“You never know. You make a movie, and hopefully you like it, and hopefully other people [do too],” the 72-year-old director told Us Weekly and other reporters at the 30th Anniversary Screening of When Harry Met Sally at TCM Classic Film Festival Opening Night Gala on Thursday, April 11. “You have no idea if it will stand the test of time, and it’s kind of cool that it did.”
Reiner attributed the flick’s staying power to its universal themes. “I think that there are some basic truths about men and women that people connect with, and those kind of things — that dance, that weird dance that men and women do with one another kind of is basic and kind of there all of the time,” he explained.
Ryan, 57, and Crystal, 71, starred as Sally Albright and Harry Burns, respectively, in the 1989 movie. Their characters were friends who fell in love with each other over the course of several years.
While the You’ve Got Mail star claimed during the panel that the filmmakers “took an enormous chance” on her, the Saturday Night Live alum and the director disagreed. “They started reading, and in the first 10 seconds, I said, ‘This is it,’” Reiner recalled of her audition. “They connected right away. You always look for chemistry. It was right there from the beginning.”
Crystal added that he and the Princess Bride director “were stealing looks at each other because if just felt, like, amazing.”
The trio reminisced about the movie’s most iconic scene. Ryan’s character fakes an orgasm while eating lunch at a deli, prompting another patron to say, “I’ll have what she’s having.” As Reiner remembered, “Meg said, ‘Well, I’ll do it! I’ll just actually act it out. We don’t have to talk about it. I’ll just do it.’”
The actress pointed out that her character inspired the move. “Comedy of Sally is so behavioral. It’s not really so much talking. It’s doing,” she said. “So it’s sort of really very logical. And it wasn’t hard.”
Crystal did his part in the moment too: “On the other side of her, I ate 27 pastrami sandwiches.”
Scroll to see more photos from the epic reunion!
With reporting by Taylor Ferber