Aboveboard Seattle Highlights The Sleepless Movie’s 25th Anniversary.
Awwwe. Sleepless In Seattle… Whenever we are showing Seattle floating homes for sale, a good portion of the buyers ask about the “Sleepless houseboat”. For twenty five years now the movie Sleepless In Seattle has had an effect on our Seattle houseboats community.
This article from the latest issue of Aboveboard Seattle highlights the movie and its mark left on us. It is so hard to believe it has been a quarter of a century!!!!
Time Flies: This Year Is The Sleepless In Seattle Movie’s 25th Anniversary
Sleepless In Seattle changed the perception of our city forever when it was released twenty five years ago. “Sleepless” is the now famous Seattle floating home which is pointed out on every Ride The Duck Tour and sought after by tourists from around the world. It is the first thing new prospective clients ask us about when they are exploring purchasing a floating home. Although this iconic movie was also largely shot in other cities such as Chicago, New York, and Baltimore, for a quarter of a century Sleepless in Seattle starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan has been the first movie people think of when they think of Seattle. Released on June 25th, 1993, this was one of Nora Ephron’s first major directorial jobs and continues to be a huge sentimental nod to the 1990s Seattle lifestyle. In fact, in a July 8th, 1993 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine Nora Ephron says in regards to Sam played by Tom Hanks, “He goes from Chicago, which is your modern, work-driven urban environment, to Seattle, which is – let me tell you, after three days there with my husband, Nick says, “This is a city where people have chosen lifestyle over work.” And he’s right. There are cities like this all over America, full of people who are kayaking and living the good life.” At the time of filming, Seattle’s official population was 525,974 people. By contrast, the current 2018 population according to sources is roughly 704,352, and while we have morphed more towards what Ephron described as a “modern, work-driven urban environment”, we also hold on tight to our “good life” roots.
Filming Sleepless In Seattle on an actual Lake Union floating home dock – The Scoop…
The filming while on location in Seattle itself was interesting and full of excitement and also challenges. One neighbor’s deck was used for catering for the cast and crew. They recall that one day while they were eating their Chinese take out for dinner, Tom Hanks walked in and asked ‘where’s mine?!’ According to them, “He of course was teasing and was just doing a little PR. He hung around and talked until he was called back on set. He was always very, very nice to everyone. Meg Ryan wasn’t around much because she only has two scenes in the area, including on Westlake Avenue above the dock. According to one account on the dock, she was “kept out of the public eye – the rumor was that she had just had a baby (fact) and she had a stalker that they were taking great precautions over (particularly because of the baby).”
Sleepless In Seattle is mostly a winter, even holiday movie, but it was infamously filmed during a very hot and sunny summer. In fact, it was filmed during one of Seattle’s very few actual droughts where it was so dry that the city imposed mandatory water restrictions. One neighbor’s recollection best describes the scenario: “It was so hot that summer, I can remember floating out in the lake in front of Sleepless in my swimming suit and inner tube, watching as they tried to keep all the actors, dressed in overcoats, scarves and boots, cool. And, they had to rig up special systems to make it rain – no small feat at the end of a long dock. (One of the reasons we are so dependent on the fireboats). And, there was a lot of talk about either a filter, or film treatment to make the footage seem grey and dreary when it was actually extremely blue and sunny — day after day after day. They were pulling their hair out.”
The dock in which the Sleepless house resides was completely transformed for the filming of the movie. I am very grateful for the fabulous account of it from one neighbor, “Our dock is particularly proud of our flowers — we often had casual competitions over who’s looked the best. Well, the production crew had to pluck out all the summer stuff and replace it with evergreens. The original child actor wasn’t working out for whatever reasons, and he was let go; it took about a month to audition and rehearse the new kid. And, then they had to reshoot all the scenes. It was supposed to be just a couple of weeks, but all summer long we were flowerless in Seattle.”
Watching Sleepless In Seattle Again….
This weekend, I watched Sleepless in Seattle again. I still found it comical to watch the unbelievable Hollywood geographic creative leaps and would challenge anyone who thinks they can take a small boat from Lake Union to Alki Beach in the hour or two it seemed to take the characters in the movie. The trip would involve taking the boat all the way up to the north end of Lake Union, through the ship canal, and into the Ballard Locks as Lake Union is roughly 20 feet higher than the Puget Sound. You would need to then go all the way around Discovery Park and cross the ferry traffic to head down to Alki Beach in West Seattle where the characters Sam and Jonah played. Almost as unbelievable is watching Meg Ryan’s character Annie “follow” them in her rental car by going over the Fremont Bridge. For the last 25 years, I have largely thought of this movie as somewhat of a “stalker” film, but this weekend I changed my mind and found it to be charming and sentimental. All in all, the movie holds up.
Call us if you want to learn more about the Seattle Houseboats lifestyle! Courtney Cooper 206-850-8841 [email protected]