Julia Roberts invited her friend Garry Marshall to direct the film, but Marshall declined because he was unwilling to travel outside America to the locations where the film takes place. However, during the meet Marshall offered Roberts a role in Valentine's Day (2010) (on which he was working), which she accepted. This, in turn, allowed Ryan Murphy to step in as director.
Rome's two professional soccer teams, SS Lazio and AS Roma, are fierce rivals. In Elizabeth Gilbert's original novel, Mr Spaghetti was an SS Lazio fan. The filmmakers made him an AS Roma fan, enraging local SS Lazio fans.
In July 2016, the real Elizabeth Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts in the movie) announced the end of her marriage to José Nunes (the man called "Felipe" in her book and its movie adaptation and played by Javier Bardem in the movie). Then, in September 2016, Gilbert further revealed (in a Facebook post) that the reason for that marriage's breakup was that she had fallen in love with her best friend of 15 years, Rayya Elias--something Gilbert only realized after Elias was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic and liver cancers. About Elias, Gilbert wrote: "She's my best friend, yes, but it's always been bigger than that. She's my role model, my traveling companion, my most reliable source of light, my fortitude, my most trusted confidante. In short, she is my PERSON....something happened to my heart and mind in the days and weeks following Rayya's diagnosis. Death-or the prospect of death-has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth. The thought of someday sitting in a hospital room with her, holding her hand and watching her slide away, without ever having let her (or myself!) know the extent of my true feelings for her...well, that thought was unthinkable. Here is the thing about truth: Once you see it, you cannot un-see it. So that truth, once it came to my heart's attention, could not be ignored....For those of you who are doing the math here, and who are wondering if this situation is why my marriage came to an end this spring, the simple answer is yes. ... So. Here is where we stand now: Rayya and I are together. I love her, and she loves me. I'm walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend, but as her partner. I am exactly where I need to be-the only place I can be." Rayya Elias died in January 2018.
A casting associate saw Joe Lipari do a set about teaching yoga at Gotham Comedy Club and asked if he'd be interested in being involved in the movie's yoga scenes. The scenes were cut from the final film.
Richard Jenkins claimed that the real 'Richard' did not have a thick accent, but Jenkins figured it would be distracting for the audience if a character named 'Richard from Texas' didn't speak in a Texas accent.
The opera playing in the background at the pizzeria isn't an Italian opera, but rather Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen from "Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, an Austrian.