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10+ 'The Notebook' Behind The Scenes Secrets Fans Didn't Know

The Notebook will go down in history as one of the most romantic films of all time.

It had passion, fire, a stellar cast, and an ending that could make even a grown man bawl like a baby (although, they would deny it).

Do you know what else it has? Behind-the-scenes secrets that we're still learning to this day!

1. It's based on a true story:

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Just when we thought this movie couldn't get more romantic!

The author of the The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks, says that he was inspired by his grandparents who were together for over 60 years.

Ugh, we love true love (AND YET WE'RE STILL SINGLE).

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"But though their story was wonderful, what I most remember from that day is the way they were treating each other," Sparks wrote on his website.

"The way his eyes shined when he looked at her, the way he held her hand, the way he got her tea and took care of her."

2. Tom Cruise was almost Noah:

Say, what?? This was set to happen after Steven Speilberg got the rights to the book in 1998.

He chose Cruise as his leading man, but scheduling conflicts ended up getting in the way (phew).

3. The producers were initially unsure about Ryan as the lead:

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He was born to play the ever-romantic Noah, but some people had doubts.

"When I told [New Line Cinema] I wanted to hire Ryan for the lead, they kind of looked at me like I was out of my mind," the film's director, Nick Cassavetes, revealed to VH1.

4. While Ryan was chosen for the role early on, Rachel had to audition:

She may be a well-known actress now, but back then, she hadn't appeared in Mean Girls or Wedding Crashers yet.

"We found Rachel through an audition process and she was wonderful," Cassavetes explained to VH1.

5. One of the most iconic lines in the film was improvised:

Can you guess what it is? If you said, "What do you want? What do you want?" by Noah, then you'd be right.

"It became one of the most iconic things from the film [that] wasn't in the script. He just knew it," Cassavetes said.

6. The film's director cast his mother as the older version of Allie:

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Cassavetes kept things in the family by casting his mother and actress, Gena Rowlands.

His late father, John Cassavetes, was also in the film as the prop photos of Allie and Noah throughout the years.

7. Ryan wore brown contacts:

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It's hard to notice little details like this when you're too busy staring at his, erm, abs face.

But he had to cover up those baby blues since the older version of Noah had brown eyes.

8. James Garner, the actor who played the older version of Noah, passed away a month after the film's release:

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This is so sad.

The late actor had been acting for decades, with roles in The Great Escape, Space Cowboys, and The Rockford Files.

9. Ryan gained weight for the role:

He certainly doesn't mind packing on the pounds for roles.

He once gained weight to play the dad in The Lovely Bones, and then promptly got fired from the role for being too big...

When he gained weight — and a beard — for Noah, everything worked out.

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He had done so to look older in the scenes with adult Noah, which were actually filmed first.

He ended up losing the weight promptly after to look more like a teenager.

10. The birds were almost not included in the film:

"They were like, 'You can't do the birds. There's just too much—you've got to take the birds out,'" Cassavettes told VH1.

A big reason for this was because the birds weren't trained. Despite this, the director fought for them.

He even raised birds on set to use in the film!

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That's dedication!

"So, when the studio came down to see the scene—because they didn't believe we could do it—the guy marched them out there like the Pied Piper and they went out on the lake."

11. That famous kissing scene was actually super uncomfortable for the actors:

Rachel did a quick kiss and tell to Life & Style about what looked like a steamy moment:

"We just wanted to get out of the rain. It was very cold. She added that she was barefoot in the scene since her shoes had disintegrated.

12. Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling spent the first half of filming hating each other:

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It seems hard to believe now, considering their chemistry in the film and the fact that they dated off-screen for four years.

But it did happen. At one point, Ryan even tried to replace Rachel!

"I did...I hadn't seen her really since she was about 12—we were both 12—so she's grown up, but she was really good, actually," Ryan said.

When Rachel heard that she almost lost out to Brit, she played it cool.

"I'm sure Britney would have done a great job!"

14. Actually, a lot of famous names auditioned for the role of Allie:

Instagram | @jessicabiel

In addition to Britney Spears, there was Jessica Biel, Reese Witherspoon, and Ashley Judd.

Biel even revealed to Elle that she wanted the role "so badly." Her audition experience was certainly, um, unique.

13. Britney Spears was almost Allie:

Instagram | @britneyspears

First Tom Cruise as Noah and now this??

In an interview with ET, Ryan revealed that he had, in fact, screen-tested with Britney, who he knew since their Mickey Mouse Show days together.

That's because the actress auditioned while covered in blood!

Instagram | @jessicabiel

"I was in the middle of shooting Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I auditioned with Ryan Gosling in my trailer — covered in blood," she said.

"But there's a million that get away. We're gluttons for punishment. It's just rejection."

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