‘The Notebook’: Rachel McAdams’ Audition Had to Be Stopped Because Everyone Was Crying

The Notebook is easily considered one of the best romance films of all time. But much of the film’s success hinged on the cast. After all, part of what makes the film so iconic was the positively electric chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams who played Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton for the majority of the film. In fact, the chemistry between the pair was so next level that they actually dated even after the film wrapped.

The Notebook cast Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams | Granitz/WireImage

Since Gosling was cast first, the producers, casting director, and director for The Notebook needed to find someone who could complement him. There was no shortage of actors who were vying for the role of Allie. In fact, Britney Spears, Reese Witherspoon, and Jessica Biel were all being considered for the part. At the time of her audition, McAdams was still relatively unknown. Fortunately, she had a good agent who managed to get her audition for The Notebook while she was in Los Angeles doing press for another film.

Rachel McAdams beat out Britney Spears and Reese Witherspoon for her spot in ‘The Notebook’ cast

According to behind-the-scenes footage presented by Fandango, McAdams had very limited time to prepare for her audition. She only read the script for The Notebook the night before her audition, but she was moved to tears by it. Despite having only a small window of time to familiarize herself with the character and the story, the actor was able to deliver a memorable and spectacular audition.

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Gosling recalled that McAdams’ audition was notably different from the other actors who tried out for the role. Rather than discussing details, McAdams wanted to dive in right away. “Every girl wanted to talk about the scene and the character and all these things and we talked about it like just endlessly,” Gosling shared about the other women auditioning for the coveted role in The Notebook. “But Rachel came in and we said ‘You want to talk about it?’ she’s like ‘No.’ we’re like ‘Nothing? You don’t want to…’ she’s ‘No no no just let’s do it.'”

McAdams’ audition moved the casting director to tears

At McAdams’ request, they immediately dove into the scene. Gosling recalls that McAdams was really prepared, ready to try anything, and unintimidated. Once they really got into the meat of the scene, there was hardly a dry eye in the room. In fact, the casting director for The Notebook had to stop recording for a moment so that he could get a tissue because he was moved to tears by McAdams’ and Gosling’s performance.

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams | Ray Mickshaw/WireImage for New Line Cinema

“So we sat down did the first scene and Nick [Cassavetes, who directed The Notebook] was like ‘OK let’s do the next scene’ and we did the next scene and we were all sort of crying and like Matthew Berry, the casting director, was filming and he had to stop and get a tissue and stuff,” McAdams recalled. “It was really nice.”

The chemistry between McAdams and Ryan Gosling was electric

McAdams continued on to share that by the time she and Gosling got to the third scene of the audition, it was clear that the chemistry was pretty electric. The actor also called her audition for The Notebook the “best audition experience I’ve ever had.” “I just walked into that room and I was just in another world,” the Mean Girls alum shared. ‘I just couldn’t catch my breath.” Clearly, McAdams’ emotional audition was a premonition for what was to come. After seeing her performance in the movie, it’s obvious that she was the best person for the part.