Steve McQueen walked out demanding rewrites and John Sturges considered writing the character out of the story altogether but United Artists informed him they considered McQueen indispensable to the picture's success and financed a new writer to accommodate his demands. This led to a diminished role for Big X, who was supposed to be the main protagonist.
The most notable of McQueen's demands was for Hilts to have a scene on a motorcycle, which ended up being one of the most iconic moments of the film.
Early on in the production Sturges began receiving memos from United Artists requesting female roles and a Ms. Fanservice scheme was proposed. Sturges would have none of it.