The movie is based on a play written by Johan Heldenbergh, who also played the lead role as Didier. During the casting for the movie, the original actress playing Elise was replaced by Veerle Baetens, which was Felix van Groeningen's decision.
The song "If I needed you" performed by Johan Heldenbergh and Veerle Baetens was originally written by Townes Van Zandt in 1972 and 9 years later covered by American country music artists Emmylou Harris and Don Williams as a duet.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
'Sandmountain' is the name of the song Didier and the band play for Elise as she dies at the end of the film. Sand Mountain is a sandstone plateau in the state of Alabama. That could be Didier's way of acknowledging Elise's changing her name to Alabama, which was a source of tension between the two earlier in the film.
In an interview with Beverly Cohn, writer and actor Johan Heldenbergh stated that the original point of the departure for writing the play, which was adapted into the movie, was a political statement about religion and politics, and Maybelle's story was directly linked to George W. Bush vetoing stem cell research.
When Elise and Didier fight after she reveals her accidental pregnancy, Didier says he doesn't want the responsibility of making decisions for another person's life, foreshadowing what he does at the end of the film when he has to make the choice to take Elise off life support.