The film enabled Will Smith to tackle a subject which has always fascinated him from a different perspective: how do men overcome their traumas? How do they continue to live when everything is going wrong?
Director Gabriele Muccino was attracted to the story because it tells of a mysterious personal journey that is, in fact, a true declaration of love. He feels it tells the story of a man consumed by remorse and the pain of having lost a loved one, who finds himself face-to-face with the one thing he expected the least, the opportunity to start again, to live a new life, and that the story is thought-provoking, bold, touching and full of emotion. As such he believes only Will Smith could have been capable of giving the film so much strength.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The title is a reference to William Shakespeare's play "The Merchant of Venice", in which the merchant, Antonio, agrees to give the moneylender, Shylock, a pound of his flesh if his debt is not paid on time. Seven is the number of "debts" in the plot. With the exception of Connie, all of the "debts" are literally paid in flesh.
Ben helps seven people directly: Tim, Holly, George, Connie, young Nicholas, Ezra and Emily. If you count Inez, the old woman Ben orders to be washed, he helps with people. She wasn't part of Ben's plan, and her name was not on his list.