They may be maligned as “chick flicks,” but what’s not to love about a good romantic comedy? Without them, we wouldn’t have national treasures like Sandra Bullock or Hugh Grant. Few things are as comforting as curling up with a bowl of popcorn and watching a classic rom-com. Here are 50 touching facts about the most beloved rom-coms of all time.
50. Untitled Steve Carell Project
The directors couldn’t figure out what to call Crazy, Stupid, Love, and told the cast and crew that if they came up with a name, they would win a free iPad. Various names, like Wingman or Pop Go the Weavers, were put forward. Ultimately, the iPad went unclaimed and the directors went with their working title.
49. By George!
In the original ending of My Best Friend’s Wedding, after watching Michael and Kimberly leave the wedding reception, Julianne ended up meeting a new man (played by John Corbett, AKA Aidan from Sex and the City). This happy ending did not test well! Audiences wanted to see more of George, so they reshot a new ending.
48. Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow!
It’s always good when actors have natural chemistry on screen, but Cary Elwes and Robin Wright took it one step farther while filming The Princess Bride. They were so into each other that they kept making up excuses to reshoot the final kiss of the movie—they didn’t want filming to end!
47. Rom-Com Tom
When it comes to rom-com power couples, few could match Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. People often cite the one-two punch of Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, but many forget that the pair first appeared on screen together earlier, in Joe Versus the Volcano in 1990. In that film, Hanks plays a dying man who goes to an island to hurl himself into a volcano, and meets and falls in love with Ryan’s character along the way. Hanks and Ryan remain good friends.
46. Over the Moon
Henry Mancini wrote “Moon River” specifically for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In a meeting following a screening of the film, an executive said, “Well, I think the first thing we can do is get rid of that stupid song.” Hepburn protested, and the song, of course, remained in the film.
45. The Definition of Awkward
Hugh Grant wasn’t totally averse to the idea of a nude scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, but he got cold feet and opted out when the makeup artist pondered whether or not he’d like definition painted on his body for the bare-all scene.
44. Dance Like No One’s Watching?
In Love Actually, Hugh Grant’s lovable, befuddled prime minister won audiences over with his dance scene to the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump.” In real life, Grant didn’t want to do the scene because he thought it would make him less believable as a world leader.
Another reason for Grant’s reluctance during the scene? He really wanted to get a Jackson 5 song for the dance number. When the production failed to snag the rights, Grant was “hugely unhappy about it.”
43. How Do You Like Them Peaches?
Joan Cusack plays Julia Roberts’ best friend in Runaway Bride. In the softball game scene, Cusack wears a “Peaches” baseball cap, a reference to A League of Their Own.
42. Ah-Mazing Improv
In When Harry Met Sally, Meg Ryan’s Sally gets diners’ attention by faking an orgasm—this was actually Ryan’s own idea. Also, the woman who famously says “I’ll have what she’s having”? Director Rob Reiner’s mother.
41. Can Men and Women Be Friends?
Rob Reiner based parts of When Harry Met Sally on his own life, namely his relationship with writer Nora Ephron. When Reiner met Ephron in the mid-’80s, he pitched her a number of ideas for movies, including a comedy based on his dating experiences. Ephron agreed to write it after extensively interviewing Reiner. The two had many discussions about how men and women view sex, love, and relationships differently.
40. True, True Love
In the beginning of When Harry Met Sally, married couples describe how they met. These couples are actors, but their stories are real. Reiner collected stories from real couples, and then hired actors to retell them.
39. Double Duty
In Sleepless in Seattle, the door Tom Hanks walks out of in Seattle and the door Meg Ryan walks into in Baltimore are the exact same door; it was shipped to both cities for filming. Said Ephron, the director of the film, this all helped, “make you feel like it’s a love scene even though they are 3,000 miles apart.”
38. Charm ‘Em!
Jennifer Garner got the role in 13 Going on 30 because her speech when she won a Golden Globe in 2002 for Alias was so endearing. In the speech, she expresses gratitude to J.J. Abrams for giving her the role and believing in her: “I know I was good in Dude, Where’s My Car, but seriously?!”
Viewers of 13 Going on 30 can spot the same photo of Madonna in two scenes: in the first, the framed photo is on 13-year-old Jenna’s vanity. In the second, 30-year-old Jenna finds the same photo—but signed!
36. Right Place, Right Time
Dustin Hoffman makes an appearance in the modern Christmas classic The Holiday. However, his cameo in the video store was entirely unscripted! He happened to be driving by the Blockbuster they were filming in that day and decided to pop-in and see what was going on.
35. A Rupert by Any Other Name
Everyone knows Rupert Everett plays the dashing George opposite Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding, but can you believe that before they cast Everett, the character was originally named Digger?!
34. Life Imitates Art
When Queen Elizabeth II wanted to bestow Prince Edward with the title the Duke of Cambridge, Edward instead asked for the title “Earl of Wessex” instead. The inspiration? Colin Firth’s character “Lord Wessex” from Shakespeare in Love.
A perfect score on the LSAT exam is 180. That means in Legally Blonde, Elle Woods’ score of 179 is in the top 0.1%.
The trademark scene of Pretty Woman might be when Gere’s Edward shuts the jewelry box containing a $250,000 necklace on Vivian’s fingers. Thing is, that wasn’t in the script and was actually a practical joke on Roberts! According to Director Garry Marshall, the 23-year-old Roberts would sometimes show up to the set a bit sleepy after a night of partying. “I said, ‘Richard, you gotta wake her up a little, so when she reaches for the box, slam it.'” Marshall explained. Roberts responded with that genuine, iconic laugh, and, well, you know the rest.
Love Actually’s opening and closing airport shots were real people filmed on hidden cameras. Over a week, crews set up hidden cameras to catch footage of passengers welcoming loved ones at Heathrow. When they caught something they liked, a crew member would race after them with a waiver!
30. While You Were Demi?
Lucy in While You Were Sleeping is iconically played by Sandra Bullock, but the role was originally written for Demi Moore and then offered to Julia Roberts, who passed on it. Their loss!
29. Messy Misstep
Both Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller had issues with the famed “hair gel” scene in There’s Something About Mary. Diaz worried it was too gross and would wreck her career, and Stiller worried it was unrealistic that Ted wouldn’t feel anything on his ear. At the end of the day, it was too funny to change–and the rest is hairstory (sorry).
28. Wimp Brawl
The fight scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary between Bridget’s two suitors, Mark and Daniel, is beloved for its no-frills charm. Vulture reader Denise Martin explains the scene: “No stunt coordinators. No elaborate choreography. Just a perfectly realized wimp brawl between two upper-middle-class Englishmen coming to awkward fisticuffs in front of a Greek restaurant.” Sounds about right.
27. You’ve Got a Computer
Email might be ubiquitous now, but Meg Ryan didn’t own a computer until the filming of You’ve Got Mail. Speaking with Vanity Fair, Ryan explained, “I got my first computer when I did that movie…I think that the company gave us a computer.” How did she get into character??
26. Dress to Impress
Nora Ephron wore a clean, neat shirt every day of filming You’ve Got Mail. According to actress Heather Burns, “She always had a crisp shirt on and directing those long hours she always looked so put together.”
25. With Friends Like These…
Cameron Crowe thinks Friends is a rip off! Crowe was asked to turn his film Singles into a TV-series about “a group of six 20-something roommates searching for love.” Crowe didn’t. When Friends debuted in 1994, he tried to sue; apparently, however, enough details were changed to avoid a lawsuit.
24. Diners, Drive-ins, and Brides
Melissa McCarthy based her character in Bridesmaids on famous chef Guy Fieri. We can totally see it now.
23. Dear Diary…
Many people know that 10 Things I Hate About You is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. But did you know that the title of the film is based on writer Karen McCullah’s actual teenage diary? Says McCullah “I had a boyfriend named Anthony that I was frequently unhappy with. I made a list called ‘Things I Hate About Anthony.’” When she told her writing partner Kirsten Smith about the list, “[Kristen] was like, ‘That’s our title.’”
22. What’s in a Name?
In 2000, there were 12 babies in England and Wales named Amélie. After the 2001 film Amélie, that number would skyrocket: By 2007, there was an average of 1,100 new Amélies per year, a number that remains constant today.
Emma Stone found out she had asthma on the set of Easy A. During the filming of a fake sex scene, Stone got so into it that she ended up having an attack!
Jack Nicholson described As Good As It Gets as “a love story where you do nothing but aggravate somebody.” Sounds like love.
19. Questions Answered
What does Coyote Ugly mean? According to Urban Dictionary, it refers to the moment the morning after a one-night stand when you realize the person beside you is so ugly that you would “gladly gnaw off any limb they are sleeping on just to get away without being discovered.”
18. Can’t Fight the Moonlight
Coyote Ugly was based off a long-form piece Elizabeth Gilbert wrote for GQ about her time working at the real Coyote Ugly bar in New York City.
