Things You Might Not Know About ‘The Proposal’Published on June 19, 2017. Updated June 15, 2020
In the over-saturated romantic comedy genre, 2009’s The Proposal really stood out to fans as a breath of fresh air. The movie starred Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock and the one thing everyone could agree on was that their chemistry was amazing and made for one of the most entertaining romantic comedies of the 2000s. With a worldwide box office gross of $317 million, it also became the highest grossing romantic comedy of the year which was also thanks to a fantastic supporting cast that included Malin Akerman, Betty White, Craig T. Nelson and Mary Steenburgen. Take a look back on the hilarious and heartwarming film with these 8 things you didn’t know about The Proposal:
The Proposal is not a Golden Globe or AcademyAward-winningg film, but it certainly resonated with fans and ended up, earning several nominations and even a few wins! The film received over 20 nominations through eight award shows and ended up collecting four wins: Favorite Comedy Movie at the 36th People’s Choice Awards, Choice Movie Dance for Sandra Bullock and Betty White at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards, Choice Movie Actress in a Romatic Comedy for Sandra Bullock at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards and Choice Summer Movie – Romance at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards.
While most of the film was set in Ryan Reynolds’ character’s hometown of Sitka, Alaska, it might be surprising to know that none of the movie was actually filmed there. The Proposal was actually shot in Rockport, Boston, and Manchester-by-the-Sea all in Massachusetts, meaning much of Rockport had to be remodeled to emulate Sitka while all of the snow-capped mountains and some of the “Alaska” scenery was later added in digitally.
6. Julia Roberts
Before Sandra Bullock was cast as the uptight Margaret Tate, Julia Roberts was actually first in line for the role. Roberts turned it down reportedly because she refused to take less pay than what she wanted, so Bullock was cast instead. The casting decision marked the second time in one year that Roberts turned down a role and Bullock was cast instead with the other being The Blind Side. It wasn’t exactly easy to get Bullock to agree either as she had reservations about doing a romantic comedy. “Well I had initially said no…Because that ‘RC’ word was attached to it, I had no desire. And then someone I know very well said, ‘Just read it and then you can have an opinion about it.’ And I read it. And I was really upset. Because it was so well written…The problem, through, was who can direct a comedy like that? Who can raise the bar? Who are you going to cast? And they said, ‘What if we cast Ryan Reynolds?’ I’ve known Ryan for a while, so as soon as they said that, it made it a lot more difficult to say no to.”
5. Getting Betty White
While securing the right lead actress for the role of Margaret Tate took some work, it was clear the movie would not have been the same without Betty White as Grandma Annie, but there were also issues with getting her to commit to the film. It was reported that at first White also turned down her role because the filming would require her to spend so much time away from her beloved golden retriever. “My beautiful baby is a career change guide dog. He had a bum knee so he couldn’t be sent as a guide dog, so I got him and he’s my heart. He’s my best buddy,” White said of her beloved pet. Fortunately, White was able to work out filming and being with her dog.
4. That Scene
One of The Proposal’s most memorable scenes is of course when Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds collide while nude, and it turns out it really was as nerve racking as it looked. While many scenes like those are just carefully edited, Bullock and Reynolds revealed they really were nude, but the producers provided them with “fig leaves” but there were issues with them actually stating on. The scene was filmed over a period of three days through 12 takes, and eventually it became less distressing, especially for Reynolds. “You fall onto the ground and I would always know something popped out wrong because the cameraman would go, ‘Oh!’ By hour four I abandoned the fig leaf or whatever the hell they gave me and I was just throwing caution — and other things — into the wind,” the actor joked.
Despite being 2009’s highest grossing romantic comedy, the film was not a hit with critics. For fans, it might be surprising to learn how heavily criticized The Proposal really was after its release. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote, “Their initial sparky detestation isn’t convincing, and neither is their later thawing and romance. In each scene, it looks as if they have never met before. And Margaret isn’t permitted to be a convincing cow, because that would make her unsympathetic […]. Andrew can’t be a total wimp, because that would be unsexy, so the fundamental comic premises of the film are fudged.” But although most critics didn’t like the film, many agreed the chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds was amazing: “what [kept] audiences of this lite-fare comedy in their seats is the undeniable on-screen chemistry between leads Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. The two are so adept at comedy and have so much fun with one another, viewers watching The Proposal won’t be able to resist their charms, even when some of the plot veers into unnecessary silliness,” Zorianna Kit of The Huffington Post wrote.
2. Driving A Boat
While action is not a theme of the movie, things do get intense when Bullock and Reynolds’ characters fight on the boat and Bullock ends up in the water, and as it turns out she wasn’t given any boat driving lessons. “The stunt guy goes, ‘Okay, today, this is what you’re going to do. You’re going to go down the ladder. You’re going to jump on the boat. Ryan is going to be tying it up. I want you to do it and then I want you to do a burn out around to the corner and then I want you to go.’ I went, ‘Okay…’ First of all, I love the fact that he assumed that I knew how to drive a boat,” Bullock stated and confirmed it really was her in the water and it was “freezing.”
1. Betty’s Exit
After filming the movie, the cast was very open about how much natural chemistry they had and unsurprisingly, Betty White was the most popular person on set. “Yeah. I like attention and then suddenly Betty comes on set. Betty has the best exit line I’ve ever heard for a movie. I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this. On her last day, I’ve never seen a crew give such an enormous standing ovation to somebody. Grown grips with ZZ Top beards crying because Betty is leaving. Betty turns around and says, ‘I want everyone to know that this is the most fun I’ve ever had on a film set.'” Bullock added that “Everyone was crying” as White left set for the last time.