The Notebook (2004)

Behind every great love is a great story.

The movie focuses on an old man reading a story to an old woman in a nursing home. The story he reads follows two young lovers named Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun, who meet one evening at a carnival. But they are separated by Allie’s parents who dissaprove of Noah’s unwealthy family, and move Allie away. After waiting for Noah to write her for several years, Allie meets and gets engaged to a handsome young soldier named Lon. Allie, then, with her love for Noah still alive, stops by Noah’s 200-year-old home that he restored for her, “to see if he’s okay”. It is evident that they still have feelings for each other, and Allie has to choose between her fiancé and her first love.


Rachel as: Allie
Other cast: Ryan Gosling (Noah), Gena Rowlands (Allie Calhoun), James Garner (Duke), Kevin Connolly (Fin)
Alternative Title: None
Directed by: Nick Cassavetes
Written by: Jeremy Leven (Screenplay), Jan Sardi (Adaption), Nicholas Sparks (Novel)
Production Status: Available on DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital HD
World Premiere: May 20, 2004 at Seattle International Film Festival
Theatrical Release: June 25, 2004 (US & UK)
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rated: PG-13 for some sexuality
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Run time: 123 min
Production budget: $29.000.000 (Estimated)
Box office: $81,001,787 (US) | $115,603,229 (Worldwide)
Producers: Lynn Harris, Mark Johnson, Toby Emmerich, Avram Butch Kaplan
Original Music by: Aaron Zigman
Cinematography by: Robert Fraisse

Related Media

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Production Notes

Rachel McAdams describes Cassavetes as “fierce and passionate. He’s very smart, and he’s also willing to listen to other ideas,” she describes. “Sometimes he pushed us really hard, but afterward you realized you’ve learned a great deal. It’s something that will be with you always – a life lesson.”

Though initially thrown off by Cassavetes’ style of not using a video assist monitor, Joan Allen ultimately found it an exciting part of the process. “He picks a spot because he likes to watch the action live,” she says. “It’s sweet that he likes to see it really happening in front of him. I’m kind of old fashioned, and I really like that. He likes to get very specific and original, and really thinks about what each moment means.”

When it came time to begin the casting process, Nick Cassavetes brought Ryan Gosling on board first. Says Gosling, “The Notebook was certainly different from anything else I’ve ever done. It gave me an opportunity to play a character over a period of time – from 1940 to 1946 – that was quite profound and formative. I felt that nobody would want me for a part like this except for Nick, because he’s crazy and brave enough to cast me. I knew I was not going to get another opportunity like that again.”

The filmmakers then conducted a nationwide search to find the right actress to play the young Allie. “When Rachel McAdams came in and read, it was apparent that she was the one,” Nick Cassavetes remembers. “She and Ryan had great chemistry between them.”

Gosling has high praise for his young co-star. “She just constantly delivers,” he says. “No matter how uncomfortable or challenging circumstances of filming might have gotten, she went toe to toe for every take. She just won over the whole crew with her drive – it was pretty impressive and motivating for all of us.”

McAdams fell in love with the story, and responded to the time periods in which the film unfolds. “It’s a beautiful love story that spans different periods of time, and you get to see it from the beginning to the end,” she says. “It’s very epic and has lots of ups and downs – the fighting, the joys, the sadness, the tragedy and the reuniting. It’s got all the good stuff that big, huge love stories possess.”

Continue to read production notes

Production Process

Late August 2002 it was reported Rachel and Gena Rowlands signed on to star alongside Rachel in “The Notebook.” In late October 2002 it was reported that Sam Shepard rounded out the cast, which already included Joan Allen, James Garner, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams and Gena Rowlands. Rachel begin two months prior to filming to start preparing and doing research for the movie in Charleston. Principal photography began on November 7, 2002 in and around Charleston. The movie continued to film in South Carolina, Carolina and Québec in late 2002, early 2003.

Trivia & Facts

  • Other actresses besides Rachel who are rumored to have been under consideration for the role of Allie included Ashley Judd , Britney Spears and Reese Witherspoon
  • Rachel auditioned for the role during another movie’s premiere
  • She was given the script just a day in advance. She beat nine other actresses for the role. The scenes used during her audition included the one of Allie’s and Noah’s argument at the end after Allie and her mother return from their morning drive

  • Rachel and Ryan Gosling were both born in London, Ontario, Canada
  • Rachel was (one of the last) actresses who auditioned for Allie; she was in town for another project and read the script the evening before she auditioned
  • Channing Tatum (Step Up, Dear John), Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four, December Boys) and Mark Wahlberg (The Figther, The Lovely Bones) all picked “The Notebook” as their favorite romantic movie when NextMovie asked them
  • The Notebook was filmed before Mean Girls but was released in theaters after
  • Quotes from Rachel

    “It was very intense and I was very tired but Nick and I both knew that I needed to get to that point where I was out of my head and totally in my body, totally in this life of this wild child that Allie is and it sort of took those extremes and took being pushed and not knowing what I was doing all the time but trusting him and vice versa. It was quite an experience and I would do it all over again.”
    On the emotional proportion (CineCon)

