The Craziest Things You Never Knew About ‘The Notebook’

Any discussion about classic romantic movies is bound to include a few predictable titles. Casablanca, Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, Titanic, Gone With the Wind, Pretty Woman… it’s a familiar list of favorites. But one of the most beloved of all these is The Notebook.

The movie recently celebrated its 15th anniversary which is hard to believe—even 15 years later, it’s still so relevant and relatable. If you still swoon every time Noah recites his speech to Allie and you can’t get over the fact that Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams broke up in real life, then read on to discover the craziest things you never knew about The Notebook.

The Netflix version cuts out the real ending

Everyone knows how the movie ends — a nurse discovers that elderly Noah and Allie have died in each other’s arms overnight. But if you happen to be watching the movie on Netflix, you’ll see the movie fade to black right before that scene and just abruptly end.

Why you gotta be like that, Netflix?

‘The Notebook’ is based on a true story

Remember that The Notebook film is based on the Nicholas Sparks book by the same name. And though Sparks is a creative man, he didn’t just make up the characters of Noah and Allie — he used his ex-wife’s grandparents as inspiration. Their real-life love story is very similar to the one you see in the movie.

Rachel McAdam was meant to play the role

Competition for the role of Allie was fierce. A-listers including Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Biel, and even Britney Spears were all potentials for the part. But after Rachel McAdams received the script and “sobbed uncontrollably,” she knew she had to be the one.

She read the script the night before and only had a few hours to prepare for the audition. But she still nailed it and got the role.

The director didn’t want ‘The Notebook’ to be too sexy

The Notebook
‘The Notebook’ movie poster | Ray Mickshaw/WireImage for New Line Cinema

Director Nick Cassavetes admitted that sexual innuendo embarrasses him, so he kept it out of his movie. Plus, he wanted to appeal to a larger audience, so he decided to skip overt sex scenes.

Author Nicholas Sparks had similar thoughts about the book version. “I think that readers also appreciate that the novel didn’t include foul language and its love scene was tasteful and mild compared to what’s found in many other novels,” he said. “These factors made people feel comfortable about recommending it to others.”

Ryan Gosling was cast because he ‘wasn’t handsome’

Millions of women would disagree with this assessment, but the reason Ryan Gosling got cast as Noah was because of his unconventional good looks. Director Nick Cassavetes said, “I want you to play this role because you’re not like the other young actors out there in Hollywood. You’re not handsome, you’re not cool, you’re just a regular guy who looks a bit nuts.” 

Hey, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong!

The movie was filmed backwards

The older scenes of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling were filmed first, then the two transformed themselves to look younger for the beginning scenes. Gosling had to shed 20 pounds over Christmas and shave his beard.

Also, he wore brown colored contacts so his eyes would match the actor who played the older version of Noah (Gosling’s eyes are actually blue).

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams didn’t get along

They may have had convincing chemistry on-screen, but Gosling and McAdams weren’t exactly getting along when cameras stopped rolling. “We went into a room with a producer; they started screaming and yelling at each other. I walked out. [Then] everybody came out like, ‘All right let’s do this.’ And it got better after that,” Cassavetes said.

One famous line almost never happened

You know the part when Noah confronts Allie and delivers the emotional, “What do you want! What do you want?” That wasn’t actually in the script. Ryan Gosling was so into what he was saying that he ad-libbed the line. Obviously, it worked.