15 Heartfelt Facts About Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle was a meta-rom-com that managed to comment—both humorously and seriously—on the unrealistic expectations of love that the grand romantic movies of the past have bestowed on their audiences, while being one of the most popular romantic movies ever filmed. Here are 15 facts about the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan classic that will help you sleep better at night.

1. IT WAS NORA EPHRON’S FIRST MAJOR DIRECTORIAL JOB.

She was behind the camera for 1992’s This Is My Life first, but Sleepless in Seattle proved to be her first big hit as director. Ephron also co-wrote the Oscar nominated screenplay with Jeff Arch and David S. Ward. (Nora’s sister, author-screenwriter-playwright Delia Ephron, did an uncredited “punch up” to make the movie funnier.)

2. SHE HAD A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THE MOVIE THAT SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE REFERENCES.

There is a lot of talk of—and intentional plot points taken from—the 1957 Cary Grant movie An Affair to Remember. When the film came out, Ephron’s mother took her teenage daughter to see it. After the happy ending concluded, and while Eprhon was still in tears, her mother introduced her to the star of the movie.

3. JULIA ROBERTS TURNED DOWN THE LEAD.

In a 2014 interview with InStyle, the Oscar-winning actress shared that she had been "offered Sleepless in Seattle but couldn't do it," adding that, "[Meg Ryan] and Tom Hanks are just such a jewel of a fit in that. I guess what they did for that moment in time is sort of what Richard [Gere] and I were doing across town (in the 1990 film Pretty Woman), you know?"

4. TOM HANKS ALSO TURNED IT DOWN.

Before Ephron took a pass at rewriting the script, Hanks was offered the lead and said no, as he didn’t think he was right for the part.

5. JASON SCHWARTZMAN AUDITIONED TO PLAY HANKS' SON, JONAH.

They went with Ross Malinger instead. Malinger retired from acting in 2006 to manage a car shop in Malibu.

6. PARKER POSEY WAS CUT OUT OF HER FEATURE DEBUT.

If the actress's scene hadn’t been cut, Sleepless in Seattle would have been Posey's first acting role in a Hollywood movie. Ephron kindly sent her a note to say that it wasn’t her fault that her scene was taken out. In 1998, Posey reunited with Ephron, Hanks, and Ryan for You've Got Mail.

7. SAM AND ANNIE LIVED IN CHICAGO AT THE SAME TIME (BEFORE THE EDITOR GOT A HOLD OF IT).

A first act scene was shot which revealed that Annie (Ryan) had at some point lived in Chicago at the same time as Sam (Hanks). Editor Robert Reitano cut it.

8. EPHRON ATTEMPTED TO RE-CREATE A NEW YORKER COVER IN THE OPENING SCENE.

The Chicago skyline is well showcased at the funeral. It was meant to evoke Saul Steinberg’s 1976 New Yorker cover, View of the World From 9th Avenue, that shows Manhattan as the center of the world.

9. EPHRON WAS THE VOICE OF A DEPRESSED PERSON.

The director voiced one of the radio callers, "Disappointed in Denver.”

10. ANNIE WALKED OUT OF THE SAME DOOR IN BALTIMORE THAT SAM DID IN SEATTLE.

The door was actually shipped almost 3000 miles to help connect the two main actors.

11. THE SOUP NAZI WAS REFERENCED IN THE FILM, TWO YEARS BEFORE SEINFELD DID.

When a writer in Annie’s office was pitching a story and talked of a man that “sells the greatest soup you have ever eaten” while simultaneously doubling as “the meanest man in America,” he was talking about Ali “Al” Yeganeh, the proprietor of Soup Kitchen International. For what it’s worth, Yeganeh is from Iran, not Germany.

12. TOM HANKS ARGUED THAT HIS CHARACTER WOULD TRY HARDER TO GET LAID.

In the script, Sam opts out of spending the night with Victoria because Jonah gets upset. Hanks argued to Ephron that it was “horseshit." After not getting some for four years, Sam would leave Jonah to cry with the babysitter and go be with his girlfriend. The solution was to have Sam determined to leave for the night until Jonah snuck off to get on a plane to New York.

