In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the rom-com through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Rob Reiner, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Billy Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.
Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron’s fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separately balked at playing Mail’s Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless’ Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing … in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America’s most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I’ll Have What She’s Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.
My Thoughts: As a fan of Nora Ephron’s writing, and also of how she brought her unique vision to some of my favorite movies, I couldn’t wait to plunge into I’ll Have What She’s Having.
Who knew the tedious details that go into a movie, not to mention the conflicts along the way with various actors, crew members, and the production companies involved?
Watching as the stories and movies came to life was an interesting aspect to this book.
Visualizing how the sets were created was another fun part for me. I love movies and the sets are oftentimes my favorite parts, as the characters lead their lives in their various apartments and homes, not to mention the restaurants and bookstores.
Throughout the book, we learn about Nora Ephron’s other books and movies, and how, even as she fought the illness that would take her life too soon, she kept working and striving. An iconic woman who inspires others. 5 stars.***