Along with being one of the most popular romance movies of the last several decades, The Notebook also played a huge role in boosting Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams careers. Gosling and McAdams respectively played lovers Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton, with James Garner and Gena Rowlands appearing as the older versions of Noah and Allie. However, had production on The Notebook unfolded differently, we could have seen George Clooney and Paul Newman both occupying the Noah role.
While recently promoting his new movie The Midnight Sky, George Clooney revealed that both he and Paul Newman were being lined up to star in The Notebook. So why didn’t work out with these two, with Ryan Gosling and James Garner being cast instead? Clooney said on this:
“Paul and I talked about doing it, and we were sitting there one day and I was looking at him and I go, ‘I can’t do this movie, Paul.’ He was like, ‘Why?’ I was like, ‘Because everybody knows what you look like at 30 years old. You got blue eyes, I got brown eyes. You are too famous at 30 for me to be playing you at 30, it’s never gonna work’. And he’s like, ‘I guess you are right.”
George Clooney had a point. By the time Paul Newman hit his mid-30s, he’d already scored acclaim from movies like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Hustler, so it was easy enough for people to recollect how he’d looked at that point in this decades later. As a result, George Clooney felt this properly match Newman’s features enough for him to be playing the younger Noah Calhoun.
As for how The Notebook turned out its final form, while it was initially met with mixed reception among professional critics, it continues to be a fan favourite over 15 years after its release. Commercially, it pulled in over $116 million off a $29 million budget.