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.
In addition to sharing director Gabriele Muccino and star/producer Will Smith, this film and The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) have no less than thirty other cast and crew members in common, many of them in key positions (such as casting, editing, costume design, production design, etc...).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The title of the movie 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 in time. Seven, therefore, is the number of "debts" in the plot. With the exception of Connie, all these "debts" literally get paid in flesh.
Seven is the number of people Ben helps directly: his brother, Holly, George, Connie, young Nicholas, Ezra and Emily. However, the number is actually eight if you count Inez, the old woman Ben orders to be washed. Nevertheless, she wasn't part of Ben's plan and her name was not on his list.