13. BILL PULLMAN WAS TOLD HE WOULD HAVE A BIGGER ROLE.

According to the actor who played Annie’s allergy-afflicted boyfriend Walter, the movie was described to him as more of a The Philadelphia Story situation: a love triangle where he would play the Jimmy Stewart to Hanks’s Cary Grant (there’s that name again) and Ryan’s Katharine Hepburn.

14. THEY FILMED IN SEATTLE DURING A DROUGHT.

Water trucks had to be brought in to make some rain. The waste of water angered the city.

15. TRISTAR GOT 25 TO 30 PHONE CALLS A DAY FROM PEOPLE WANTING TO KNOW WHAT TIRAMISU WAS.

Since Rob Reiner’s character Jay only used tiramisu as a word for a sexual act, without mentioning that it was also an Italian dessert, some moviegoers resorted to calling the distributor of the film for answers. (It was the pre-mental_floss or Google days of 1993, after all.) Reiner has gone on record to say that he finds tiramisu "overrated."

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
David Lynch's Amazon T-Shirt Shop is as Surreal as His Movies
Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images
Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images

David Lynch, the celebrated director behind baffling-but-brilliant films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and Twin Peaks, is now selling his equally surreal T-shirts on Amazon.

As IndieWire reports, each shirt bears an image of one of Lynch’s paintings or photographs with an accompanying title. Some of his designs are more straightforward (the shirts labeled “House” and “Whale” feature, respectively, drawings of a house and a whale), while others are obscure (the shirt called “Chicken Head Tears” features a disturbing sculpture of a semi-human face).

This isn’t the first time Lynch has ventured into pursuits outside of filmmaking. Previously, he has sold coffee, designed furniture, produced music, hosted daily weather reports, and published a book about his experience with transcendental meditation. Art, in fact, falls a little closer to Lynch’s roots; the filmmaker trained for years at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before making his mark in Hollywood.

Lynch’s Amazon store currently sells 57 T-shirts, ranging in size from small to triple XL, all for $26 each. As for our own feelings on the collection, we think they’re best reflected by this T-shirt named “Honestly, I’m Sort of Confused.”

Check out some of our favorites below:

T-shirt that says "Honestly, I'm Sort of Confused"
"Honestly, I'm Sort of Confused"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with a drawing of a sleeping bird on it
"Sleeping Bird"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt that says Peace on Earth over and over again. The caption is pretty on the nose.
"Peace on Earth"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an image of a screaming face made out of turkey with ants in its mouth
"Turkey Cheese Head"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an odd sculpted clay face asking if you know who it is. You get the idea.
"I Was Wondering If You Know Who I Am?"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an image of a sculpted head that is not a chicken. It is blue, though.
"Chicken Head Blue"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with a drawing of a lobster on it. Below the drawing, the lobster is labeled with the word lobster. Shocking, I know.
"Lobster"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an abstract drawing of what is by David Lynch's account, at least, a cowboy
"Cowboy"

Buy it on Amazon

[h/t IndieWire]

arrow
entertainment
S-Town Podcast Is Being Turned Into a Movie

S-Town, a seven-part podcast from Serial and This American Life, has all the trappings of a binge-worthy story. It all started when a man from the tiny town of Woodstock, Alabama asked a reporter to investigate a local man from a wealthy family who allegedly boasted he had gotten away with murder.

As for what happens next, “someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man's life,” reads the 2017 podcast’s synopsis, without giving too much away.

Now, that riveting story is being turned into a movie with This American Life’s participation, IndieWire reports. Participant Media acquired the rights to the S-Town podcast, and negotiations are underway to get playwright Samuel Hunter and director Tom McCarthy on board. McCarthy is perhaps best known for directing and co-writing 2015's Oscar-winning Spotlight; he also co-wrote Up and was an executive producer and director for the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.

S-Town was downloaded over 10 million times over a period of four days after its release, and it received a Peabody Award for the radio/podcast category, according to IndieWire. Just last month, HBO and Sky announced they would be releasing a documentary series about Adnan Syed, the focus of the first season of the Serial podcast, which is developed by This American Life.

In case you missed S-Town when it premiered, you can go back and listen to it here.

[h/t IndieWire]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios