Ang Lee said that directing the explicit sex scenes in this film was more difficult than directing the complicated fighting scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
Director Ang Lee made Tony Chiu-Wai Leung study the performances of Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris (1972), Humphrey Bogart in In a Lonely Place (1950) and Richard Burton in Equus (1977), to give him a sense of wounded masculinity, which Lee felt was right for the character of Mr. Yee.
The rather explicit sex scenes were shot over eleven days on a closed set, with only the main camera and sound personnel present.
The Taiwanese Government Information Office (GIO) awarded the Taiwan-born director Ang Lee and his Haishang Films company each with NT$10 million (US$303,000) on September 25, 2007. This was for Lee's winning of the Golden Lion top prize at the 2007 Venice Festival. Lee donated the money to help junior directors and artists to make more outstanding films.
Lust, Caution (2007) was submitted as Taiwan's entry to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008), but it was rejected on October 17, 2007 by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences because many of the film's personnel were not Taiwanese. Taiwan then substituted Huai-En Chen's Island Etude (2006).
Eileen Chang first began writing the story in the 1950s. After being heavily revised by the author, it was eventually published in 1979.
The song Wang Jiazhi sings to Mr Yee is entitled "A Singing Girl at the Edge of the World," and it was the theme song of a popular film, Street Angel (1937), or "Malu Tianshi," released four years before the events in this film take place. The song is still considered an evergreen standard in Chinese pop music and has been covered by many other artists since.
Zhi-Ying Zhu, who played Lai Shu Jin, was the runner-up for the role of Wong Chia Chi / Mak Tai Tai, later taken by Wei Tang.