Acting for Two: Winona Ryder plays both Elisabeta and Mina. More subtly and symbolically, the priest who informs Vlad of Elisabeta's damnation is played by Anthony Hopkins, who turns up later as Van Helsing. Gary Oldman also played the coach driver who takes Jonathan to the castle. This is likely a reference to the book, where Jonathan suspects that Dracula drove the coach too.
Actor-Inspired Element: Dracula was just supposed to appear as himself when he's caught with Mina. Gary Oldman felt that he wouldn't be intimidating enough, and so the bat costume was created. Funnily enough, he still didn't find himself scary in that at first (see below).
Adaptational Context Change: Dracula's biting Lucy and Mina in the original book parallels rape on account of Victorian London's fears about "swarthy decadent foreigners who want to steal our women". Here in the film, the attacks are far more seductive, and the scenes come across as Lucy and Mina giving into their forbidden desires.
Dawson Casting: Lucy claims to be nineteen and is played by Sadie Frost at age twenty-seven.
Deleted Scene: A scene was filmed showing Renfield dying in his cell after Dracula seduces Mina and included on the DVD. His fate is left open in the finished film.
Doing It for the Art: Francis Ford Coppola decided that he wanted all the effects shots in the film to be done in-camera with nothing added in post-production. He and his son Roman worked hard to come up with concepts that used old-fashioned camera trickery that dates back to the early days of film (matte boxes, double exposures, reversed shots, tilted cameras, etc.). They even shot some scenes with an old hand-cranked Pathe camera in order to achieve an uneven stuttering look that was difficult to recreate with then-modern film cameras.
Sadie Frost - a brunette - dyed her hair red to play Lucy because producers felt she resembled Winona Ryder too much. Sadie actually didn't even bother auditioning for Lucy purely for this reason, but was approached after Francis Ford Coppola saw her in Diamond Skulls.
Gary Oldman also shaved the front of his hairline to accommodate the make-up process.
Gary Oldman struggled to find himself scary in the giant batsuit, so Coppola said to whisper something scary into each actor's ear. No one knows what he said - but they all look terrified.
Oldman was also drunk when they filmed the part where Dracula licks the blood off Jonathan's razor. They also waited until after midnight to shoot it, putting the cast in "the proper mood".
Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes and Bill Campbell were all sent on various team building exercises to build up a believable on-screen camaraderie.
For the scenes where Lucy is writhing around on her bed in ecstasy, Gary Oldman was also off camera whispering seductive things to Sadie Frost. She later joked that the things he said were "very unrepeatable".
When Mina is caught drinking Dracula's blood, Coppola was shouting "slut!" and "whore!" at her off camera to make her look guilty and ashamed.
Subverted in the scene where vampire!Lucy brings a little girl into her crypt. The child actress was terrified at the sight of Sadie Frost in the make-up, so Sadie broke character and did a lot of sweet-talking to get her to finish the scene.
Edited for Syndication: Along with trims for violence and nudity, all of Renfield's scenes were cut when Fox aired the movie in The '90s, presumably for time.
Roughly twenty-five minutes of footage are said to have been cut because test audiences found the movie too gory.
Fake Brit: Americans Winona Ryder and Tom Waits as Mina and Renfield respectively, and Canadian Keanu Reeves as Jonathan. Waits does a near-flawless accent, Ryder's is decent enough and Reeves is not at all believable.
Fake Nationality: The Romanian Dracula is played by the British Gary Oldman. The Welsh Anthony Hopkins also plays the Dutch Van Helsing. Dracula's brides do not have their nationalities stated but only one of them - Florina Kendrick - is Romanian.
Font Anachronism: We see a ticker tape typing out the message sent to Van Helsing from Dr. Seward. The type appears to be OCR (optical character reader) font which was not created until 1968. Keep in mind that the movie takes place in 1897. That's a 71 year difference.
Hostility on the Set: Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder didn't get along well at all during filming. The rest of the cast was shocked because the two had been friendly during rehearsals, then came back from a break in the schedule seemingly hating each other, with no indication given (then or later) as to what had happened.
Meaningful Release Date: This film was released to coincide with the 95th anniversary of the release of the novel, and with the 80th anniversary of the death of Bram Stoker.
Old Shame: Keanu Reeves said years after the movie came out that he wasn't happy with his work in it, stating he had been exhausted from making several films right on the heels of signing on as Jonathan Harker, and that he tried to raise his energy for the role "but I just didn't have anything left to give".
The project was originally going to be a Made-for-TV Movie, directed by Michael Apted. Winona Ryder saw the script and brought it to the attention of Francis Ford Coppola. Keen to work with her again after she fell ill and had to drop out of The Godfather Part III, Coppola decided to direct the movie as a feature. Michael Apted stayed on as producer.
An early idea was to have simple, impressionistic sets using only light and shadows - with minimal props. The studio vetoed this idea, and insisted on proper sets being built. This is also why the costumes became so elaborate - the sets were going to be plain to allow them to stand out.
The battle scene in the prologue was originally intended to be performed with shadow puppets instead of actors. The idea was used later in the film when we see, in the cinema house, a shadow puppet battle similar to the prologue battle.