Despite widely published reports that Angelina Jolie was originally cast as the lead, but dropped out, Luc Besson has since denied them and admitted that he only met with a couple of actresses to discuss playing the lead role. He says when he saw how strongly Scarlett Johansson reacted to the story, she immediately landed the part.
In an interview on March 8, 2014, (evening news on France 2), Luc Besson said that this project took ten years to become a reality. Also, he admitted that he knew that some scientific assumptions were erroneous, e.g. that humans use only ten percent of their brains. Nonetheless, he said that "(such an assumption) would be a great start for a sci-fi movie".
The human-looking ape seen in some scenes is Australopithecus afarensis, who represents the "missing link" between apes and humans, nicknamed "Lucy" after John Lennon's song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." She lived 3.2 million years ago and is the earliest known hominid to walk upright like humans.
Luc Besson once called this film as "one part Léon: The Professional (1994), one part Inception (2010) and one part 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)". Many shots in the film were mirrored after these three films.
Although the scenes in Asia take place in Taiwan, Mr. Jang and his henchmen speak Korean.
When Lucy is in Times Square, over her right shoulder is a billboard for The Family (2013), the prior Luc Besson film.
In 2014, Lucy was the most successful French movie outside of France for the past twenty years, when UniFrance started creating statistics about French movies. With 463 million dollars, 52.1 million admissions outside of France, and 5.2 million admissions in France, Lucy was more successful than Taken 2 (2012), The Fifth Element (1997), and The Intouchables (2011).
A young tattoo artist is seen sporting a Mexican Lady of Guadalupe/Holy Death tattoo on her back. This mystery girl is also seen being tattooed in the movie 3 Days to Kill (2014). Both films were written by Luc Besson. The tattooed model is not credited in any of the films.
The idea that humans only use 10% of their brains is a widely-circulated myth that has been debunked by neurological science many times over. (Humans typically use about 10% of their brains at a time.)
During the car chase to the outdoor market, an old man reads a newspaper with an ad for Pacific Rim (2013) on the top of the front page.
In 1974, Donald C. Johanson discovered a 3.2 million year old skeleton in Ethiopia. He called it Australopithecus Afarensis, later nicknamed "Lucy". In the movie, the lead character Lucy is played by Scarlett Johansson. (Despite the similarities of their surnames, the two are not related.)