Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams’ real-life relationship oddly mirrored the love between their iconic characters in The Notebook, but not always in the best ways.
The former couple captured the hearts of romantics when they portrayed Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun in the 2004 film, which is based on Nicolas Sparks’ best-selling novel by the same name. The star-crossed lovers’ story showed handsome, brooding working-class Noah determined to win the heart of snarky, well-to-do Allie, despite the displeasure of her parents and her many suitors. And the chase is filled with almost tangible passion and chemistry.
The two have moments of syrupy sweetness, uncomfortable desire, and emotional outrage as they lead into their eventual happy and then heartbreaking ending. And their on-screen feelings are more than believable to audiences, which may be because the stars were going through similar motions offscreen.
‘The Notebook’ Director Said the Stars Did ‘Not Get Along’
Director Nick Cassavetes once admitted that the actors shared the same innate ability to make each other furious that young Allie and Noah did. He explained that their frustrations reached an all-out scream-fest before they finally figured out how to work and be together.
“Maybe I’m not supposed to tell this story,” he said, via Time. “But they were really not getting along one day on set. Really not. And Ryan came to me, and there’s 150 people standing in this big scene. And he says, ‘Nick come here.’ And he’s doing a scene with Rachel, and he says, ‘Would you take her out of here and bring in another actress to read off-camera with me?’ I said, ‘What?” He says, “I can’t. I can’t do it with her. I’m just not getting anything from this.’
Cassavetes recalled being so stressed about the mounting situation that resorted to chain-smoking. And when Gosling asked him to replace the leading lady, he decided he couldn’t take it anymore. So he locked Gosling and McAdams in a room together and told them to just have at it.
“We went into a room with a producer,” he recalled. “They started screaming and yelling at each other. I walked out. At that point, I was smoking cigarettes. I smoked a cigarette, and everybody came out like, ‘All right let’s do this.’ And it got better after that, you know? They had it out… I think Ryan respected her for standing up for her character. And Rachel was happy to get that out in the open. The rest of the film wasn’t smooth sailing, but it was smoother sailing.”
Interestingly, Gosling and McAdams’ real romance worked out a bit like Noah and Allie’s. After battling passion and anger during filming, they parted ways before reconnecting.
While talking to E News, Gosling said he ran into McAdams in New York City two years later, and sparks flew. They ended up dating for two years before calling it off. Gosling said fame eventually broke them up. But even after splitting, they’ve both admitted on several occasions that they will always love each other.
“God bless The Notebook,” Gosling told GQ in 2007. “It introduced me to one of the great loves of my life. But people do Rachel and me a disservice by assuming we were anything like the people in that movie. Rachel and my love story is a hell of a lot more romantic than that.”
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