We sure do LOVE these fun facts! (Ba-dum-tss!)
The now-iconic “Thriller” dance sequence in 13 Going On 30 nearly had Mark Ruffalo running for the metaphorical exit.
Shortly after the film’s release back in 2004, Ruffalo said of the scene during an interview with Black Film: “The dancing was horrible. I almost didn’t want to do this movie. I literally read it and I’m like, ‘I can’t do this movie. I can’t get up and do those scenes.'”
“I’m like, ‘White boy don’t dance,'” he continued. “When [Jennifer Garner] dragged me out [on the floor], she was literally dragging me out, and I had hours of rehearsal with a dance coach who taught me how to do all the moves and stuff, and still, when we got into actually shooting it and there were 300 extras around, I did not want to do that scene.”
And while we’re on the subject of dancing, Emma Stone had to have a body double during her lift scene in Crazy, Stupid, Love, as she’d suffered a rather horrific accident in her youth during gymnastics class.
“I was on parallel bars that were about 6 feet off of the ground … and somehow or other [the instructor] let go … and I fell 6 feet to the ground and I broke both of my arms at the same time,” she said.
“So … years later we do Crazy, Stupid, Love, I know we’re going to do the Dirty Dancing lift — I don’t know, however, that I have an internalized phobia of being lifted over someone’s head at the height of about 6 feet,” Stone continued. “So I run to do the lift and Ryan [Gosling] lifts me over his head, and … what did I do, Ryan?”
“I’ve never had this happen,” Gosling answered. “But I imagine if an opossum fell out of a tree and tried to scratch your eyes out, it’d be something similar.”
Moving from Crazy, Stupid, Love to Crazy Rich Asians, many know that this was actor Henry Golding’s first-ever film, but he was “discovered” via director Jon Chu’s “cyberstalking.”
As noted in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, an accountant working in the production’s Malaysian office recalled “watching a travel video years earlier that was hosted by a handsome young Asian man with a British accent,” which prompted Chu to find and follow Golding on Instagram.
“Jon started following me on Instagram, and I was like [gasps], ‘What does this mean?'” Golding said.
“He’s like John F. Kennedy Jr. in New York — cooler than any of these [other] guys we were reading, and he’s not even trying,” Chu said of Golding’s audition. “We showed Toby [Emmerich, Warner Bros.’ chair], and he was like, ‘Is there even a choice to be made here? Obviously that dude.'”
And speaking of wild casting decisions, Keanu Reeves’ perfect cameo was the plan from the beginning in Always Be My Maybe — even before he’d agreed to do it — and he wrote most of his own lines.
“He immediately got it. He read the script and wanted to meet with us, so we had a meeting with him before he agreed to sign on,” director Nahnatchka Khan told IndieWire. “We were talking about the character, and he just had so many funny ideas and pitches that we went back and revised the script with those in mind.”
Heck, even some little wardrobe details were all Reeves’ doing, with Khan further noting, “One of the things was he said, ‘I think it would be funny if I was wearing glasses for a part that had no lenses. So we were like, ‘Yeah, that’s definitely funny, that’s amazing. Let’s put that in.'”
While we’re on the subject of cameos, The Holiday has one of my personal favorites, and the story behind it is even wilder than the cameo itself.
For anyone who’s never seen the film — which, like…please change that immediately — during a scene when Jack Black is explaining iconic movie scores to Kate Winslet, he includes The Graduate and sings a bit of “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel. The scene then cuts to a quick shot of Dustin Hoffman, the star of The Graduate, shaking his head and musing, “[I] can’t go anywhere.”
According to the DVD commentary, this cameo was unplanned and the result of pure coincidence. Hoffman knew director Nancy Meyers, saw her shooting the film at a Blockbuster, stepped in just to say hi — and they wrote in his cameo on the spot.
Speaking of on-the-fly moments, the classic “90/10” scene in Hitch was not only an idea provided by Will Smith but was also a last-minute addition.
“Will looked around at the location in the West Village and said, ‘This is beautiful; why are we only shooting half a page here?’ We got onto a conversation of walking a girl to the door and Will said, ‘Have you ever heard of the 90/10?'” director Andy Tennant told Entertainment Weekly. “So he explained what 90/10 was, and Kevin, Will, and myself started riffing on jiggling keys, and we decide that we’re going to do a scene where Will walks Kevin to the door.”
The only problem, Tennant noted, was that the team didn’t have a permit to shoot the scene as they wanted on a stoop. So they quite literally started going door-to-door to ask if they could shoot in front of people’s homes…oh, and there’s a twist coming.
“We literally pick a brownstone, go up the stairs and knock on the door together, and guess who opens the door? Sarah Jessica Parker,” Tennant finished. “It’s her apartment. And she looks at us like, ‘Wait, hi, what, what’s going on?’ And we ask if we can use her stoop for a scene that we haven’t written yet, and she’s like, ‘Sure!’ So that door is actually where Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker live.”
After years of trying to get her story produced, screenwriter and actor Nia Vardalos passed on opportunities to have My Big Fat Greek Wedding made because some studios in question wanted to make a “blasphemous” change.
Despite, you know, the title of the original work, Vardalos noted that many producers wanted to make the story about another ethnicity, as well as cast a better-known star in the lead role. However, Vardalos passed.
“‘Here’s a big check. We’ll make it Italian and get Marisa Tomei to play the lead,'” Vardalos told the Washington Post, recounting one producer’s pitch. “I said no. I just thought it was blasphemous to turn my family into anything else.”
The title of 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) was inspired by a real-life diary entry from cowriter Karen McCullah.
