Meg Ryan has had a storied acting career full of memorable roles and incredible performances, but the one thing she is most famous for is faking an orgasm. As the 25th anniversary of the classic film When Harry Met Sally draws near, director Rob Reiner recently spoke to The Huffington Post about that iconic scene in Katz’s Deli where Ryan’s Sally performs for Billy Crystal’s Harry, proving to him that women can effectively fake an orgasm. It seems that Reiner, best known at the time as Archie Bunker’s “meat-headed” son-in-law on All in the Family, was the one who coached Ryan on how to pull off the scene.
Reiner explained to HuffPost Live:
“Meg was nervous. Obviously you’re in front of extras and all the crew members and everything. So the first few times we did it, she did it kind of weak. It was a little tepid. I said, ‘Look, let me show you what I want’ after a few takes that weren’t so good.”
Reiner reportedly acted out the scene for Ryan, which was over the top in any circumstances, in front of his own mother, actress Estelle Reiner, who famously said the follow up line, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Meg Ryan, who at the time was a budding actress best known for television roles and a small role in 1986’s Top Gun as Goose’s (Anthony Edwards) wife, and her first lead in 1987’s Innerspace with Dennis Quad, reportedly jumped at the chance to work with Reiner and writer Nora Ephron, turning down a role in Steel Magnolias. And luckily for Ryan, it all came together.
It was that fake orgasm scene in the deli that skyrocketed Ryan to superstardom. Her next big project saw Ryan cast against Tom Hanks in 1990’s Joe Versus the Volcano, and their chemistry led to two other huge roles with Hanks: 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle (reuniting with writer-director Nora Ephron) and 1998’s You’ve Got Mail, also directed by Ephron.
Meg Ryan turned an over-the-top, yet somewhat-inexplicably-sexy-fake-orgasm-in-a-public-place into a successful career, all with the help of Rob Reiner, arguably one of the unsexiest men in Hollywood. And that career continues as it was recently announced that Ryan will once again team up with Tom Hanks, but this time in very different roles. Hanks is the producer and Ryan is the director and star of Ithaca, now filming in Virginia. It will be Meg Ryan’s directorial debut.
All of this from a fake orgasm. Meg Ryan has built an entire career off of an “oh” face. Only in Hollywood.
[Image Courtesy of Digitalfanclubs.com]