Have you seen the romantic comedy America's Sweethearts? It's on cable constantly, and it did OK at the box office back in 2001. Anyways, it stars Catherine Zeta Jones and John Cusack as an on-screen power couple, the equivalent of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in a Nora Ephron joint. Only, off camera, they hate each other. Now, Hanks and Ryan didn't get to that point, but in a new book about Ephron's Rom-Com contributions, it's revealed that Hanks was a bit of a pill while filming the legendary Sleepless in Seattle, with the iconic A-list actor admitting:
I was an extremely cranky actor at that time. Coming in and saying, 'Why does the kid have so many good lines?' I had made enough movies to get smoked on a couple of occasions as well as thinking that I was a big shot and 'My voice must be heard.'
Where was Tom Hanks, on the path to becoming "Tom Hanks" when Sleepless in Seattle rolled around? Well, Hanks had a huge hit the year before with 1992's A League of Their Own. But prior to that, Hanks had been knocked off of his pedestal a few times thanks to the famously disastrous Bonfire of the Vanities in 1990, as well as Turner & Hooch and Punchline in the years before it. Yes, Hanks had Big, Dragnet and The Money Pit under his belt, as well. But his career was king of up and down before Sleepless in Seattle. Perhaps that's why he was cranky?
And yet, even in the anecdotes shared by the NY Daily News ahead of the release of "I'll Have What She's Having," author Erin Carlson's Nora Ephron book, Tom Hanks doesn't come off like a monster. He's annoyed at having to work with a kid... it's doubtful Hanks has been the first actor to complain about that. The story even goes on to explain that Hanks was sort of responsible for the first young actor who was cast as Jonah, named Nathan Watt, to be fired. A producer recalls:
Tom is being driven crazy and this boy keeps repeating dialog off-camera when Tom's trying to film a scene and he's not adding to the film right now.
Harsh. And so, Nathan Watt was replaced by Ross Malinger, and eventually, we got this bit of gold.
True fans of romantic comedies, especially the trio of the late Nora Ephron's Gold Standard films, will want to grab a copy of "I'll Have What She's Having." It has great stories about the filming of When Harry Met Sally, as well as the troubles Meg Ryan went through trying to ditch the label of America's Sweetheart when filming You've Got Mail. Do you dig these behind-the-scenes anecdotes? Or do they make you think differently about your favorite stars?