Like Woody Allen's later film Blue Jasmine (2013), this film takes several cues from Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire". Marietta, a Southern woman visiting the big city, echoes Blanche DuBois in several ways, including being horrified at Melodie's apartment and being coy about her drinking. At least one of her lines ("You are not the gentleman I was expecting") is a direct homage to "A Streetcar Named Desire".
The role of Boris Yelnikoff was original written for Zero Mostel. After Mostel's death in 1977, Woody Allen set the screenplay aside. However, with a potential actor's strike during 2008-9, Allen chose this old screenplay to be his next film. Furthermore, Mostel and Larry David both played the role of Max Bialistock: Mostel in The Producers (1967) and David in the play within a show representing the main story arc from Season 4 of Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000).
Larry David was the co-creator and show runner for Seinfeld (1989 - 1998), a show famous for it's frequent references to Superman and his supporting cast. Henry Cavill, who plays his rival Randy, would later go on to play Superman in the DC Extended Universe, starting with Man Of Steel (2013).