“I had a boyfriend named Anthony … I made a list called ‘Things I Hate About Anthony.’ When Kirsten [Smith] and I decided to write this, I went through all my high school diaries … and when I told her about that list, she was like, ‘That’s our title,'” McCullah said.
“Anthony is very proud of that fact. We’re still friends today,” McCullah also noted. “Every now and then, I’ll get a random phone call in the middle of the night. ‘My nephew doesn’t believe that this title is about me. Tell him.’ On the phone, I’m like, ‘Yes, I hated Anthony in high school.'”
The hilariously awkward fight scene in the third act of Bridget Jones’s Diary was originally supposed to be choreographed — the finished product was all improv — but also “sexy.”
“There had been an earlier idea to make the fight look sexy,” Colin Firth told the Los Angeles Times. “We were going to be buff and our shirts were going to be ripped off. I looked at myself and said, ‘You’re certainly never going to get that type with me.'”
“I said, ‘Well, what would your characters do?'” director Sharon Maguire told Entertainment Weekly. “Then [Hugh Grant] said, ‘Well, he would probably just bitch-slap him.’ And Colin said, ‘I’d probably kick him in a rather ineffectual way.’ We shot it with lots of action shots, but really the funniest bits were just the wide shots of them bitch-slapping each other. All of it is the comedy of humiliation, really.”
The positively wild Oscar-nominated screenplay of The Big Sick is based on the very much true love story of its writers, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. Gordon was very nervous about sharing all of this information publicly.
Just like in the film, the pair met after Gordon heckled one of Nanjiani’s stand-up sets, and they began dating. Eight months into their relationship, Gordon fell ill and was put into a medically induced coma. Nanjiani stayed by her side throughout the ordeal, and the two were married shortly after Gordon awoke.
“I’m maybe a bit more private than Kumail, so I was definitely like, ‘Oh shit, if all this goes great, I’m going to be on a red carpet being like, […] ‘Yes, I was in a coma!’” Gordon told Entertainment Weekly. “That’s kind of a weird thing, but hopefully the benefits of it can outweigh the weirdness of it — ’cause it definitely is weird.”
Despite being one of my (the human person writing this post) personal top three favorite rom-coms of all time, in part due to its unconventional ending, My Best Friend’s Wedding was received…let’s go with “not well” during its test screenings, resulting in the ending being changed a couple of times.
“You’d have thought we made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and I was asking them to root for Leatherface,” director P.J. Hogan said of the film’s initial reception. “It was just awful.”
Hogan continued, “I felt like my career was over. I felt like it deserved to be over.” However, producer Jerry Zucker remained confident that the film had potential, and they went on to reshoot the ending. “When I knew there was a possibility of reshoots, hope rose like the sun over the horizon for me,” Hogan joked.
“That’s the message of the screenplay — sometimes the person you love isn’t your lover,” Hogan said of the final ending, which featured the lead character’s other best friend coming to comfort her. “Rupert [Everett] kept saying, ‘You need me at the end.’ I think he knew the impact he was going to have in the film way before any of us did.”
And while we’re talking about iconic Julia Roberts films, Richard Gere originally turned down his role opposite her in Pretty Woman and has noted that he eventually accepted the role only because of Roberts.
“Gary [Marshall, the director] brought me to meet Richard, and he says, ‘Richard, Julia. Julia, Richard. I’ll see you later!’ and he walked out [and left us alone],” Roberts said of their introduction.
“[Julia’s] sitting across [from me] at a desk and we’re getting to know each other, and [Gary] calls up and he’s kind of like, ‘How’s it going?'” Gere said. “And she takes a Post-it and is writing something on it, and she turns it around and pushes it to me, and it says, ‘Please say yes.’ And it was so sweet that I said [to Gary], ‘I just said yes.'”
Let’s finish up with some more casting fun facts! First off, there was almost a switcheroo in the final To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before casting, which would have completely changed the dynamic of the film.
“When we did chemistry reads, I knew I loved Israel [Broussard] and I knew I loved Noah [Centineo], but I wasn’t sure who would play which role,” director Susan Johnson told IndieWire.
“I initially was thinking of Noah for Josh, because I thought, Oh, he seems like boy next door,” she said. “But then, once I saw Lana [Condor] and Noah’s chemistry, I knew we had to go that direction. Israel was great with Janel [Parrish Long]. I thought that fit really well.”
And Matthew McConaughey not only was NOT the original choice to play the hunky pediatrician opposite Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner but was a last-minute replacement.
“Our male star fell out four weeks before production. It was supposed to star Brendan Fraser, but four weeks before production, he fell out and we were like, uh-oh,” screenwriter Mike Ellis told Entertainment Weekly.
“Adam [Shankman, the director] drove to Matthew McConaughey’s house and begged for him to do it,” he concluded. “And he did.”
And finally, while it’s literally impossible for me to imagine When Harry Met Sally… — my personal favorite rom-com of all time — starring anyone other than Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, those two were not the first actors the studio had in mind.
According to Collider, the studio’s list of who should play the character of Sally included Susan Dey, Elizabeth Perkins, Elizabeth McGovern, and Molly Ringwald.
What’s your favorite behind-the-scenes rom-com fact? Do you know any other cool ones? Share yours in the comments below!
Monica has a BA in Journalism and English from the University of Massachusetts and an MS in Journalism and Communications from Quinnipiac University. Monica has worked as a journalist for over 20 years covering all things entertainment. She has covered everything from San Diego Comic-Con, The SAG Awards, Academy Awards, and more. Monica has been published in Variety, Swagger Magazine, Emmy Magazine, CNN, AP, Hidden Remote, and more. For the past 10 years, she has added PR and marketing to her list of talents as the president of Prime Entertainment Publicity, LLC. Monica is ready for anything and is proudly obsessed with pop culture.
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