News

21 Most Memorable Movie Moments: A Kiss in the Rain from The Notebook (2004)

Director Nick Cassavetes reveals why Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams were perfect for Noah and Allie, and how the kiss changed everything for the characters – and the actors.

by | June 25, 2019 | Comments

Watch: Nick Cassavetes on the famous kiss in the rain from The Notebook above.

In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes turns 21, and to mark the occasion we’re celebrating the 21 Most Memorable Moments from the movies over the last 21 years. In this special video series, we speak to the actors and filmmakers who made those moments happen, revealing behind-the-scenes details of how they came to be and diving deep into why they’ve stuck with us for so long. Once we’ve announced all 21, it will be up to you, the fans, to vote for which is the most memorable moment of all. In this episode of our ‘21 Most Memorable Moments’ series, director Nick Cassavetes takes us behind the scenes – and the drama – of The Notebook’most famous scene. 

VOTE FOR THIS MOMENT IN OUR 21 MOST MEMORABLE MOVIE MOMENTS POLL


The Movie: The Notebook (2004) 53%

It would be hard to argue that there is a more beloved romantic film from the last 21 years than The Notebook, the movie about forbidden love and stashed-away letters and rain-soaked makeout sessions that – for better or worse – kicked off a deluge of Nicholas Sparks romance adaptations. The story of poor boy Noah and rich girl Allie and their bumpy road to romance struck a serious chord with audiences, if not critics (despite its lasting impact, the movie is actually Rotten on the Tomatometer at 53%). The Notebook was nothing new – and Sparks had been adapted before with A Walk to Remember and Message in a Bottle – but it was beautifully handled, and packed with indelible moments that still set the heart racing and tears flowing. And then there were the performances. We will never forget the tenderness between the older Noah and Allie, played by James Garner and Gena Rowlands, and the heat between the younger Noah and Allie, played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. As the film turns 15, we spoke with director Nick Cassavetes, who happens to be Rowlands’ son, about how he found the perfect couple to bring The Notebook to life.

“The character of the relationship was: they never agreed on anything.”

“A lot of the book is very sweet: ‘I love you, I love that you love me, I love the fact that you love the fact that I love you.’ It was a lot of overstating of love, which was not this particular director’s experience. I’ve been in love, and they said, ‘Well, what is your experience?’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s a lot of arguing.’ And so, the couple, we conceived them as they argued, and even though it was forbidden fruit and she came back and the audience wanted something to happen and pretty much we knew it was gonna happen, they had to still retain their character – the character of the relationship was: they never agreed on anything.”

The Notebook

Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. (Photo by © New Line Cinema)

“I was convinced that Ryan was maybe a generational talent.”

“I was convinced after seeing Ryan in The Believer that he was maybe a generational talent. And so when I approached him, I said, ‘I don’t want to make the movie unless you do it. I have big, apple pie feelings about love, and I want the person who plays this part to be a good representative of the male species… and the guy’s gotta be you.’ And apparently he responds to that. He was in on all the casting and our great casting director, Matt Barry, brought in all the top young people, a lot of people I had never heard of when they came in. The studio was very, very, very lenient in this process. I think that they were just a really great studio to work for back then, New Line, and they said, ‘Cast whoever you want.’ They would’ve preferred if I had cast Katie Beckinsale or [someone else]… but they said, ‘The best actress wins.’”

“Ryan says, ‘Give her my salary, I don’t care. We have to have her.'”

“It was really one day of actresses coming in, and a lot of well-known people came in that day. Going into the very last performance, it was Jessie Biel that looked like a shoo-in to walk away with the part. And I had already kind of made plans in my mind for her to do the role. I remember I walked out right before Rachel came in to audition. I wanted to kind of like walk out and pretend, like, go to my car and see how many more people were there, because the audition process is always a deeply stressful kind of a process for me, so I was hoping it would be over soon. And there was only one girl out there and she had a little short haircut and was smoking a cigarette and I can’t remember if it was a leather jacket, but some kind of like a little punky jacket. I’m like, ‘Oh, good, there’s only one more girl.’ This girl came in and she just lit it up. I didn’t know who she was. She photographs great, she’s a beautiful girl, and she’s a fighter, man. She is a hell of an executor. And when Ryan started to play a little bit during the scenes, she was right there with him and he got excited and then we read another scene, and we read another scene. And after the audition, he said, ‘I don’t care what happens, we have to have her.’ I said, ‘No, I know that. We’ll get her.’ He says, ‘Give her my salary, I don’t care. We have to have her.’ I said, ‘You don’t need to give her your salary. We’re gonna hire her.’ And we did.”

