10 Fun Facts About The Notebook That'll Make You Want to Watch It Over and Over Again
The Notebook is that classic romantic film that gave us the beautiful pairing of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. The two helped tell a timeless story of falling in love then being ripped apart before reuniting years later and getting a happily ever after. Though, there's so much more to this movie, based on the book by Nicholas Sparks, than you might already know. Like, did you know how deeply Gosling and McAdams didn't get along at first? Can you imagine if they'd never settled their differences and someone else starred in the film? We can't! Keep reading for more on that fun fact and nine others.
Ryan Gosling Was Cast Because He Wasn't "Handsome" or "Cool"
You read that right. Director Nick Cassavetes told Ryan Gosling to his face way back in the day that he wanted him to play the role of Noah because the actor wasn't a classic leading man. Back in 2011, Goslin explained to British magazine Company that Cassavetes told him, "You're not handsome, you're not cool, you're just a regular guy who looks a bit nuts." We're honestly still reeling.
The Characters in the Book Didn't Feel Real, So the Screenwriter Had to Tweak Them
In Nicholas Sparks's novel, the characters are a bit whimsical, which screenwriter Jeremy Leven didn't feel would be believable on screen. Leven told The Harvard Crimson: "The problem with the book is that it's melodramatic and sweet, and you have to find a way to appeal to an audience that is apprehensive about yet another sweet movie. So you have to give it an edge, make it real and make the choices the characters face real."
Director Nick Cassavetes Worked With His Mom on the Film
Director Nick Cassavetes's mom is actually one of the stars of the movie: Allie Calhoun! Current-day Allie is played by Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes's mother. Cassavetes's dad is the late John Cassavetes, a legendary actor, director, and screenwriter who died in 1989.
Nick Cassavetes Almost Didn't Land the Film
Director Nick Cassavetes wasn't the first choice to direct the film. He actually wasn't even the second or third choice. According to Variety, Steven Spielberg showed early interest in the movie, as did Jim Sheridan and Martin Campbell. However, Cassavetes got the job in the end.
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams Absolutely Did Not Get Along at First
Despite going on to date for several years after making this film, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams really did not get along at first. Director Nick Cassavetes told VH1: "Maybe I'm not supposed to tell this story, but they were really not getting along one day on set. Really not. And Ryan came to me, and there's 150 people standing in this big scene, and he says, 'Nick come here.' And he's doing a scene with Rachel and he says, 'Would you take her out of here and bring in another actress to read off camera with me?' I said, 'What?' He says, 'I can't. I can't do it with her. I'm just not getting anything from this.'"
Fortunately, the two worked out their differences while filming and ended up dating for a couple years.
James Marsden Didn't Think The Notebook Would Be a Good Movie
James Marsden, who plays Lon Hammond, didn't actually think The Notebook would be that great of a movie. "I never set out to make a bad movie," Marsden told Out magazine. "Some movies just turn out bad, and I want to scream, 'Why did you pick that take?!' Then there are some movies that I've been in that I was sure people would laugh at, that have become huge. I thought The Notebook was going to be a schmaltzy Movie of the Week–type thing, and here we are!"
The Scene With All the Birds Almost Didn't Happen
That boat scene in the rain with all those birds that looks so magical that it might not even be real? Yeah, it almost didn't happen, director Nick Cassavetes told VH1. The studio told Cassavetes that it just wasn't feasible to try to shoot the scene with so many birds that weren't trained. But instead of listening, Cassavetes and his producers got some hatchlings and raised them until it was time to film, then trotted them out to shoot. "So, when the studio came down to see the scene — because they didn't believe we could do it — the guy marched [the birds] out there like the Pied Piper and they went out on the lake. We were happy to do that on a technical level because the birds are so beautiful."
Jessica Biel Auditioned For the Role of Allie
Jessica Biel threw her name in the hat for the role of Allie, but was ultimately beat out by Rachel McAdams. Biel told Elle in 2007 that The Notebook was the role that got away: "That's one that I wanted so badly. I was in the middle of shooting Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I auditioned with Ryan Gosling in my trailer — covered in blood." Britney Spears also auditioned, as did Reese Witherspoon.
Ryan Gosling Wanted to Burn the Windsor Plantation Down
After spending so long renovating the Windsor Plantation in the film, Ryan Gosling apparently thought the logical next step for Noah would be to burn it all down. Director Nick Cassavetes told VH1: "He'd come to me and say, 'Why can't I burn the house down?' I'd say, 'Because I don't even know what that means.' And he'd say, 'Cleansing my fire!'" The idea didn't stick, but it wasn't for lack of Gosling trying.
Ryan Gosling Actually Built the Table That Noah Made For Allie
Remember the table that Noah makes for Allie (that they then end up having sex on)? Ryan Gosling actually built that table himself in real life, according to The New York Times Magazine.