Nora Ephron: I Get Credit for Writing ‘I’ll Have What She’s Having,’ But I Didn’t

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Nora Ephron is best known for writing and directing hit romantic comedies like “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and, most recently, “Julie and Julia.”  She revealed Wednesday night that the idea for one of the most iconic scenes in “When Harry Met Sally” wasn’t actually even hers at all.

“I get credit for writing ‘I’ll have what she’s having,’ but I didn’t,” Ephron said, referring to the extremely famous line in the movie. “We had a reading with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan and at the end of the reading, Meg said ‘I think this scene would be funnier if it took place in a restaurant.’ …Billy said that one of the customers could say, ‘I’ll have what she’s having.’ And that was it.”

While speaking at the Jewish Community Center on the Upper East Side, she said that she could write all the comedic scenes she wants, but the actors are the ones who give them life.

“The actors who know how to be funny know how to take your single and make it into a triple,” Ephron said. “They look at a line and they know where the word is that is funny. They look at a scene and they know what prop they have to use to make the laugh work.”

Ephron, 69, has worked with a long list of great actors, including Crystal, Ryan, and Meryl Streep, and hopes to keep adding to that list. She said she has never had a problem admitting her age but has found that it sometimes alarms her.

“I remember I was directing ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and we were in rehearsal and I was the oldest person in the room,” Ephron said. “It was one of those moments that is always a shock.”

In her latest book, “I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections,” Ephron writes about her life, memories, and getting older. She said that she has found that people sugarcoat what comes with age, but she’s not having any of that.

“My theory is that anyone who says that the best sex is in your 60s and 70s has not had sex until their 60s or 70s.”

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