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Sleepless in Seattle was released in theaters on June 25, 1993. The 105-minute film is categorized as a romantic comedy-drama. Two A-List actors are in the starring roles. It is worth watching just to see Tom Hanks. It is doubly worth watching to see Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
The movie became a success, grossing over $250 million worldwide. The storyline is just as appealing today as it was 25 years ago. It is considered one of the top ten romantic comedies of all-time.
Uniqueness of the Movie
There are several interesting things about Sleepless in Seattle.
- The movie was shot in four different cities: Seattle, Baltimore, Chicago, and New York.
- Sleepless In Seattle is the second in a trilogy. The first move made was When Harry Met Sally, and the third one made was You’ve Got Mail. Meg Ryan had a leading role in all three. Tom Hanks starred in the second and third one. Billy Crystal had the male role in the first one.
- Even though Hanks and Ryan are the stars of Sleepless in Seattle, they shared only about four minutes of screen time together. Those who are familiar with the film know they did not meet until the last few minutes of the movie. Even then, they almost missed each other.
- To make a connection between the two main characters, Annie in Baltimore and Sam in Seattle, they walked through the same door at the same time. That feature was so important to the producers that the door was actually shipped about 3,000 miles for the dramatic effect to connect Ryan and Hanks.
- Rita Wilson is Hanks' real-life wife who had a role in the movie.
The Main Characters and Plot
Sam is played by Tom Hanks and Annie is played by Meg Ryan, who moviegoers had already gotten to know in When Harry Met Sally. Sam is a widower whose wife has just died and he moved with his 8-year-old son across the country to Seattle to start a new life.
On Christmas Eve, a radio talk show psychologist asked her listening audience what they were wishing for during the season of hope. Jonas from Seattle calls in his wish for a new wife for his depressed insomniac father who has been widowed for a year and a half.
Back in Baltimore journalist Annie just happened to be driving and turning her radio dial when she stumbled across the conversation that captured her attention.
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Sam and Annie were deliberately kept apart during the movie. However, viewers could tell they were skeptics at first. They had different views on love and marriage. Annie avoided getting stuck in a passionless marriage, and Sam was ready to open himself up to the possibility of having a second true love.
First Big Assignment for Director and Producer
Sleepless in Seattle was Nora Ephron's first major directorial job. The movie ended up being her first big hit even though she had tried her hand at directing before.
Like Ephron's big break, Jeff Arch finally got his break after struggling for about a decade. He finally produced a winning screenplay that grossed an impressive $17 million over its opening weekend.
Julia Roberts Turned Down the Lead
When the script was first written, it was passed around Hollywood and various celebrities turned it down, including Dennis Quaid and Kim Basinger. Julia Roberts turned it down for a good reason. She was already filming the 1990 film Pretty Woman with Richard Gere. So, she is forgiven.
Initially, Hanks turned down the lead thinking he was not right for the part. It was only after Ephron rewrote the script that Hanks agreed to do the part.
Inspired By 'An Affair to Remember'
The film was inspired by the 1957 film An Affair to Remember. No rules were broken when that was done because if you remember, the Sleepless in Seattle end turned out to be a reversal of the end of An Affair to Remember.
Both used the same theme song and Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr were set to meet at the top of the Empire State Building, but that didn't happen because Kerr's character was hit by a car on the way to the meeting.