LOS ANGELES — Turns out there were multiple fake orgasm scenes shot featuring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in “When Harry Met Sally.”
In the 1989 romantic comedy, it took many takes for Ryan (playing Sally) to loudly show Crystal’s Harry how women can fake a sexual climax.
The famous scene was discussed at length during a rollicking “When Harry Met Sally” reunion discussion Thursday featuring Ryan, 57, Crystal, 71, and director Rob Reiner, 72. It was the highlight of the 10th annual TCM Classic Film Festival opening night.
Moderator and Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz drilled down on some of the film’s most enduring moments, including that scene.
Reiner revealed that Ryan volunteered to shoot the over-the-top moment, not knowing just how many times she would have to replay it to get it perfectly.
“The idea was we had to tell something that women know but men don’t know,” said Reiner, setting up the scene which was added during filming of Nora Ephron‘s script. “Meg said, I’ll do it. I’ll actually act it out.”
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“What Meg didn’t realize is that it would be done in front of all of these strangers,” Reiner said
“Everyone at Katz’s Deli,” added Ryan.
It got more embarrassing. Reiner said he used himself as a model to show a more demonstrative moment for Ryan to emulate.
“The first couple of times, it was like, ‘I need it more, I need it more.’ And then it was, ‘Let me show you,’ ” Reiner recalled.
Crystal seemed traumatized by the memory of his longtime friend Reiner’s version of faking it.
“He had an orgasm out of ‘Mighty Joe Young,’ ” Crystal quipped, a reference to the boisterous gorilla in the black-and-white 1949 movie.
The “Harry Met Sally” scene culminates with Sally’s feigned passionate cries as Harry eats a pastrami sandwich. Reiner’s mother, Estelle, played the diner who watches Sally’s theatrics from a nearby table and says “I’ll have what she’s having.”
“My mother still uses that line,” Reiner said of 94-year-old Estelle.
Reiner paid respect to the small details in the scene, including Ryan’s decision to go right back into digging into her meal after her fake excitement show had ended. Crystal admitted he suffered with the food consumption in the multiple takes.
“I ate 27 pastrami sandwiches,” Crystal said. “For any Jew, that’s a lot.”
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