The plot is loosely based on the life of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, author of "Crime and Punishment". He had promised to complete a new novel by a certain date, but one month before the deadline he hadn't written anything. After a recommendation, he hired a stenographer named Anna, who helped him complete "The Gambler" in 26 days. The plot of "The Gambler", which is based off of one of the author's own experiences, is about a tutor named Alexei who falls in love with Polina, who toys with him. Dostoyevsky and Anna fell in love during the writing process. They later married and had four children.

The German version of the film replaces the Germans-such-as-Adolf Hitler gag with Russians-such-as-Joseph Stalin.

The bio on the back of Alex's first book reads, "Alex Sheldon has worked for many years in the Boston area. He is currently not married and lives very much alone."

After Alex (Luke Wilson) and Emma (Kate Hudson) ride on a boat, they go out for a walk. A flash is visible as they walk. It was a paparazzo taking a picture.

This movie became well know among fans of comedian Artie Lange after his interview on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast. Lange was describing taking heroin for the very first time in a hotel room. Lange said "when people ask me why is heroin addictive, this is my answer: the movie on the TV was Alex & Emma with Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson, and I never turned it off."

Despite what Emma believes, Ylva actually is a Swedish name. It means "female wolf".