Billy Crystal reveals how Meg Ryan's iconic orgasm scene in 'When Harry Met Sally' came about
To celebrate the movie's 30th anniversary, Crystal give an insight into how the memorable scene came into being
Harry's revealing Sally's secrets! Billy Crystal is finally opening up on the details of the iconic romantic comedy's legendary orgasm scene, revealing the real story behind its inception. To celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, the actor, in a recent interview, said that the scene wasn’t in writer Nora Ephron’s original script.
“We had a great pre-production with all of us (director Rob Reiner, co-star Meg Ryan and Ephron) contributing to the script, and Nora was very open about taking suggestions and adding her magic to it,” Crystal told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview. “We were able to create all these new things that weren’t in the script — together, all of us, including the orgasm scene.”
Crystal recalled how the movie makers came up with the idea of the orgasm scene only two weeks before they began filming. “We were in a meeting, and Nora said, ‘I need something. There’s something missing. There’s the moment where Harry’s now been screwing around. He’s in revenge mode, and he’s this cocky little stud. Maybe we do a scene about how women fake orgasms.’"
He continued, “Rob (Reiner) was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ ‘Well, women fake orgasms, Rob.’ ‘Really? They never fake one with me.’ So now that becomes a line of dialogue. Then Meg said, ‘I should have an orgasm! That would be hilarious.’ And I went, ‘In a public place like a restaurant.’"
The rush of ideas from all corners, revealed Crystal, drove scriptwriter Nora absolutely wild. "And then we’re all laughing. Then I said, ‘And then we’ll cut to an older woman who will say, 'I’ll have what she’s having'. That’s how it happened. That’s how the movie got real, because of Meg and I and Nora and Rob sitting around, talking about, ‘How can we make it better?’”
Reports say that the epic orgasm scene was shot at Katz’s Delicatessen in Manhattan, and according to Crystal, soon after they finished shooting the scene, everyone present on the sets knew that it was a scene that would definitely go down in history.
"We were screening the movie in Burbank for the first time, and Rob (Reiner) and I are sitting in the back,” he said.
“The movie’s playing great, and now we come to the scene in the deli. When she starts faking it, they go berserk. I mean, like, berserk. You couldn’t hear any dialogue. They laughed through the next scene. The roar, it was gigantic. I realized that Rob and I were now holding hands. We were gripping each other because it was so momentous a laugh.”
During another interview with Variety, Crystal had revealed how the filmmakers had viewed “a ton of wonderful actresses” for the role of Sally, but it was all over the second they saw Ryan. He said, “It was like in a ’40s movie when someone says, ‘And then she walked in!’” The movie's director, Rob Reiner added: “It was instant chemistry.”