In the original script, Willem Dafoe's character Bobby was meant to have a brother who helped out at the hotel. However, as filming progressed, the parent-child relationship theme manifested itself more clearly, and the decision was made for him instead to have a son. Caleb Landry Jones was cast only two weeks prior to shooting his scenes.
In a 2017 BBC radio interview, the director clarified that the film's garish motel settings are genuine motels. They continued operating as working businesses during filming, and some real-life residents and staff are seen in the film.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
While the majority of the film was shot on 35mm film, director Sean Baker admitted to returning to his "guerrilla filmmaking techniques" to capture the final scene, which was instead shot on an iPhone and contains footage from inside Walt Disney World, filmed without the park's knowledge or consent.