There still is a real Tolstoy family, who live in Yasnaya Polyana in Russia. This film was made with their support and they like the film, although they were surprised that one could laugh about Lev. (If you look closely, you can catch Anastasia Tolstoya, an Oxford graduate, in a short scene at the end of the film.)
During the meal outside, when Sofya Tolstoy stops the gramophone from playing Tolstoy's speech, she plays an excerpt from Act IV of Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro'. The excerpt, which causes Tolstoy to remark "that's better" and cease walking away, is where the Countess forgives the Count for his various misdemeanors during the course of the opera.
Composer Sergei Yevtushenko wrote the entire score after reading the script and before filming had started. Michael Hoffman rejected it on principle but after several months, several composers and other attempts to score the film, he realized that Yevtushenko's score was perfect for the film.
The station at the small German town of Pretzsch stood in for the Russian station of the title at Astapovo. This meant closing the Pretzsch station for two weeks and decorating it with Russian props and signs.