The Holiday Behind-The-Scenes Facts



There’s a reason Kate and Cameron fit their parts so well.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 2006, you’ve probably heard of the ~best~ Christmas movie of all time: The Holiday. It follows two women, Iris and Amanda (Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, respectively), as they decide to spend the holidays in each other’s home across the world. Because this is a rom-com (of course), they fall in love with charming locals Miles and Graham (Jack Black and Jude Law), respectively, and find themselves in the process. Christmas magic!


Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Whether you’ve seen the movie a million times (like me) or not, these behind-the-scenes facts will definitely get you in the mood for a rewatch.

Psst: You can rent it on Amazon Prime!

1.

Nancy Meyers wrote the parts of Amanda and Iris specifically for Diaz and Winslet.


Columbia Pictures / Via giphy.com

In an interview, she said that Diaz was “absolutely the right choice for a California girl” and that Winslet is immediately whom you think of when writing “a 30-year-old woman in England.” She had both of the actors in mind while writing the script.

2.

Jack Black got the role of Miles because of his part in School of Rock


Paramount Pictures / Via giphy.com

Meyers explained that she loved him in the movie, especially his interactions with the kids. So even though he’d never been in a romantic comedy before, she thought he would be perfect for the part. She even had to convince him to take it!

3.

…but he only signed on when he found out that he’d be working with Winslet.


Columbia Pictures / Via gifer.com

According to Meyers, she wooed him into the role over a pasta dinner, and although Black was hesitant to take the role, he eventually agreed when he found out who would be playing his love interest.

4.

Iris’s countryside cottage isn’t actually a real house.


Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Alas, our dream home is just that — a dream. The cottage was built just for the movie and used only for exterior shots. All of the shots inside the cozy English abode were filmed on a set.

5.

However, Amanda’s Spanish-style San Marino mansion is a real house, and it last sold for $9.5 million.


Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Like its English counterpart, the home was used only for exterior shots, while the interior was a built set.

6.

The movie was actually filmed backward.


Columbia Pictures / Via gfycat.com

According to Miffy Englefield, who played Graham’s daughter, the first scene they shot was actually the final one: the New Year’s Eve party. She said that since it was one of the few scenes in which all the main characters were together, it was a great scene to kick off filming with.

7.

All of Winslet’s and Black’s movies were removed from the shelves during the Blockbuster scene.


Columbia Pictures / Via giphy.com

According to the DVD commentary, the crew pulled them all from the store before filming. Although it would have been pretty meta to see Titanic in the background.

8.

Speaking of that scene, most of Black’s lines during it were improvised.

9.

Law also improvised his lines during the iconic “Mr. Napkin Head” scene.


Columbia Pictures / Via youtube.com

According to Englefield, a lot of that scene was improvised, including Law’s line about smoking being bad for you and Miffy’s line about the bit being “so funny, you’ll fall off your chair.”

10.

Lindsay Lohan filmed her cameo because she “owed” Meyers a favor.


Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

In case you didn’t know, Meyers directed Lohan’s breakout movie, The Parent Trap. She said that she told Lohan, “You have to do this for me,” and that was that! James Franco signed on because he knew both Lohan and Meyers, and apparently it ended up being “really fun” to film.

11.

The snow in the movie is actually real, even though it wasn’t planned.


Columbia Pictures / Courtesy of Everett Collection

In an interview, Meyers explained that when she arrived in Surrey in southeast England (where the cottage scenes were filmed), she was shocked when locals told her that it doesn’t actually ever snow there anymore. The crew then hired a snow company but didn’t end up needing it because it happened to snow that week. I smell a Christmas miracle…

12.

Dustin Hoffman’s cameo wasn’t actually planned.


Columbia Pictures / Via cafemom.com

According to IMDb, Hoffman happened to stumble upon the film crew during the Blockbuster scene and stopped by to check it out. He knew Meyers, so she quickly improvised a scene for him.

13.

Law had to be coaxed to smile more on the set.


Columbia Pictures / Via giphy.com

Because of his more dark and dramatic acting background, Meyers originally wasn’t sure about casting Law in a romantic comedy. But even though at times she had to snap him out of his more brooding acting style, he ended up being the perfect person for the part.

14.

A real Jack Black incident inspired that “boob graze” scene.


Columbia Pictures / Via youtube.com

Meyers said that Black accidentally bumped into her on the set one day and apologized “for the boob graze.” She thought it was so funny that she wrote it into his next scene.

15.

The cast and crew celebrated on the set with Eli Wallach, who played Amanda’s neighbor Arthur Abbott, when he turned 90.


Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

According to Meyers, they presented him with a huge cake and candles to celebrate the occasion. Apparently, Meyers often had to rein in Wallach’s anecdotes about his time in Hollywood in order to get a single take. The crew was so fascinated by his stories that they would crowd around him in between takes to listen.

16.

Winslet and Rufus Sewell (aka Jasper, Iris’s ex, whom we all collectively hate) actually dated IRL before the movie.


Columbia Pictures

According to the Irish Examiner, the two dated for a few months back in the early 1990s and were reunited on the set. Winslet said that the reunion was “friendly,” though!

17.

You can actually visit the White Horse Tavern, where Amanda meets Graham and his friends for drinks.


Trip Advisor / Via tripadvisor.com

Yup — it’s real! You can find it in Shere, a village located in Surrey.

18.

The movie that Iris picks out to watch before getting interrupted by Miles foreshadows their relationship.


Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

The movie is Punch-Drunk Love, which is about an American man who falls in love with a British woman. Sound familiar?

19.

Finally, Winslet later said that she thinks Black is “the perfect romantic lead.”


Columbia Pictures / Via giphy.com

In an interview, she explained that it “was not hard to fall in love with Jack Black — at all.” Don’t worry, Kate, we totally believe you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a movie to rewatch.

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