Nick Cassavetes, director of The Notebook, revealed that stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams frequently fought while filming, and it got so bad that Gosling once asked to have McAdams removed from set.

To celebrate the film’s tenth anniversary – The Notebook came out in 2004 – Vh1 spoke with director Cassavetes about the production of the film, including the casting of the two leads, McAdams and Gosling.

Ryan Gosling Asked For Rachel McAdams To Leave

Despite their off screen relationship, Cassavetes revealed that Gosling and McAdams would often butt heads on set. In fact, one day, tensions ran so high that Gosling took Cassavetes aside and asked if McAdams could be asked to leave the set.

“Maybe I’m not supposed to tell this story, 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 recounted.

Instead of fulfilling Gosling’s request, Cassavetes decided to force the two actors to work through their problems before carrying on with the shoot.

“We went into a room with a producer; 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,” Cassavetes said.

Ryan Gosling Improvised "What Do You Want?"

Cassavetes admitted that he encouraged the actors to come to set with their own ideas on the character and where they wanted the story to go. He also believed in letting the actors do a bit of improvisation, which led to one of the most iconic lines from the film.

“There was a scene at the end where Ryan improvised, ‘What do you want? What do you want?’ And it became one of the most iconic things from the film [that] wasn’t in the script. He just knew it. I’m a literary guy, I was a lit major in college and I like words, but I also like improvisation, [so] that’s fine. But he was so on it. We just let him go. They deserve all the credit in the world, those guys. They were committed to their characters and both of them are terrific artists in their own right. Really, really top-notch artists. I would love to work with them [again],” Cassavetes added.


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