5 Nora Ephron Movie Scenes to Rewatch Before the Release of I’ll Have What She’s Having

by Erin Carlson, author of I’ll Have What She’s Having

I’ll Have What She’s Having, by Erin Carlson, offers a backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at five iconic Nora Ephron movie moments to rewatch in preparation for the release of the book on August 29th!

1. The Empire State building scene in Sleepless in Seattle
No one can forget the adorable scene where little Jonah flies to New York and goes to the observation deck to search for his ‘new mom’ aka Meg Ryan’s character, Annie Reed. “Hovering overhead, a helicopter camera captured the scene below — just barely — since radio waves from the building’s antenna scrambled most of the footage,” says Carlson.

2. Any scene shot at The Shop Around the Corner in You’ve Got Mail
The Shop Around the Corner is the quaint bookstore owned by Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen Kelly, in the film. The store was inspired by Books of Wonder on West 18th Street, one of the city’s last independent children’s bookstores, and a regular haunt of Ephron’s since its opening. “The set had a functional coffee bar; people on the street would walk in thinking it was a real bookstore,” say Carlson.

3. The ‘restaurant scene’ in When Harry Met Sally
The most famous scene in When Harry Met Sally is undoubtedly the scene where Meg Ryan’s character, Sally Albright, fakes an orgasm in the middle of Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side, but did you know that Katz’s wasn’t the film crew’s first location choice? “They wanted Carnegie Deli, the famed pastrami purveyor further uptown, but failed to make a deal due to cost and schedule restrictions. They needed a full day; Carnegie wasn’t prepared to close up shop for some movie,” says Carlson.

4. The supermarket scene in You’ve Got Mail
This is the scene where Tom Hanks’ character, Joe Fox, sweet-talks a humorless cashier (Sara Ramirez) into letting Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen Kelly, use her credit card in the cash-only line. The scene was shot at Zabar’s and the longtime manager, Steve Goldshine, was an extra. Amusingly, he had to change into a sweater vest after his outfit was judged too similar to Tom’s suit and tie. The shoot was done overnight. “Filming ended right on time at 5:55 a.m. And that was the last time Zabar’s let in a Hollywood crew,” says Carlson.

5. The final scene of When Harry Met Sally (*spoiler alert*)
The dramatic declaration of love by Billy Crystal’s character, Harry Burns, to Meg Ryan’s character, Sally Albright, on New Year’s Eve as people in the background are counting down to midnight was a point of contention between Nora Ephron and director Rob Reiner. “We had a huge battle about this,” Ephron said. “Rob wanted him to say basically, ‘I’ve been thinking it over and I love you.’ I wanted him to talk about her. I said, ‘This guy has been a narcissist for the entire movie. It’s time for him to talk about what it is about her that’s important.’ It was a gigantic fight, and the result is a scene that has both of those things in it.”

I’ll Have What She’s Having by Erin Carlson

Erin Carlson has covered the entertainment industry for The Hollywood Reporter and AP. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Fortune, and the LA Times. She compiled and wrote an oral history of You’ve Got Mail for Vanity Fair. To pre-order her book I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy, visit https://goo.gl/2RZEt3

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