It's been over 10 years since we fell in love with The Notebook. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams brought the love story of Noah and Allie to the screen, but the real drama was happening behind the scenes. From shouting matches on set to some hilarious wardrobe mishaps, here are all the things you never knew about The Notebook.
It’s hard to believe now, but director Nick Cassavetes wanted Gosling for the role of Noah Calhoun because he supposedly wasn’t handsome or cool. "When I got there, [Cassavetes] was standing in his backyard, and he looked at me and said, ‘I want you to play this role because you’re not like the other young actors out there in Hollywood,’” Gosling once said in an interview with Us Weekly. “‘You’re not handsome, you’re not cool, you’re just a regular guy who looks a bit nuts.’”
According to a Rachel McAdams's fan site, McAdams received the script for The Notebook the night before her audition, while she was attending the premiere for The Hot Chick. Her audition scene was the one where Noah and Allie have a fight after Allie gets back from a morning drive with her mother.
Cassavetes said in an interview with Vanity Fair that Gosling wanted to burn down that gorgeous mansion after restoring it. "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!'"
McAdams said that a lot of her outfits were authentic vintage pieces from the 1940s. Unfortunately, they didn’t all hold up in the dramatic rain scene. “I think there's a scene in the movie where I'm running in bare feet, and it's only because [after] the first few takes I did, the shoes disintegrated off my feet," she told Life & Style.
During one of Allie and Noah’s fights, he asks her what she really wants. It’s one of the film’s more famous lines, and apparently Gosling came up with it on the spot. "There was a scene at the end where Ryan improvised, 'What do you want? What do you want?' And it became one of the most iconic things from the film [that] wasn’t in the script. He just knew it,” Cassavetes told VH1.
To get into his character, Ryan Gosling actually spent a few months living in Charleston, South Carolina, where The Notebook was shot, according to BuzzFeed. He spent his time rowing on the Ashley River and working as an apprentice for a local cabinetmaker.
Gosling wasn’t the only method actor on set. McAdams also reportedly spent time in Charleston before filming, where she took classes for etiquette and ballet, and worked with a dialect coach to perfect the southern accent.
The actor, who plays Allie's fiancee Lon Hammond, admitted in 2013 that he initially didn’t think that the movie would be very successful. He said in an interview with Out Magazine, "I thought The Notebook was going to be a schmaltzy Movie of the Week–type thing, and here we are!"
The legendary actor, who plays older Noah in the film, started laughing when he heard Cassavetes call Rowlands "mom." "I hear Nick say, ‘Okay, mom. Action.’ Well, I ruined that take because I just broke up. That was so funny. That tickled me to death,” he reportedly said.
Since James Garner, who plays older Noah in the film, has brown eyes, Gosling had to wear brown s over his baby blues.
In 2015, Entertainment Weekly reported that a TV adaptation of The Notebook was in the works at The CW. A couple of years later, The CW president said the network hadn’t been able to find a writer to sign on, so the show was "in the banks for now."
The scene where Noah crashes into the gate at Allie’s summer manor was actually a mistake, but the crew decided to keep it in the movie because it was such a great shot.
Cassavetes said that the production studio wanted to cut the boat ride scene with the birds, because they didn’t think the birds could be properly trained. Cassavetes and a producer didn’t listen, and instead came up with a creative solution. They bought a bunch of hatchling birds and raised them by the lake. A few months later, when it came time to film the scene, the birds were used to the environment and behaved perfectly.
In 1998, it was reported by Variety that Steven Spielberg wanted to direct the movie. Jim Sheridan and Martin Campbell were reportedly also interested, but decided to direct other movies instead. In 2002, New Line Cinema decided that Cassavetes would be the best choice for director.
After working out their differences on-set, Gosling and McAdams went on to date for several years. Their relationship was somewhat on-and-off, but after officially calling it quits, the pair is reportedly still friendly. And they’ve both moved on: Gosling has been with partner Eva Mendes since 2011, and they have two children together. McAdams recently welcomed a baby with her boyfriend Jamie Linden.
Gosling and McAdams barely knew each other when they filmed the now-iconic “after 7 years” scene. Most of the later scenes were actually filmed first, when Gosling had a thick beard. The cast and crew then went on a break, which allowed Gosling to shave his beard and lose weight to play younger Noah.
In an interview, director Nick Cassavetes said that Gosling actually tried to have McAdams replaced. "Maybe I'm not supposed to tell this story, but they were really not getting along one day on set. Really not," Cassavetes said in an interview with VH1. "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.'"
It’s hard to picture anyone besides McAdams playing Allie, but she had some stiff competition for the role — including Jessica Biel. Biel told Elle in 2011 that the one that got away was "The Notebook. 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. [Director] Nick Cassavetes put me through the wringer in an interesting, excitingly creative way. But there's a million that get away. We're gluttons for punishment. It's just rejection."
Some of the other actors who were reportedly considered for the film include Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Reese Witherspoon.
In 2012, the couple had a private wedding at the Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens, where several scenes from The Notebook were filmed.
By now, the movie has been cemented as a beloved romance, but not everyone was quick to fall in love with it. Some called it “striking” and said the lead actors gave “all-star performances” while others said it was a “sticky-sweet swamp” and unnecessarily “dark and morbid” during the later scenes. You can’t please everyone!
That love scene when Allie and Noah reunite was initially even more steamy than what we saw. They had to tone it down a little in order for the film to keep a PG-13 rating.
Gena Rowlands, who plays older Allie in the nursing home, is actually Cassavetes’s mother. How sweet is that?
The Notebook won eight Teen Choice Awards, a Satellite Award, and an MTV Movie Award for "Best Kiss." Gosling and McAdams recreated that iconic kiss on stage as they accepted their award, and it was basically the most romantic thing ever.
ABC News and People let fans vote on their favorite films of all time for the Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time special. The Notebook took home the award for "Best Chick Flick," beating out Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Sleepless in Seattle, and The Way We Were.
The author wrote two novels during his college years, but they were never published. He co-wrote a nonfiction book in 1990, and then wrote The Notebook a couple of years later. A literary agent read the story and offered to represent him, and the book was eventually published in 1996.
"The Notebook was inspired by my wife’s grandparents, two wonderful people who spent over 60 years together ... I remember watching them together and thinking to myself that after 60 years of marriage, these two people were treating each other exactly the same as my wife and I were treating each other after 12 hours," he said.
In 2005, Sparks published The Wedding, which is a follow-up to The Notebook. The story revolves around Wilson Lewis, the son-in-law of Noah and Allie. Facing struggles in his own marriage, and the impending wedding of his own daughter, he looks to the grand romance of Noah and Allie for inspiration.
In an interview, he said fans still get mad at him for coming between Allie and Noah. "I also have people coming up and going like, ‘Ugh!’ They’re just disgusted by me. Like, ‘How dare you get involved with their love?’ he told Vulture. "It’s just funny how people carry it with them, like in real life when they say, ‘Oh, you’re the jerk in The Notebook!’"
The 5-bedroom home is located in Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. According to Trulia, for $1,000 a night, visitors can stay in the home that Noah built for Allie.