The Notebook

McAdams was one of the last actors to audition for the role of Allie. (Photo by © New Line Cinema)


The Moment: A Kiss in the Rain 

“I wrote you 365 letters – I wrote you every day for a year.” With that line, Gosling’s Noah breaks the tension between him and Allie and what follows is a kiss for the ages. And for the posters. And for the meme-makers. It also broke the tension between the two actors involved, says Cassavetes, who walks us through how he created a rainstorm and the movie’s defining moment.

“It’ll be better if they get caught in a thunderstorm.”

“We shot at a pier in a place that was adjacent to where the house was. It was a bright, beautiful, sunny day and it just didn’t feel right. So we shut it down and we came back, and I said, ‘Bring some rain machines in and try to find me a cloudy day. It’ll be better if they get caught in a thunderstorm.’ So we shot the whole thunderstorm sequence. It was one of the coldest days – poor Rachel and Ryan were champions that day because it was in the wintertime. We brought the rain machines in and it seemed to just heighten the sensuality for the scene.”

The Notebook

The famous kiss in the rain between Gosling’s Noah and McAdams’s Allie. (Photo by © New Line Cinema)

“You know, the weird thing about the rain is too much kind of looks fake.”

“It was easy [to create the downpour]. There are some generators and there are rain towers, which don’t necessarily look good. We didn’t have a lot of money on the film, so we just had standard rain towers, which are just big metal tripod-y things that have big sprinklers at the top and you localize the rain. You put the camera where you want it and then you put the unfortunate stand-ins in the spot and then you adjust the sprinklers until it looks like it’s raining – because there are places where it can get blotty, it can get thin or overdone. You just set the scene and basically for that area it is raining. It’s just not raining anywhere else. You know, the weird thing about the rain is too much kind of looks fake. You gotta get a right balance and also you have to light it right, otherwise it’s very easy for rain to look manufactured. But it was plenty enough to get all their clothes wet and all that kind of stuff that everybody likes.”

“Initially they didn’t get along. And I think it’s because they had so much beneath the surface.”

“There was [tension between Ryan and Rachel] initially. I kind of just ran my mouth in an interview a long time ago and I heard that they were upset about it, that I had said something negative about it or revealed something about it, but it’s true. Rachel and Ryan were kind of insular actors. They were each doing their own thing and it was really great, but initially they didn’t get along. And I think it’s because they had so much beneath the surface, chemistry. It all boiled over one day and I said, ‘You two guys get in a room and go with a producer – this sounds like a producer problem, not a director problem.’ I stuck the producer and the two of them in a trailer. There was much heated dialogue and when they came out, it wasn’t resolved but it was much, much better. And pretty soon it was fabulous, it was fabulous.”

The Notebook

McAdams and Gosling went on to have a relationship off-camera, too. (Photo by © New Line Cinema)

“When that door got unlocked, I didn’t need to direct nothing.”

“When you saw the kids come together, it was like a car crash. There was something built up between these two kids, and it has nothing to do with directing. Because when we turned the cameras on, the scene was like: He’s mad at her, she’s mad at him, and then he says that he wrote her every day, and that’s the key that unlocks the door. And when that door got unlocked, I didn’t need to direct nothing. These kids were on each other and I think that a lot of it was character, but a lot of it was … They wound up together for many years after the movie, which is…I don’t know if I’m proud of it, but I think it’s fantastic that they found each other like that. And I think that was the moment, because they weren’t together before that kiss. But they were together after that kiss, so maybe that was one of the deciding moments.”


