Cameron Crowe Knew Jerry Maguire Would Work When a Marriage Proposal Went Down at a Test Screening

Photo: TriStar Pictures

More than 20 years after its release, Jerry Maguire has become the hallmark for a certain kind of love story, and probably also inspired a bunch of guys who deeply misread the movie’s themes to become sports agents. In an interview with Deadline, director Cameron Crowe looked back on the film’s production process. He touches on the actors who were considered for Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger’s roles, including Tom Hanks, who decided to do That Thing You Do instead; Gwyneth Paltrow, who apparently gave an Annie Hall–like audition; and Connie Britton, who was the second choice after Zellweger. But as much of the casting news has been reported before, the best part of the interview comes when Crowe describes how the film went over in test screenings:

Well, one of the first times we showed it was a friends and family screening that Jim had put together. Lawrence Kasdan was there, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Jim invited Shirley MacLaine. So I was a little terrified, watching the movie. When it was over, the lights came up, and there was a guy and his girlfriend in the row in front of me, near Katzenberg. This guy stood up and proposed to his girlfriend. It must have seemed like some publicity stunt, but it was real and it was one of the first times we felt like the love story might reach people.

Seems that Jerry Maguire had them at “you had me at hello.”

A Guy Proposed at a Jerry Maguire Test Screening