After playing Dame Emma Thompson's sister in this movie, Helena Bonham Carter played the love interest of Thompson's husband, Sir Kenneth Branagh, in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994). It is rumored that Carter was one of the main reasons for the subsequent Branagh and Thompson divorce. The next woman to play Thompson's sister on film (Kate Winslet in Sense and Sensibility (1995)) also followed that role by playing Branagh's love interest in Hamlet (1996).
The country house used as the location for Howards End is over twice as large as seen from the front and partial side views used in this movie. It is H-shaped with a large back portion, into which its owners moved during filming, while the front portion was emptied and refinished. (The landscaping was also redone, with flowers and plants truer to the story's period.) The house is owned by friends of Production Designer Luciana Arrighi, and it occurred to her it would make a good stand-in for Howards End, while she was a houseguest there.
Jemma Redgrave (Evie Wicox) played the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave (Ruth Wilcox). In real-life, she is her niece. This is the only time they have shared the screen, although Jemma appeared with her aunt Vanessa on stage in Chekhov's Three Sisters in 1990. The third sister was played by Vanessa's sister, and Jemma's aunt, Lynn Redgrave.
Sir Anthony Hopkins was the first actor cast for this movie. In an interview with the producers on the Merchant Ivory Collection DVD, Director James Ivory says that he passed a copy of the script to Hopkins via his friend, a Sound Editor on The Silence of the Lambs (1991), "Thereby bypassing all of the agents all over the place." Hopkins read the script, and told Ivory he was very interested in taking the role.
This was the first Merchant-Ivory movie, and only the second movie (A Room with a View (1985) coming afterward), that the Criterion Collection put out on Blu-ray, after having released their movies on DVD. A legal spat between the two companies caused them to pull their catalogue titles from Criterion, leaving this movie to go out of print. Cohen Media now owns the rights to the catalogue.
Ismail Merchant had to pay two hundred fifty thousand dollars (for the rights to the novel) to the trustees of Forster's estate, King's College, Cambridge, England. Merchant considered this an exorbitant sum, but he had to match a Hollywood offer that the college was also considering at the time.
Dame Emma Thompson's Best Actress Oscar winning performance and Vanessa Redgrave's Best Actress in a Supporting Role nominated turn were the only female performances nominated in the acting categories in Best Picture nominees that year.