24 Heart-Warming Facts About "The Holiday"

Updated on December 11, 2018
Rachel M Johnson profile image

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.

2006's The Holiday is a sweet romantic comedy with an all-star cast including Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. The film tells the story of two women on opposites sides of the world, who decide to swap houses for the Christmas season in order to escape their complicated lives. Of course, romance and laughter ensues. When Christmas comes around, the film continues to become a beloved holiday staple. Here are 24 heart-warming facts about The Holiday.

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1. Director Nancy Meyers wrote the film with all four of the main actors (Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black) in mind. She fell in love with Black when she watched his performance in School of Rock, and envisioned the other actors during the writing process.

2. Jack Black was initially skeptical about doing a rom-com, but was instantly convinced when the director told him he'd be in a movie with Kate Winslet.

3. The website that Amanda and Iris use to exchange houses is an actual website you can go to and exchange your home.

4. Iris's house Rose Cottage Hill is not actually real. It was built in a field by the producers over the course of two days. Amanda's mansion, however, is actually real. The exteriors shots are of a home in San Marino, California.

5. During filming it snowed three times in Surrey, even though the crew had already hired a snow machine because they didn't think it actually would.

6. The famous "boob graze" line in the sushi bar came about because Jack Black accidentally grazed director Nancy Meyer's breast and she found the interaction so hilarious she decided to write it into the script.

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Kate Winslet (Iris), Jack Black (Miles), Cameron Diaz (Amanda) and Jude Law (Grant). Kate Winslet (Iris) & Jack Black (Miles).
Kate Winslet (Iris), Jack Black (Miles), Cameron Diaz (Amanda) and Jude Law (Grant).
Kate Winslet (Iris), Jack Black (Miles), Cameron Diaz (Amanda) and Jude Law (Grant). | Source
Kate Winslet (Iris) & Jack Black (Miles).
Kate Winslet (Iris) & Jack Black (Miles). | Source
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Rose Cottage Hill set.
Rose Cottage Hill set.
Rose Cottage Hill set. | Source
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7. When Miles (Jack Black) is humming film scores to Iris (Kate Winslet) in Blockbuster Video, he does Hans Zimmer's score from Driving Miss Daisy (1989). Zimmer also did the score for the movie.

8. Director Nancy Meyers is known in Hollywood for doing a large number of re-takes for any given scene, and during the shooting for the film she had shot the newspaper Christmas party scene many times. At the end of one take, Kate Winslet roused a good-natured laugh from everyone on set when she dropped to her knees in front of a table, clasped her hands together and began to pantomime a prayer for that to be the last take of the scene.

9. Jude Law and Kate Winslet had previously appeared in All the King's Men (2006) together, and would later star in Contagion (2011) together.

10. A few months after the film's release, the popularity of "house swapping" was on the rise, so much that police in England had to issue a warning against swapping homes with strangers due to identity fraud and murder.

11. Jude Law (Graham) has a real-life daughter named Iris. In the film, Graham's sister's (Kate Winslet's) name is Iris. The director and writers named the character for his daughter.

12. When Iris first arrives at Amanda's LA home, she picks out a film to watch before Jack Black's character arrives. The movie she selects is Punch-Drunk Love, a film that coincidentally is about an American man who dates a British women.

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Kate Winslet (Iris) in the office Christmas party scene.Kate Winslet & Jude Law at the U.K premiere of The Holiday.
Kate Winslet (Iris) in the office Christmas party scene.
Kate Winslet (Iris) in the office Christmas party scene. | Source
Kate Winslet & Jude Law at the U.K premiere of The Holiday.
Kate Winslet & Jude Law at the U.K premiere of The Holiday. | Source

13. The Blockbuster scene between Kate Winslet and Jack Black's characters was largely improvised. The crew had to remove all of their films from the video shop so it wouldn't be distracting to the audience.

14. Dustin Hoffman was never supposed to have a cameo in that scene. He was having lunch near the film shop's set, and stopped by because there were lots of cameras. He ended up appearing in the movie because he knew the director Nancy Meyers.

15. Jude Law's favorite part of the film was working with the little girls who played his daughters Sophie (Miffy Englefield) and Olivia (Emma Pritchard). It was their first film.

16. Cameron Diaz has said that the movie was one of her most physical roles to date because of all the running she had to do.

17. Director Nancy Meyers drew from her own clumsiness when creating Cameron Diaz's (Amanda's) character and quirks.

18. The interior sets for Amanda's house were built on a sound stage and cost approximately one million dollars to create, without a roof, plumbing, exterior walls, heating and electricity.

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Cameron Diaz as Amanda.
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Cameron Diaz as Amanda.
Cameron Diaz as Amanda. | Source
The interior set of Amanda's Los Angeles home.
The interior set of Amanda's Los Angeles home. | Source

19. The house used for Arthur Abbot's (Eli Wallach's) house belonged to actress Phyllis Diller at the time of shooting, and is located in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, California.

20. Kate Winslet (Iris) and Rufus Sewell (Jasper) portrayed on-again-off-again lovers in the film, but in reality the pair dated for three months in the 90s.

21. Meyers compared Cameron Diaz's (Amanda's) performance in the film to Goldie Hawn, complimenting her adeptness at physical comedy. She had said, "It's really hard I think to be that cute and sexy and that funny and that sort of girl-friendly...She seemed absolutely the right choice for a California girl."

22. Both Kate Winslet and Jude Law were nervous to star in the romantic comedy genre, since they both had primarily acted in period films. Winslet had expressed, "Jude [Law] and I would speak on the telephone a lot before we started shooting, 'Oh my god, they're going to fire us, they're going to recast, what if we don't make them laugh?'"

23. Eli Wallach (Arthur) was 90 years old when The Holiday was filmed. Meyers found him so energetic and animated on the set, that she had to remind him several times during filming to slow down and act more like an older man.

24. Jude Law (Grant) is still asked about the famous Mr. Napkin Head 12 years after the film's release. The actor is amazed at the staying power of the holiday film. He once expressed to People magazine that he is still, "approached on the street about the film. Who knew? I didn't know [what it would become] at the time, I'm just really happy that it's something that people still enjoy."

Kate Winslet & Rufus Sewell.
Kate Winslet & Rufus Sewell. | Source
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Eli Wallach & Kate Winslet.
Eli Wallach & Kate Winslet.
Eli Wallach & Kate Winslet. | Source
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    © 2018 Rachel M Johnson

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