Sighs In Rom-Com: 40 Facts Rom-Com Fans Probably Didn’t Know About Their Favorite Flicks
Since what feels like the dawn of time in the film industry, romantic comedies have always been a favorite among avid movie watchers, females, and – as much as they don’t want to admit it – males alike. There’s something so gentle and therapeutic about sitting back with your cat (or dog, or stuffed teddy bear), a box of tissues, and best-loved chocolate snacks and binge-watching some feel-good falling-in-love films.
Of course, we also need a side of tears for those sappy moments in the films where the main couple fights and inevitably gets back together. However, there are plenty of interesting things about these rom-coms that you might not know.
So, to get you ready and full of love for the festive season, here’s a list of 40 surprising and fun facts about your favorite romantic comedies. Let’s dive in!
A True Story
When Harry Met Sally was based on the director’s real-life dating experiences. He had been single for ten years after divorcing fellow director Penny Marshall in 1981, and the original ending of the now highly adored film was that Harry and Sally meet years later and go their separate ways.
But while filming the movie, the director met his wife, Michele. The couple then reworked the ending to the feel-good conclusion that it has today, with the two friends eventually falling in love and living happily ever after. We’re happy they changed it!
The Princess Bride was written for William Goldman’s daughters
The film that swept the nation as being a film that manages to expertly balance bewitching romance, ironic satire, and inspiring fantasy was written by William Goldman for his daughters – who were four and seven years of age at the inception of the story.
Goldman told his kids he’d write them a story. He asked his girls what they wanted the story to be about, and according to Goldman, his younger daughter said she wanted a princess story, while the eldest stated that she wanted a story about a bride.
A Very Different Ending
Pretty in pink, starring Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer, was initially supposed to end with Andie and Duckie getting their much-expected happily ever after. Instead, the woman leaves her best friend and gets into a relationship with Blane McDonagh (Andrew McCarthey).
The reason for the drastic change in the ending, according to reports from the time, was that the starring actress couldn’t see herself with Cryer – and the lack of chemistry showed on camera so much that Howard Deutch, director of the film, altered the ending to the one we know today.
According to Richard Linklater, director of Before Sunrise, his movie was basically going to change meaning depending on how the viewer felt about romance. For those who are more pessimistic toward love, they’d probably think that the main couple wouldn’t end up together.
He always believed that the viewer’s interpretation of the film was a result of their own personal, romantic experiences. Hopeless romantics such as the director and the main stars of the film knew Celine and Jesse would come back together in the end – despite this not being shown at the end of the film.
The Curse of the “Box Office Poison”
Despite her immortalized popularity, Katherine Hepburn was not always as famous as she is today. After a series of movie failures in the 1930s, Hepburn was regarded as “box office poison” – an official designation according to a survey of theater owners in 1938.
Hepburn’s luck and negative label shifted dramatically when director George Cukor cast her as the iconic Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story alongside Cary Grant as C.K Dexter Haven. Hepburn won an Academy Award for best actress, truly kick-starting her career and fame, and the rest is history.
Not Even Just a Memory
Don’t you sometimes wish you could forget? Not just bury it somewhere in our minds – but for the trauma or the person to be completely gone from our memories. Well, so did the main characters in Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. They underwent a clinical procedure to erase their memories of each other.
In 2014, scientists reported that they were able to manipulate mice’s memories by experimenting on their amygdala (the part of our brain responsible for part of our memories) – and perhaps will one day be able to do the same with humans. What a terrifying thought!
The True Blue (Door)
Notting Hill tells the tale of a love story between Will Thacker (played by Hugh Grant), a British bookseller, and Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), a high-profile American actress, and their romance is filled with troubles due to their very different social statuses.
The ionic door had belonged to the screenwriter in the past. When the home was sold, the disgruntled new owners painted the door black when they were being bombarded by fans of the film. However, when the home took new ownership once again, it was painted back to blue.
“Snap out of it!”
The 1987 American romantic comedy-drama Moonstruck was so highly rated due to its resilient feeling of family. By the time the film was made, Cher and Sonny Bono had long since parted ways and were no longer a couple in real life.
However, Loretta Castorini (Played by Cher) and her family were Italian – and Cher, being part Armenian and part Cherokee, had no personal reference on which to base her acting on in the film. According to an interview, she based her character and family on her ex-husband’s family, as the Castorinis reminded her of them.
You’ve Got…A New Computer!
Meg Ryan made her acting debut in the drama film Rich and Famous and continued her acting spree in When Harry Met Sally and Top Gun. One would think that an actress such as herself had it all. However, she didn’t quite have everything then.
Before starring in You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan (starring as Kathleen Kenny) admitted that she didn’t have her own computer and only got one during the filming of the 1989 romantic comedy because the producers gave her one – probably so that she could become more acquainted with the technology.
