Charlize Theron had eight personal trainers to help her master her intensely physical performance. She also trained with Keanu Reeves who was preparing for John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017).
Before filming resumed, James McAvoy broke his hand on the set of Split (2016) and had to endure all his action scenes with his injured hand.
The key fight sequence that unfolds in a real Berlin building lasts for almost 10 minutes in what appears to be an unbroken take when, in fact, the sequence comprises almost 40 separate shots seamlessly stitched together. Though filmed chronologically from start to finish, nearly half the splices needed some degree of CGI assistance. Swish-pans provided the simplest solutions for smooth cuts and door frames provided vertical seams for smoothly bridging some segments.
The movie is based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart's 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City, which revolves around a spy who has to find a list of double agents who are being smuggled into the West.
The pivotal fight on the marble stairs presented one of the most challenging sequences to film. Charlize Theron was actually slammed against a (padded) wall but her tumble down the stairs (also padded to look like marble) was executed by Canadian stunt woman Monique Ganderton.
Charlize Theron said that the success of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) helped guide the development of Atomic Blonde (2017).
David Leitch's first solo credit as director, after co-directing John Wick (2014) with Chad Stahelski.
One character makes a brief, jaundiced reference to David Hasselhoff being in town. Hasselhoff was indeed a minor figure in German pop culture during the period surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall. In a March 2013 piece in London's The Guardian, Emma Hartley reported that his song "Looking for Freedom" was number one on the German charts for eight weeks in the summer of 1989 (several months before the wall fell in November 1989); and on New Year's Eve that year, Hasselhoff performed a concert atop what was then left of the wall.
Carl F. Bucherer's watch is featured prominently in the movie. The director, David Leitch, is a brand ambassador for the watch company. The watch brand is also worn by the title character in John Wick (2014), a movie that was co-directed by Leitch.
In the early part of the movie, where Charlize Theron is on a car and tries to beat the two escorts, the tunnel sequence in Berlin was the same tunnel used in Captain America: Civil War (2016), the part where Black Panther chases down Bucky Barnes. It is also the same tunnel used in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015) when Katniss Everdeen and her team try to get to President Snow.
Before the final fight, a Russian song is playing, "Capricious Horses" by Vladimir Vysotsky, with the words "No one is late for their meeting with God".
It took 45 minutes to film Charlize Theron's sex scene with Sofia Boutella. Theron found the scene easy and attributed this fact to them both being dancers.
Use of the Wilhelm scream during the apartment fight as Lorraine is jumping out of the window.
In both this film and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Toby Jones plays a senior British intelligence officer in the Cold War, and most of his screen time is spent seated at a table in a soundproof briefing room.
This is the second film to feature Til Schweiger and play the song "Cat People" by David Bowie. The first was Inglourious Basterds (2009). Both films play "Cat People" while a woman looks in the mirror and applies makeup. Both films are about fictional military plots circling around actual historical events.
Although based on a graphic novel, it shares notable similarities to Ed Brubaker's Image Comics series Velvet. Both are Cold War spy thrillers centered around veteran female agents wronged by their employer. Both works feature the protagonist entangled with an international coalition of American and British intelligence, although Velvet never mentions MI6 or the CIA by name.
This is Sofia Boutella's second time in a spy film. She also appeared in Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014).
Although set in 1989, the only preexisting song on the soundtrack that was released that year is "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy. All other songs were released before that year.
Despite the title and the 80's setting, the song "Atomic" by 'Blondie' does not appear in the soundtrack.
James McAvoy and Toby Jones starred in at least two Marvel movies. McAvoy was Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise, and Jones was Arnim Zola in two Captain America films.