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 romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Reiner, Hanks, Ryan, and Crystal, Carlson takes listeners 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 fairy-tale 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 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.
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Narrator didn't do her homework
After much anticipation this was a disappointment
I had read a very nice review of this book in the Washington Post, love Nora Ephron and her movies, and waited with anticipation for this book to come out. Hmmm.
It is difficult to get past the narration. The entire book is done in a very annoying sing-songy style that frankly grates. And the female narrator does a very poor job of narrating male characters. She made both Rob Reiner and Tom Hanks (and every other man in the book) sound identical, and kind of like jerky teenagers.
I got the book because I wanted to learn about the making of Nora Ephron's three most famous movies. And there was some of that in the book certainly. But you also have to wade through reams of gossipy dish about the love lives of Rob Reiner, Tom Hanks, and Meg Ryan. None of which I'm interested in.
Not sure if the author saw any of these movies when they first came out, in the context of their time, but if she did, she surely was a very young child. It's certainly possible for say a 25 year old person living today to write a brilliant book about the making of say Casablanca, but wouldn't it be far more interesting to read that book written by literally anyone who was there and participated in the movie's making? Rob Reiner directed When Harry Met Sally, if he writes a book about Ephron and her movies...I would buy it in a heartbeat.
Erin Carlson is an entertainment journalist, and as mentioned focuses a good deal on the personal lives of those involved, and seems to see these movies more in the context of today than in the perspective of their debuts. Lots of facts and figures are mentioned, plus lots of clothing worn to premiers, parties, and award shows, are commented upon.
So I was disappointed both in the book, and the narrator. The book As You Wish by Cary Elwes about the making of the movie The Princess Bride, is flawed, but superior in every way to I'll Have What She's Having.