    “Yeah, of course. And even Ryan, he’s been working for a long time. And Sam Shepard, I studied in school, so to go from this academic sort of adoring him from a far to standing in the mud in Charleston with him and say, ‘Okay, this is going to be my boyfriend’s dad,’ so to speak, and then you get over that and you find that they heighten your acting. ”
    On working with established actors (Canoe)

    “Ryan and I didn’t know each other too well, so you get to have that little piece of newness, getting to know each other and all those other ‘newnesses’ come along with it, so as strange as movie making is, doing love scenes for the first time with someone you’ve never even said hello to, does work in terms of having a fresh quality to a relationship.”
    On creating chemistry between Ryan and herself (Dark Horizon)

    “We auditioned together, yes, and that was impressive to me when Lynn Harris, the producer, told me that Ryan and Nick had been on a tour of the country looking for Allie Hamilton. That impressed me, first, when I talked to her, and then to go in… They were both very open and, “No pressure, we’ll just take it slow.” They were really tough scenes and we just went from there. It was great to have him there.”
    On her audition with Ryan (About)

    Quotes from Cast & Crew

    “All I knew was that [Rachel] was a force to be reckoned with. How was I going to reckon with it, I had no idea. She’s not someone you can ever dismiss or out into any category. She’s many things.”
    Ryan Gosling, co-star (W Magazine)

    “She was inspiring. You know, she’s just like Allie in the movie: She laughs like that, she talks like that. She’s elated one minute and devastated the next. She’s a very real person. You tend to forget what real people are in this business but she was a jolt of reality, you know?”
    Ryan Gosling, co-star (Unknown)

    “I think Rachel is really – she’s got chops, ya know. What’s interesting is that I really don’t think we would have made the film if we hadn’t found Rachel. Really this is Rachel’s movie. If this is a car, she’s driving it and we’re in it. So it all, for me, depended on finding somebody that could do that and also play a young Gena [Rowlands] because Gena’s probably one of the best actors ever, so it’s kind of tricky.”
    Ryan Gosling, co-star (Unknown)

    “Rachel’s fun as hell. She’s a great person to be around. [She’d] do a heart-wrenching scene with Joan Allen screaming at each other and then yell cut and she’s off making jokes and having a good time on the set. She’s a true talent and she’s really amazing. She’s gives a pretty head-turning performance in this and she was put to the test on this with some of the best actors around. She really had to carry the emotional cargo in this, she carried most of the emotional load of this movie. And she makes it work and Ryan makes it work too [with their] relationship. You gotta believe that those two are James Garner and Gena Rowlands in love at the end of the movie.”
    James Marsden, co-star (IGN)

    Critical Reception

    “The filmmakers got it right when they chose Gosling, McAdams, Marsden, James Garner and Gena Rowlands. Each of these actors is pitch-perfect. Each brings a freshness to these characters. Even though we’ve seen the same types of characters before, these actors makes them feel interesting and unique.”
    Rebecca Murray (About)

    “These snippets of scenes between Garner and Rowlands are nice and sweet, but the investment in Gosling and McAdams is what makes them pay off in the end.”
    Bill Beyrer (CinemaBlend)

    “Ms. McAdams, who played the alpha queen in ”Mean Girls,” matches Mr. Gosling’s Noah in idiosyncratic verve. Impulsive, giggly and combative, she exudes the air of a careless rich girl bursting out of a bubble.”
    Stephen Holden (New York Times)

    The movie currently holds a 52% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and 53 score at Meta Critics

    Awards & Nominations

    ★ 2005 MTV Movie Awards as Best Kiss (Rachel McAdams & Ryan Gosling)
    ★ 2005 Teen Choice Awards as Choice Movie Actress: Drama
    ★ 2005 Teen Choice Awards as Choice Movie Love Scene (Rachel McAdams & Ryan Gosling)
    ★ 2005 Teen Choice Awards as Choice Movie Liplock (Rachel McAdams & Ryan Gosling)
    ★ 2005 Teen Choice Awards as Choice Movie Chemistry (Rachel McAdams & Ryan Gosling)
    ☆ 2005 Teen Choice Awards as Choice Movie Dance Scene (Rachel McAdams & Ryan Gosling)
    ☆ 2005 MTV Movie Awards as Best Female Performance
    ☆ 2004 Teen Choice Awards as Choice Breakout Movie Star – Female

    ★ = win ☆ = nomination | View entire list at IMDB

    Promotional Tour

    March 24th 2004 ShoWest New Line Cinema Tea Party Images
    June 7th 2004 Much Music Images
    June 16th 2004 Los Angeles Press Conference Images Videos
    June 21st 2004 Los Angeles Premiere Arrivals | After Party
    June 22nd 2004 Good Morning America Images Videos
    July 21st 2004 Private Screening Toronto Images
    June 4th 2005 MTV Movie Awards Arrivals | Show | Press Room | Backstage Videos
    August 14th 2005 Teen Choice Awards Arrivals | Show | Press Room | Backstage Videos

    View our news archive for the full news feed of this project