at the end of production, to congratulate him for completing his first movie. This was a book of "Life in Hell" cartoons, drawn by Matt Groening. Brooks was so impressed with the comics that he asked Groening to create cartoon shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show (1987). This gave rise to The Simpsons (1989).
Debra Winger behaved erratically on the set of this film because she was trying to get over a severe cocaine addiction. At one point, she and Shirley MacLaine got into a shoving match.
The character of Garrett Breedlove does not appear in the novel and was written specifically with Burt Reynolds in mind by writer-director James L. Brooks. Reynolds loved the script but was already committed to star in Stroker Ace (1983). Paul Newman and Harrison Ford turned down the role before Jack Nicholson signed on. Nicholson talked with a number of real astronauts while in Houston in preparation.
The role of Emma was originally written for Sissy Spacek.
James L. Brooks settled on Shirley MacLaine to play Aurora because "she was the only one who saw it as a comedy."
Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger were both nominated for 1983's Best Actress Oscar, which went to MacLaine. On her way to the podium, she reportedly whispered to Winger, "Half of this belongs to you," to which Winger reportedly replied, "I'll take half."
James L. Brooks was the fourth director to win an Academy Award for direction on debut. Delbert Mann' was the first for Marty (1955) whilst Jerome Robbins was the second for West Side Story (1961). Others have been Robert Redford for Ordinary People (1980) and Kevin Costner for Dances with Wolves (1990).
CAMEO: Albert Brooks: the voice of Aurora's husband in the opening scene, credited as A Brooks.