The CEO's name, John Tuld, rhymes with the name of the ex-CEO of the now-defunct investment bank Lehman Brothers, Richard S. Fuld. Lehman Brothers, like the firm in this film, found themselves catastrophically over-leveraged in mortgage-backed-securities in the financial crisis of 2008. They eventually declared bankruptcy, and Richard Fuld was heavily criticized for his involvement in these events.
The Moundsville Bridge mentioned by Stanley Tucci's character (Eric Dale) actually exists. It was completed in 1986 which would have been 22 years before the debt crash of 2008 which is the subject of this movie.
Jeremy Irons's part of John Tuld was originally offered to Ben Kingsley, but due to other projects he couldn't play the role. Billy Crudup and Tim Robbins were also interested in taking parts, but had to refuse due to other obligations.
J.C. Chandor said that he wrote the script for the story he had been carrying around in his head for about a 'year-and-a-half' in just four days, filling time between job interviews in Boulder, Colorado.
Grace Gummer, Meryl Streep's third child and an actress herself, was set to appear in a scene in which she played Zachary Quinto's ex girlfriend. Due to what the director and producer called "poor directorial work" during the shoot, the scene was cut off the film. It can be seen, however, in the "Deleted Scenes" section of the DVD.
While "John Tuld" in the movie is reported to have made $86 million in 2007, Dick Fuld, the real life CEO of Lehman Brothers at the time, and John Thain, the real life CEO of Merrill Lynch, the two people on which the Tuld character was based, made $4 million and $83 million, respectively, as a matter of "public record". And between 2000 and 2007 Fuld accumulated over $529 million.