The corporation, Tamerlane, refers to Timur, known in the West as Tamerlane. Timur conquered a great deal of central and western Asia in the 14th Century and founded the Timurid Empire and Timurid dynasty.
The An-12B airplane shown at the beginning and end of the movie is owned and operated by Bright Aviation Services, based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Along with some other Bulgarian freight carriers, they are banned from operating in Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and the European Union countries because of their safety record.
The "German Businessman" and his associates that Hauser (John Cusack) kills in the beginning of the movie speak a mixture of gibberish and Bulgarian. The kids he encounters in Fallaf also speak Bulgarian.
Srdjan Dragojevic was initially attached to direct this movie. He did an extensive re-write with his Serbian writing partner Dimitrije Vojnov. When Dragojevic left the project, this draft of the screenplay was scrapped. The only piece that remained is the imaginary Democracy cigarettes brand that had already appeared in The Wounds (1998).
This is the second time Marisa Tomei played a character whose first name is Natalie. The first time was in In the Bedroom (2001). This is also the second time she played a reporter in a movie. The first time was in The Paper (1994).