The Impact: A Modern Romance Classic

Want a sense of the impact of The Notebook? Go to your local multiplex sometime. The preponderance of posters featuring two young lovers staring with un-ironic longing at each other can be traced back to the success of Cassavetes’ movie. It was a sleeper hit, opening without much noise but going on to become the 15th highest-grossing romantic drama ever; and more than that, it was a pop-culture phenomenon. (We will never forget the Ryan Reynolds-Conan O’Brien parody.) It also made mega stars of McAdams and Gosling, who would go on to have their own IRL romance and remain some of the most bankable leads in Hollywood. For Cassavetes, the movie hit a nerve for a simple reason: it was a kind of blueprint for what love could and should be.

The Notebook

Nick Cassavetes directing his mother, Gena Rowlands, who plated the older Allie. (Photo by © New Line Cinema)

“I think that people should strive to fall in love like that all the time.”

“I’m always stunned by the reaction that people have to the movie because, for me anyway, I think that people should strive to fall in love like that all the time. Otherwise, we live in such a fully, kind of convenient world where everything is at our fingertips. If you don’t love that hard, then I don’t see the point in it.”


The Notebook was released on June 25, 2004. Buy or rent it at FandangoNOW.

#1

The Notebook (2004)
53%

#1
Adjusted Score: 58574%
Critics Consensus: It's hard not to admire its unabashed sentimentality, but The Notebook is too clumsily manipulative to rise above its melodramatic clichés.
Synopsis: A man (James Garner) tells a story to a woman about two young people (Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams) who become... [More]
Directed By: Nick Cassavetes