17. Write, Pay Me, Love
Gilbert would go on to write the best-selling memoir Eat Pray Love, which was turned into a film of the same name starring Julia Roberts.
16. Feeling Vulnerable
Jason Segel used his real-life experience to write Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He too was dumped naked, a moment that would inspire the opening scene of the film.
Steve Carell made some physical changes for The 40-Year Old Virgin: he lost over 30 lbs to make his shy character ripped, a decision to show that his virginity was caused by awkwardness.
14. Nice Guys Finish Films?
Lovable nice guy Tom Hanks was a self-admitted grump on Sleepless in Seattle, even complaining that the actor playing his son got too many good lines.
13. In Sickness and in Health
The Big Sick was based on a true story of the real-life sickness that threw star Kumail Nanjiani’s then-girlfriend, Emily Gordon, into a coma. The couple wrote the film together, and it was released on their 10th wedding anniversary.
12. Nodding-off Hill
Julia Roberts almost passed on Notting Hill. The actress thought the idea sounded boring, but agreed to take a look at the script because she was a huge Richard Curtis fan.
11. That’s Amore!
Rachael Leigh Cook hates the scene where she and Freddie Prinze Jr. kiss in She’s All That. She didn’t like how things were going and didn’t want them to use the take, so blinked the whole time. Well, they did anyway!
10. Crazy Amazing
Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Gellar were both were considered for the role of Cher in Clueless, but Alicia Silverstone ended up with the role because director Amy Heckerling said the ideal actress would be the girl from “those Aerosmith videos.”
9. Silver Tongue
Cher can’t pronounce “Haitians” in the Clueless debate scene, and that wasn’t in the script! Silverstone really wasn’t sure how to say the word, and Heckerling asked the crew to not tell her.
8. Fast Fashion
Clueless fashion trivia: Cher has over 60 costume changes, and there are reportedly over 53 kinds of plaid in the film. The fake Chanel accessories needed Karl Lagerfeld’s approval, eventually inspiring official versions.
7. Darker Woman
Pretty Woman was originally a very different, and darker, film! The film originally followed a drug-addicted Vivian as she attempted to stay clean to for one week so she could go to Disneyland. In this early version, Edward kicks her out.
6. Looking for Some Company?
Speaking of Pretty Woman’s dark side, the film had a tough time finding a luxury car for Edward to drive. Neither Porsche or Ferrari wanted to associate with soliciting prostitutes, so instead Edward drives a silver Lotus 1989.5 Esprit SE.
5. Creepy Carell
The 40-Year Old Virgin was almost stopped one week into filming because the studio was worried star Steve Carell looked like a serial killer in the scenes that had been shot so far. Not exactly a compliment.
Universal Studios also had Carell and Apatow read case studies about real middle-aged male virgins, who explained that the reason they never had sex was simply that they gave up trying. In Carell’s own words, “at some point just gave up on the whole notion because it was harder to… and every time I say something, all these really bad puns start floating into the room… but it was harder to keep attempting than to just give up.”
4. You Almost Didn’t Have Me
Zellweger’s line, “You had me at hello” from Jerry Maguire is one of two especially memorable lines in the movie (don’t forget “Show me the money!”) and arguably one of the most iconic lines in film history, but if it were up to Zellweger, at the time, she probably would have said it differently, or not at all. Zellweger admitted in an interview that when she first read the line she didn’t understand it and thought it was a typo. She even struggled on the best way to deliver and perform it but after a few takes she inevitably nailed it and cemented her place in cinematic history.
3. SLC Fork!
The first American screening of Four Weddings and a Funeral took place in, of all places, Salt Lake City, Utah. Predictably, many of the audience members were Mormon, which caused a problem when the first scene played, which includes a character dropping an F-bomb. Many walked out, and Hugh Grant worried that the film would be a disaster as a result. Little did he know that’d be the least of his problems—his infamous arrest after he was caught with a sex worker came just a year later.
2. Fun & Games
To help build their on-screen chemistry for Bridesmaids and work on their improv skills between takes, Chris O’Dowd and Kristen Wiig would play the game “Would you rather.” They didn’t share too many details on the questions, but O’Dowd did reveal that his favorite question that Wiig asked him was, “Would you rather have a nipple growing on the end of your nose or a tooth growing out of your cheek?” Gun to my head, I’d go with the nipple.
1. Old Fears
Although Grant didn’t particularly want to do the famous dance scene for Love Actually, he wasn’t afraid to make his co-stars look silly. Billy Bob Thorton has a well-known fear of antiques, so during the filming of Love Actually, Grant would show him furniture off camera and watch his reactions!