A Lucky Break
Julia Roberts was initially offered the role in While You Were Sleeping due to her massive success in Pretty Woman. However, despite the fact that she seemed like the perfect fit for the charming romantic comedy, she turned the role down.
Fortunately for Sandra Bullock, Roberts turning down the role meant that it was her time to shine as the leading role, Lucy Eleanor Moderatz. The actress was highly praised for her portrayal, and she was even nominated to some of the most important awards in the industry.
Revitalizing Romantic Comedies and Dramas
The viability of romantic comedies is owed hugely to the successes of both Pretty Woman and Ghost. Where other films in the genre had failed, these films were able to claim a slot in the top five year-end box office.
These films managed to reawaken the enjoyment of romantic comedy as a genre that had previously lost its appeal to Hollywood studios, which were more focused on creating action and adventure films. Following Ghost, The Bodyguard, Jerry Maguire, and Titanic were released – and they were all successful romantic dramas.
Another Interesting Fact…
In the $22 million romantic fantasy Ghost (yes, that is how much was spent on the production of the film), Sam and Molly’s fleeting romance comes to an abrupt end when Sam is murdered, leaving behind a devastatingly heartbroken Molly.
This is a story of how love can survive beyond the grave. Sam makes contact with his beloved through a medium to warn her that she is in danger. Their love was short-lived, but the paycheck Moore received for her role wasn’t short-lived at all, and put her among the highest-paid actresses.
Inspiring Cat People Everywhere
American comedy film Meet the Parents came with the message that you should always be yourself, even if conflicts and misunderstandings arise from doing so. It also tried to teach parents to be more understanding and open to their children’s love interests.
That’s not all it inspired. A couple had the idea of creating a similar tool to potty train pets after watching the movie in the theater. When filming the movie, the animals were not actually potty trained. That would’ve been fun to watch, though.
Age is Just a Number
Paramount producer Robert Evans tried his best to abide by his wife’s, actress Ali MacGraw, request to remove the love scene between Harold and Maude from the film Harold and Maude, but Hal Ashby was truly having none of it.
Author of Being Hal Ashby Nick Dawson mentioned that Ashby wanted to show a young and an older person together. But the producers didn’t think the people would like it. In the end, Ashby managed to sneak the footage of the scene into the film’s trailer.
Side By Side
Gregory Peck, the starring actor in Roman Holiday, already had 18 films as well as four Oscar nominations to his name when he was paired with co-star Audrey Hepburn – who was new on the scene – to play Princess Anne.
As a result, Peck’s contract in the film called for top solo billing in the credits – but Peck’s foresight that Hepburn would win an Oscar for her acting had him calling his agent and demanding for the actress’ name to appear beside his above the title.
A Sneaky Rip-Off
Singles, directed by Cameron Crowe, was a 1992 film about a group of roommates in their 20s who search for love and success. According to the director, Warner Brothers was asked to turn the film into a television show following the same basic concept.
Crowe decided against the pitch, but when Friends was released in 1994, Crowe believed that Warner Brothers had indeed ripped Singles off. He got advice from a lawyer who said that Friends had just enough changes made to it that it would be difficult to file a lawsuit.
We Want To Name Our Kid After Her!
Although this film was a French-language romantic comedy, its popularity spread worldwide. In 2000, before the film was released, few babies were given the name Amelie. However, after the 2001 film’s release, that number shot up drastically. And not just in France.
In 2002 alone, 250 babies in England and Wales were named after the film’s main character, and by 2007, there were about 1100 baby Amelies per year. In 2003, stats showed that Amelie was among the 1000 most popular baby names in the US, and it has been rising in popularity ever since.
Over and Over and Over
Groundhog Day follows the story of Phil (played by Bill Murray), a self-centered weatherman who experiences the same day over and over again until he finds a way to escape the time loop and learns that his cynical behavior is what kept him trapped.
Here’s an interesting fact about the film. Not about the protagonist but about Rita (played by Andie MacDowell). Phil’s love interest drank sweet vermouth because it was writer/director Harold Ramis’s wife’s drink of choice and was, therefore, familiar to Ramis.
Walking Out Abruptly
It’s hard to believe that the original screening of the feel-good cinematic experience that is Four Weddings and a Funeral witnessed people walking out of the screening shortly after watching the opening scene with Charles saying the infamous “F” word.
According to Hugh Grant, it was his first time seeing the film in its entirety, and he thought that the walk-outs were not a good sign. It could have had something to do with the city of Salt Lake, Utah, being predominantly a Mormon town.
Marilyn Monroe Said “No”
Not many people can picture a Breakfast at Tiffany’s without the iconic Audrey Hepburn as the lead – but as it turns out, the role wasn’t made for her – not at first, anyway. In fact, the director originally wanted to cast Marilyn Monroe as Holly Golightly.