Tag Cloud

Apple TV Plus travel teaser Spectrum Originals telelvision Winter TV Tomatazos Trophy Talk romantic comedy independent jurassic park VOD Freeform cartoon miniseries Masterpiece sports Showtime Netflix book Biopics Superheroe Epix FOX Teen Reality suspense Logo new star wars movies monster movies feel good social media Kids & Family spain versus TV movies A24 comic book movie YouTube Red Holiday Christmas E! Drama Tumblr new zealand Tubi rotten movies we love hist docudrama vampires screenings ratings space Horror X-Men Pride Month Musical 2016 Valentine's Day San Diego Comic-Con Thanksgiving NBA Comedy Election video DC Universe Hear Us Out king kong superhero foreign renewed TV shows 2015 Marathons anime composers hidden camera asian-american Sundance TV mockumentary The Walking Dead directors 90s History adaptation quibi CNN Brie Larson blockbusters Opinion Pacific Islander GLAAD sequels new york 2020 TCA 2017 HBO Paramount Plus Black History Month Pop TV rt archives chucky popular theme song Holidays aapi supernatural TCM Fox Searchlight RT History Calendar Avengers Summer Black Mirror Lionsgate dogs Legendary Netflix Christmas movies Disney 73rd Emmy Awards YouTube Premium Esquire Film Women's History Month TV renewals rom-coms Comic Book Television Critics Association BET Alien binge Cosplay olympics based on movie scary movies zero dark thirty The Purge SDCC 007 Pop Box Office boxoffice Video Games reboot japan Crackle spider-man 99% witnail Pet Sematary slashers franchise biography disaster book adaptation docuseries stop motion IFC Films casting LGBTQ Ovation green book ITV Star Wars Funimation Polls and Games marvel cinematic universe die hard Baby Yoda Travel Channel RT21 singing competition The Witch kids Paramount natural history sequel Amazon indiana jones 2019 MSNBC cops Cartoon Network Nominations Oscars Podcast streaming movies 1990s dexter The Academy hispanic crime Set visit Marvel south america hispanic heritage month PlayStation See It Skip It TCA Awards venice Image Comics romance comic VICE VH1 Amazon Prime fresh Red Carpet Fox News HBO Max Nat Geo politics Tokyo Olympics halloween tv Toys Sundance stoner WarnerMedia finale Ghostbusters 2021 twilight zombies werewolf talk show spanish TCA Winter 2020 CW Seed cats YA Countdown legend justice league best Hulu Music The Arrangement 24 frames trailers NBC comics psycho USA Network toy story Classic Film Tarantino pirates of the caribbean DirecTV golden globe awards debate 2018 Mindy Kaling Rocketman Britbox BET Awards video on demand Adult Swim sitcom children's TV Premiere Dates thriller elevated horror series Food Network doctor who gangster dc TV Land target Sneak Peek Western Television Academy italian The CW Mudbound HBO Go Dark Horse Comics Grammys Vudu Animation Country Anna Paquin DC streaming service documentaries OWN Extras hollywood scene in color NYCC Infographic prank crossover festivals Ellie Kemper Walt Disney Pictures Spring TV slasher Character Guide Trailer medical drama Hallmark Christmas movies discovery Disney Plus WGN worst National Geographic golden globes streaming rt labs Rock Columbia Pictures lord of the rings all-time razzies YouTube crime thriller TCA concert australia Song of Ice and Fire godzilla television Mary Tyler Moore anthology canceled Musicals FX on Hulu biopic Sony Pictures Pirates batman Universal First Reviews Mary poppins AMC nbcuniversal Certified Fresh comic books Cannes Peacock jamie lee curtis Apple TV+ New York Comic Con reviews CMT Shondaland spanish language robots war game show facebook nature Action animated E3 what to watch Comedy Central revenge posters laika a nightmare on elm street Endgame christmas movies Sundance Now Writers Guild of America ABC Signature 2017 basketball Emmy Nominations Amazon Studios blockbuster adenture zombie toronto rt labs critics edition American Society of Cinematographers Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cancelled TV series Star Trek black criterion unscripted Reality Competition Exclusive Video BAFTA 20th Century Fox Nickelodeon ID Arrowverse Awards Tour french Wes Anderson 45 action-comedy emmy awards ABC Family BBC America Hallmark Family live action MTV critic resources Watching Series PaleyFest transformers stand-up comedy boxing strong female leads cults james bond comiccon GIFs women 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards tv talk Best and Worst Heroines Binge Guide President OneApp scorecard latino Quiz diversity joker Acorn TV remakes know your critic LGBT Spike TLC Discovery Channel young adult TBS comic book movies Awards obituary true crime A&E 93rd Oscars festival aliens japanese Trivia The Walt Disney Company saw Superheroes high school cars Fall TV Paramount Network DC Comics mission: impossible Syfy period drama movies Turner archives fast and furious mcc Captain marvel worst movies Apple cancelled TV shows critics halloween serial killer Crunchyroll king arthur Shudder technology political drama Schedule kaiju BBC One Lifetime Christmas movies cinemax free movies spy thriller 71st Emmy Awards canceled TV shows TIFF Rocky historical drama Elton John dramedy TruTV Marvel Television Super Bowl comedies Film Festival game of thrones child's play GoT MCU breaking bad Disney Channel Academy Awards kong cooking Stephen King dark APB psychological thriller Chilling Adventures of Sabrina heist movie Rom-Com Lucasfilm mutant Sci-Fi Comic-Con@Home 2021 classics ESPN TNT cancelled television international Winners dragons Comics on TV sag awards ViacomCBS Turner Classic Movies science fiction Mary Poppins Returns TV One Chernobyl PBS El Rey blaxploitation ghosts Disney+ Disney Plus richard e. Grant TV CBS All Access Pixar BBC DGA indie Photos police drama wonder woman parents Creative Arts Emmys documentary Starz cancelled adventure marvel comics news IFC harry potter Marvel Studios ABC dceu superman name the review Amazon Prime Video Bravo FXX Fantasy screen actors guild films spinoff rotten Mystery Year in Review SXSW Disney streaming service Broadway Emmys deadpool Interview satire movie crime drama 72 Emmy Awards 4/20 football SundanceTV nfl Lifetime Martial Arts First Look award winner CBS Warner Bros. 21st Century Fox FX royal family USA universal monsters