The actors playing Joy Division learned how to play the songs themselves. So the scenes where the band is playing live is not from tape, but actually the actors playing live.
According to Samantha Morton, the director mortgaged his house to raise finance for the film.
The poem being recited before their first gig is "Evidently Chicken Town" by John Cooper Clarke.
Sam Riley (who plays Ian Curtis) and Alexandra Maria Lara (who played his lover Annik Honore) married in August 2008 and now live in Berlin
When Joy Division are about to make their first television appearance they are warned by Tony Wilson that he will cut them off if they swear at any point. He also tells them to trust him as he knows when you can and can't swear on TV. This is probably a nod to years later, when in real life Tony Wilson was suspended from his job at Granada for swearing into a microphone that he didn't realize was on.
The black-and-white film was actually shot in color, then transferred to black and white because, according to the director, the black and white film "was so grainy it looked like Super-8 even in 35 millimeter."
Actor Toby Kebbell, who plays Joy Division's manager Rob Gretton appeared in Dead Man's Shoes (2004) playing Paddy Considine's younger brother. Interestingly Paddy Considine himself also played Rob Gretton in Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People (2002), which focused more on the biography of Tony Wilson and the Manchester music movement, and also partially featured a condensed time line for singer Ian Curtis' life.
After the exhausting filming of Das Boot (1981) German pop star Herbert Grönemeyer swore he'd never act in a movie again. He made an exception for his good friend Anton Corbijn and appeared in this movie, though.
The scene showing Tony Wilson talking to Ian Curtis in the empty Derby Hall in Bury after the April 1980 riot features a large equipment case on which the number "501" prominently appears. When Tony Wilson was buried in August, 2007, his coffin was marked with the number 501, the last number in the Factory Records catalog.
The script for the film was written to be told in flashback. This was later changed by the director because he felt it was more emotional to follow Ian's journey linearly.
James Anthony Pearson, who plays Bernard Sumner, learned to play guitar in two months for his role in the film.
The introduction that Tony Wilson gives the band as they're about to perform on Granada television is almost word for word taken from the actual broadcast. The song they play in the film is "Transmission", when in actuality they performed "Shadowplay" on Granada. They did perform "Transmission" live on TV but it was on the BBC without an introduction by Wilson, but instead a toned-down version of the poem used to introduce them at a gig in the film.
Samantha Moreton (Deborah Curtis) and Matthew McNulty (nick) both had roles in dramas about the moors murders, Samantha Moreton played Myra Hindley in Longford (2006) and Matthew McNulty played David Smith in See No Evil: The Moors Murders 2006.