Monroe was allegedly keen on the role, but her advisor and acting coach Paula Strasberg told her that she shouldn’t be playing the role of a lady of the evening, and she took her advice. Later, Strasberg reportedly told the press that she was “betrayed” in every way when Hepburn was cast for the role.
The dark origins of Pretty Woman
The original screenplay was initially a dark drama titled 3,000. J.F. Lawton, the screenwriter of the classic rom-com, had initially written a dark story about a financially demolished America and the tragic lives of two individuals experiencing a very short-lived romance.
In fact, the original ending was not a happy ending at all, and the one-week romance was meant to end with Edward being true to his words, “I’m going to walk away, Vivian. Don’t fool yourself.” When rewriting the ending, Lawton changed Edward’s perspective, and he does fall in love with Vivian in the end.
Sometimes, Improv is Better than Planned
The iconic line in Titanic that would go on to be parodied all over the world – even at the Oscars – was actually improvised by Leonardo DiCaprio. Director James Cameron loved the improv line and decided to keep it in the script.
If you haven’t heard anyone shout “I’m the king of the world!” from the edge of a ship, rooftop, or in any Titanic-related parody before, then you’ve been living under a rock. This enigmatic line even landed a spot on the AFI’s list of the most iconic movie lines.
Based on More True Stories
Lloyd Dobler, the lead character in Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything, was actually based on the writer/director’s neighbor. According to Crowe, he had been struggling to conceptualize the main character – until he was inspired by his friendly Alabama neighbor, Lowell Merchant.
Crowe reportedly said in an interview shortly after the film’s $20 million box office earnings that he couldn’t get the inspiration to write the character and that his neighbor was too distracting as he kept knocking on the door. It was then that the movie’s executive producer suggested writing about the neighbor.
Diaries – A Great Way To Get Inspired
Most angsty teens from the 2000s will remember the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You, starring Julia Stiles and the late Heath Ledger, with nostalgic delight. However, we bet that most of them didn’t know about this interesting tidbit.
Screenwriters Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith held a Q&A about the film, where McCullah revealed that they picked the title based on something that she had written in her childhood journal about her crush. Just like in the movie, the guy then became her boyfriend.
An Unofficial Trilogy
The classic 1995 coming-of-age comedy, Clueless is actually number two of a three-part trilogy written by Amy Heckerling, which begins with Fast Times at Ridgemont High and ends with the last installment, 2000’s Loser. Heckerling was the mastermind behind all three movies.
Heckerling was passionate about capturing adolescence on camera, and each of the three films aimed at featuring different teen aesthetics, outlooks, and culture – and each had its own unique way of making them accessible to all ages, not only teens. Of the three, Clueless was the most popular.
Some Moments Can’t be Faked
Love Actually’s opening and closing scenes of passengers being welcomed and lovingly embraced by their loved ones were shot in real-time at Heathrow Airport with hidden cameras. Writer-director Richard Curtis explained this in the film’s DVD commentary (yes, DVDs once were a thing).
According to Curtis, when a special moment was caught on film, crew members would run out to have the subjects sign a waiver giving them permission to keep the recorded moment so that it might be included in the movie.
The Director Saved the Day
Fans of the film High Fidelity cannot imagine the film without Jack Black playing his role as Barry – a hyperactive and habitually insensitive record store employee – and neither could John Cusack and company. But things could’ve been drastically different.
The role was written specifically for Black – but the actor initially didn’t feel like accepting the role. Director Stephen Frears was able to persuade Black to agree to join the cast, and he saved the film by doing so.
A Daydream That Became…A Film
Brian Grazer was driving around town one night when he started daydreaming about what it would feel like to come across a mermaid and be enamored by her. A bunch of Hollywood studios turned down the 25-year-old producer for years on end.
That was until he revised his pitch for Splash, so it sounded like a rambunctious, fun love story between a man and a mermaid. The script was so good it got a nomination for best original screenplay and was highly praised by critics.
My Big Fat Greek Success Movie
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a classic, and for more reasons than one. Not only did it make a whopping $241 million in U.S theaters alone, but it’s also one of the most profitable romantic comedy movies ever made.
The romantic comedy made a total of about $369 million and was nominated for 29 awards, winning 20 of them. Some of these awards included an Oscar nomination for Best Writing – Original Screenplay and several acting nominations as well.
Not Another High School Movie
The original idea studios had suggested for Chasing Amy was for it to be a high school movie rated PG-13. However, some weeks later, Kevin Smith changed his mind when he saw that the movie Mallrats flopped at the box office.
Instead, Chasing Amy starring Kevin Smith, Joey Lauren Adams, and Ben Affleck, was transformed from just another high school dramedy into a touching story about friendship, heartbreak, and facing the past. The film also raised some very pinnacle questions about gay politics.
