While she was eager to work with director Chan-wook Park, Nicole Kidman originally turned down her part because she wished to spend time with her kids and husband. However, director Park was so eager to have her play the part of Evelyn that he chose to place the setting in Nashville, near her residence. The house used in the film is placed five minutes from Kidman's home, which allowed her to begin filming just a week after she wrapped The Paperboy (2012).
Matthew Goode's boyhood crush was his co-star in this film, Nicole Kidman: "I had this vision of myself when I was 7 years old watching Nicole when she was, like, 14 or 15 in BMX Bandits, one of her earliest films. And I was like, "If you told that 7-year-old that he would be locking lips with that actress on the screen, he would never have believed it."
Chan-wook Park appreciated Mia Wasikowska's former ballet training, as it ensured she slotted perfectly into the cool, linear imagery of the film: "Mia's posture: her stillness and her straightness speaks to the personality of a character who likes everything ordered around her."
Jodie Foster was originally cast as the lead character but dropped out and was replaced by Nicole Kidman. In Panic Room (2002), Nicole Kidman was originally cast as the lead character, but had to drop out and was replaced by Jodie Foster.
American composer Philip Glass had been hired to score the film and was replaced by Clint Mansell, an English composer and former lead singer for Pop Will Eat Itself. Glass' composition, "Duet," remains on the soundtrack and serves as the backdrop for an integral scene in Stoker.
At their first meeting to discuss her role in this film, director Chan-wook Park gave Mia Wasikowska a copy of John Everett Millais's 1851 picture The Bridesmaid: a lurid triangle of golden curls gushing from her face, dark eyes upturned with loaded expectation. He also gave her a stone statue of a jaguar: "to signify the predator motif he wanted to bring to the film".
Large stone pieces decorates Evie's moody room. They were originally part of a Louis Sullivan-designed building in Chicago, but found by the production at a Nashville antique store and used in the film since they looked like tombstones.
Kidman's performance as Evie was included on TribecaFilm.com as one of the year's most underrated performances. The author claimed "Kidman exploits Evelyn's fragility with her every glance and gesture. Kidman as Evelyn radiates a strange kind of unnerving elegance."
Initially, India was to wear shoes with leopard print, in order to be representative of a predator. The production was unable to find such a pair and considered snake print, before they discovered crocodile Louboutins.
Charlie's sunglasses are also worn by two other characters in the film - India and Charlie's brother Richard. Finding sunglasses that suited the faces of three different actors presented a challenge to the costume designers, who did fittings with 60 different pairs before finally settling on one.