We all have our own favorite romantic comedy. There’s simply been too many great ones to universally agree on one. That being said, there are a few classics that really need to appear somewhere on any competent "Best Of" list. When Harry Met Sally is one of those. Interestingly, however, it turns out a ton of the film’s most classic scenes and lines were actually written out of heartbreak and straight up platonic friendship.
Nora Ephron wrote When Harry Met Sally, but prior to the film getting remade, it was collaboratively re-written by Ephron, director Rob Reiner and lead actor Billy Crystal. At the time, Reiner’s marriage to the legendary Penny Marshall was failing, and he and Crystal hung out and talked on the phone constantly to help him cope. During that bonding time, many of the film’s most touching exchanges between Harry and Sally happened for real... between Rob and Billy.
Here's what Crystal had to say during an interview with Entertainment Weekly...
At first, Reiner was reportedly less than excited about the idea of letting Crystal basically write his own personality into newer drafts of the script, but after some back-and-forths, he decided to let the actor get personal and more importantly, to let him include all of these items and conversations that were plucked straight from their lives. That decision, along with the casting of Meg Ryan, helped to turn what could have been a marginal romantic comedy into movie magic.
Humorously enough, that Ryan casting took a little more luck than you might think. The starlet read alongside Billy Crystal for Throw Mama From The Train the year before, and Crystal fell in love with her immediately. In fact, he reportedly begged director Danny DeVito to cast her, but he ultimately decided go with someone older. To this day, Crystal wonders what may have happened if she was cast in the first film. Would Rob Reiner have been okay with still putting her in When Harry Met Sally? We’ll never know.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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