Back in the 2000s, Juno was one of the most popular movies. In fact, it was so popular with audiences and critics that it got nominated for multiple important awards. What most people don’t know about this flick is that it was based on the real-life experiences of the screenwriter Diablo Cody.
Diablo Cody, an Oscar-winning screenwriter, based the story for Juno on her own deeply personal experiences and wanted to tell a story that was not like any of the other Hollywood movies. Well, it’s safe to say that she achieved just that.
Elle – A Fan Favorite
The Iconic story of Legally Blonde was initially set to end with Elle (played by Reese Witherspoon) and Emmet (played by Luke Wilson) kissing on the courthouse steps, then cutting to Elle and Vivian forming a “Blonde Legal Defense Club.”
However, the test audiences had become so invested in the lead character’s life that they were not happy with the conclusion. This led to the ending we have today – with Elle graduating and making a speech that included other key characters in the story.
Looks Aren’t Everything
Steve Carell lost 30 pounds for his part as Andy in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. At first, the director and screenwriter of the film, Judd Apatow, admitted that he was nervous about it, thinking that comedians being good-looking wasn’t good for the comedy.
However, Carell being as “ripped” and muscular as he was for the film actually emphasized that Andy was only a virgin because of how shy and nervous he was – and not at all because he was bad looking or anything like that.
Woody Allen’s Decision Making
Woody Allen’s neurotic classic, Annie Hall, was originally one of two scripts that the writer/director was struggling to choose between. In the original script, Anhedonia, Alvy and Annie’s relationship was simply one of three strands, according to Ralph Rosenblum, who edited the film.
The film is now referred to as one of the most creative and influential rom-coms of all time. The original concept for the film was not for it to be a love story but rather about the main character’s life in general and developing psyche throughout the film.
To Kiss, or Not To Kiss?
Jake Ryan in 16 Candles was almost played by the now Lord of the Rings star, Viggo Mortensen. According to actress Molly Ringwald, when the two kissed during their audition for their parts, he made her “weak in the knees.”
We know now that Michael Schoeffling got the part of Samantha Baker’s love interest, but it almost wasn’t so. Funnily enough, when Ringwald and Mortensen co-starred in the film Fresh Horses, he admitted to Ringwald that he always believed he never got the part because of his kissing.
The Soup Nazi
Seinfeld based the episode The Soup Nazi on a real-life person, Al Yeganeh, who was the owner of Soup Kitchen International in Manhattan, New York City. However, few know that it was actually Sleepless in Seattle who made reference to “The Soup Nazi” first.
A male journalist is speaking as Annie Reed (played by Meg Ryan) enters an office at her newspaper, saying, “…he’s the meanest guy in the world, but he makes the best soup you’ve ever eaten.” We wonder if this inspired Seinfeld’s episode.
There’s Something in Mary’s Hair
The now iconic hair gel scene in There’s Something About Mary almost didn’t happen, as Cameron Diaz was worried about the audience’s reaction to the scene. She feared that people would be too disgusted to laugh, thus plummeting her career.
Another version of the date scene was shot without anything in her hair, but at the test screening, viewers laughed hysterically at the scene with Ted’s product in her hair. It was then that Diaz decided that the scene had to stay.
Diaz Wasn’t the Only One With a Problem
Funnily enough, Diaz wasn’t the only one who was concerned. Ben Stiller couldn’t relate to the fact that his character wouldn’t feel what was hanging on his ear and even went as far as suggesting that perhaps Ted somehow lost sensitivity in his ear.
His concerns were shooed away, however, when the directors Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly instructed him to stop talking about it. After seeing the test audience react positively, Stiller reacted like Cameron and also became more comfortable with the scene.
A Good Old-Fashioned Brawl
The historically epic fight scene between Mark (played by Colin Firth) and Daniel (played by Hugh Grant) is probably one of the greatest fight scenes in film history, and strangely enough, it was a scene that wasn’t choreographed to perfection.
In fact, according to writer Denise Martin, the now famous brawl had included no stunt doubles or elaborate choreography at all. It was simply a brilliant fist fight between two upper-middle-class Englishmen in front of a Greek restaurant. Now that’s what we call dedication!
Turning Away Iconic Roles
When actresses are at the peak of their careers, they inevitably have to turn down some roles. Shooting a movie can take months, so it’s basically impossible for them to shoot two different flicks at once. And Julia Roberts is one of the actresses who had to turn down iconic roles.
The actress was busy with other projects when she got offered the lead female role in Sleepless In Seattle. She had to turn it down, and Meg Ryan ended up getting the role. Even Roberts herself has said in an interview that she can’t picture anyone else in that role!