YEAR: 2004

ROLE:  Frank Calhoun

DIRECTOR:  Nick Cassavetes


Plot Summary

As teenagers, Allie (Rachel McAdams) and Noah (Ryan Gosling) begin a whirlwind courtship that soon blossoms into tender intimacy. The young couple is quickly separated by Allie's upper-class parents who insist that Noah isn't right for her. Several years pass, and, when they meet again, their passion is rekindled, forcing Allie to choose between her soul mate and class order. This beautiful tale has a particularly special meaning to an older gentleman (James Garner) who regularly reads the timeless love story to his aging companion (Gena Rowlands).

Film Details
Ryan GOSLING..............Noah Calhoun
Rachel MCADAMS.........Allie Hamilton
Gena ROWLANDS.........Allie Hamilton
James GARNER...........................Duke
Sam SHEPARD.............Frank Calhoun
Joan ALLEN..................Anne Hamilton
Screenplay..........Jan Sardi and Jeremy Leven, based on the book by Nicholas Sparks
Cinematography............Robert Fraisse
Music............................Aaron Zigman
Length..............................121 minutes
Movie Stills

 Photos from the LA premiere on June 21, 2004
Production Notes

Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson and producer Lynn Harris, who at the time was a production executive at New Line Cinema, first read Nicholas Sparks’ novel The Notebook in galley form and went on to spend seven years developing it together as a feature film. During this time, the book shot onto the New York Times Best Seller list, where it remained for almost a year. Director Nick Cassavetes also responded to the book when he too read the galleys. "The interesting thing about the books Nicholas Sparks writes is that they’re these lush romances about enduring love …and yet there’s always a strong element of tragedy and loss," notes the director.

Sam felt it was the indelibility of the story that drew him to play Ryan Gosling’s father. "I think the most important thing is the enduring nature of love, and it’s something I think in this time that we don’t really value much," he says. "Love is exterminated all the time; it’s turned over; it’s discarded; it’s thrown away. But I think there are still possibilities of love that endure not only through our time, but beyond that. It’s this enduring possibility, not just a temporary fling, but something that goes for a long, long time, and has reverberations down through the generations, too. That’s important."

Set amidst the austere beauty of the coastal Carolinas in the 1940’s, The Notebook was filmed almost entirely on location in South Carolina – in and around the cities of Charleston and Georgetown, on Edisto Island, at numerous sites on the Charleston Naval Base, at various lush South Carolina plantations and at Cypress Gardens in Berkeley County. Filming began in the fall of 2002.

Sam is well aware of the textures of the South. "There’s this recurring theme in Southern literature: Tennessee Williams has it, Faulkner has it, everyone has this thing of the plantation; this thing of the old South; of the South that went down with Dixie. And it’s an incredible, powerful, and controversial nostalgia about place," he says. "There are just so many ghosts down here. I’m not altogether superstitious, but I always feel that when I enter the South. That is, I think, one of the great crutches of Southern literature – that it already has this extraordinary past. They don’t have to invent anything."

From the director:
"It's really interesting being a director, writing for Sam Shepard. You say, 'Well I thought you might do something like this,' and you look at him and you know he's being so polite because he's looking at you, going, 'Kid, I could have written this so much better than you did. Check my Pulitzers if you don't believe me.' But he's so kind, and so gracious that he goes out of his way to make you feel that you're actually saying something that he respects."


Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune:
Absorbing, sweet and powerfully acted. It's a film about falling in love and looking back on it, and it avoids many of the genre's syrupy dangers... Beautifully shaped and shot, filled with fine actors doing moving work.... Cassavetes directs his cast including Marsden, Shepard and Kevin Connolly as Noah's boyhood chum Fin - with a real connection to the story's humanity.

Reeling Reviews:
The acting in “The Notebook” is handled well on both ends of the age spectrum. Garner, in particular, puts a strong spin on his character in a limited amount of screen time. Rowlands, always a pleasure, has the tough balancing act as a woman slowly and literally losing her mind. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdam are also credible and very likable as the young Noah and Allie. Supporting characters are well cast with Sam Shepard giving a warm, kind performance as Noah’s dad.

Jeff Hudson, Mixed Reviews:
Credit Cassavetes for knowing when to pull the heartstrings, when not to, and mostly choosing restraint over indulgence. The script may be rote but the tone vibrates with authenticity... Stalwart veterans Joan Allen and Sam Shepard shine in supporting roles.

Bill Beyrer, Cinema Blend:
Joan Allen plays Allie’s rich bitchy mother, a thorn in the relationship between the two. Played to perfection. Sam Shepard also phones in a charming little performance as Noah’s father. It really seems like he’s just making up everything he’s doing...though it kind of works.

Eric D. Snider:
The cast, which also includes Sam Shepard as Noah's craggy, down-to-earth father, is stellar, and the whole thing almost works. Gosling and McAdams make a nice couple, and Garner and Rowlands are both, even at this stage in their careers, as sharp as ever. Some of their moments together are legitimately touching.

Dennis Landmann, Moviefreak:
Cassavetes makes the story involving while the performances by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams really pull in the viewer's emotions. In fact, I believe if it were for any other actors there would not be such intense and realistic chemistry as between these two, not to mention McAdams is incredibly attractive. The supporting cast here is also strong, including James Marsden, Sam Shepard, Joan Allen, and Kevin Connolly. Furthermore, The Notebook looks incredibly beautiful in its visual composition, thanks in large part to terrific and meticulous production design, locations, and costumes, as well as great cinematography by Robert Fraisse
The two leads and supporting players like Sam Shepard, James Marsden, David Thornton and Joan Allen all brought this movie up to a higher level and made me love it all the more. This movie means well and is executed in a way that makes it almost impossible not to connect with it on some level. This is one of the better romances to come out of Hollywood in a long, long time.

Noel Megahey, DVD Times:
There’s nothing soft or weak about its unashamedly emotional storyline – the characters and the situations are robust and the performances – Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner and Gena Rowlands in the main roles, but Joan Allen and Sam Shepard are also excellent in supporting roles – are without exception credible and compelling.