Before Jake Gyllenhaal was cast in the leading role, both Orlando Bloom and Zac Efron were rumored for the part.
In February 2008, Iranian star Golshifteh Farahani was invited to do a screen test in London along with Gemma Arterton for the role of Tamina but she was arrested at the airport by the Iranian authorities & banned from leaving the country for six months because she had played in Ridley Scott's Body of Lies (2008)
Screenwriter Robin Morningstar approached the property owner Jordan Mechner with a script based on the original 1989 game of the franchise, the aim being working as a team to get a film made. He and his materials were abruptly exorcised before Disney bought the film rights to the series. The Disney film focuses on the much-later "Sands Of Time" story arc, whilst the game canon seemingly reboots well clear of its origins with a new game titled simply "Prince Of Persia". Robin Morningstar's script, much like the original 1989 canon, is out in the cold. (This was referred to briefly during interview in Retro Gamer Magazine Issue 51.)
Dastan, the name of the Prince in "Prince of Persia", means "Story" in Persian.
Rey-Phillip Santos was replaced by actor Toby Kebbell due to a motorcycle accident on location.
Also in 2010, Gemma Arterton, portrayed Io in Clash of the Titans (2010). In Greek mythology, Io is the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother of Perses (the son Perseus and Andromeda) who is an ancestor of the emperors of Persia, and from whose name "Persia" is derived.
The characters often mention "God" or "the Creator" in a monotheistic fashion, which are not references to Judaism or Christianity (as most Western audiences are accustomed), but in fact to Zoroastrianism, the religion practiced by Persians until Islam (Allah) became popular. Zoroastrianism, however, does not have a concrete concept of "Hell," despite "Hell" being mentioned by Nizam. Tamina, of course, worships an unnamed polytheistic set of gods, which are briefly presented in juxtaposition to Dastan's beliefs.
At the first UK screening at the Disney Roadshow, Director Mike Newell stated that, as he has known Jake Gyllenhaal since Jake was 7 years old, he always wanted Jake for the part. He went on to say that he selected Gemma Arterton because of "how very old seeing the back of her beautiful neck" made him feel.
It is stated that the handle of the dagger holds one minute's worth of the Sands of Time. The first time Dastan presses the jewel, he rewinds time by 32 seconds. The second time he presses it, he rewinds 23 seconds. This makes up 55 seconds, or almost the full minute of sand. After it's refilled, it's used twice again. Dastan uses it to rewind 16 seconds of time, and Tus uses it to rewind 44 seconds of time, using up exactly 60 seconds of sand. This reflects the actual time of the actions being undone from the moment of bodily repossession to the moment the jewel is pressed, as the time during which the user is in his out-of-body experience is slightly compressed by a few seconds or more.
In the film, characters are prominently seen handling apples and pomegranates. Pomegranates were considered the "original" apples, and were symbols of strength to the Persian armies.
Dastan is a name from Ferdowsi's Shahnameh that means "the trickster".
The "Hassansins" are obviously modeled on the famous Islamic mystery cult called the Hashshashin from which the word "assassin" is derived given their use of terror and assassinations as political leverage. Their leader was named Hassan Ibn Sabbah whose activities took place in the heart of the Alborz Mountains of northern Iran (The place was called Alamut). Legends have surrounded the indoctrination process of the members of the Hashshashin cult, which are said to involve drugging and mind control. They were likely inserted as an homage to Ubisofts largest franchise 'Assassin's Creed' which is likewise based on the cult of Hashshashins.
This film marks the second PG-13 rated movie under the Walt Disney Pictures label in the United States. The first was Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) (not counting its sequels due to the fact they are of the same franchise, rather than stand-alone).