43 The Holiday (2006) Facts To Get You Ready For Christmas Day

The Holiday is one of the most watched Christmas films every December and has achieved cult status since its release in 2006. Our The Holiday facts include which films the cast watched to prepare for their roles, where the characters homes are located and how Dustin Hoffman came to spontaneously star in the film.

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The Holiday is one of the most watched Christmas films every December and has achieved cult status since its release in 2006. The romantic comedy was written and produced by Nancy Meyers, who you may also know from films such as Father Of The Bride (1991), The Parent Trap (1998) and The Intern (2015)

The cast in The Holiday is star-studded and is the main reason for the film’s success. Jude Law and Jack Black play the leading men Graham and Miles with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz playing Iris and Amanda, the two leading women. Eli Wallach, a Hollywood great whose acting career began in 1945, plays Arthur Abbott. 

If you haven’t seen The Holiday, here is a short synopsis for you… Iris is a journalist at The Daily Telegraph who is upset when she finds out her long-term crush/on-and-off again lover Jasper has just got engaged to a coworker. Amanda is a film trailer maker in California who has just found out that her boyfriend Ethan has cheated on her. This leads the pair of them to arrange a home exchange trying to escape heartbreak and the Christmas season. Amanda arrives at Iris’ small cottage in Surrey, England and Iris travels all the way to California to stay at Amanda‘s impressive mansion. 

While staying in England, Cameron Diaz’s character Amanda meets Iris’ brother Graham and the pair begin a romantic relationship. Iris meets a screenwriter from the Golden Age of Hollywood Arthur Abbott in California and helps rehabilitate him to appear at an event at the Writers Guild of America West. While helping Arthur, she meets Miles who is a film composer and friend of Amanda’s ex-boyfriend Ethan. He is in a relationship that isn’t exclusive so he decides to get closer to Iris. 

Spoiler - the film ends with Amanda, Graham, Iris and Miles together despite the Atlantic Ocean in between them and they all spend New Year’s Eve in each other’s company.

Even if you're a huge fan of The Holiday and watch it every year, here are some facts you may never have read before.

1. The Holiday Received Criticism For Being Too Predictable

The Holiday premiered on the 29th of November 2006 in New York City. This was before it was theatrically released in both the UK and the USA on the 8th of December. Its budget was $85 million and it grossed over $205 million worldwide and received positive reviews praising its design and performances. One negative written about at the time of its release was that The Holiday had a plot that was predictable. But what Christmas film doesn’t?

2. Kate Winslet Was Handpicked For The Role Of Iris

Kate Winslet was handpicked for the role of Iris by director Nancy Meyers as she wrote all of Iris’ lines with Winslet in mind. Entertainment Weekly reported that Kate was a fan of Nancy Meyers’ previous work including Something’s Gotta Give (2003) but she had been predominantly known for period dramas at that time. The article went on to say that Winslet loved the idea of playing a modern British woman in a romantic comedy as she had never starred in that genre before. 

3. Iris Was Named After Jude Law’s Daughter

The character of Iris was named after Jude Law’s daughter. 

4. Winslet And Law Were Both Worried About Doing A Comedy

According to Entertainment Weekly, Kate Winslet and Jude Law would speak on the phone before they started shooting The Holiday. The pair were worried that they wouldn’t be able to portray the humorous lines as well as Nancy Meyers had intended.

5. Kate Winslet Watched 1940s Screwball Comedies To Prepare

To prepare for the role of Iris in The Holiday, Kate Winslet watched many screwball comedy films from the 1940s to study the dialogue and performances of the leading women. This is very similar to what the character Arthur Abbott had Iris do in The Holiday to try and boost her gumption. Winslet reportedly watched films including His Girl Friday (1940) and The Philadelphia Story (1940) and studied the performances of Rosalind Russell and Katharine Hepburn.

6. What Cars Did The Characters Drive In The Holiday?

If you are into which cars are used in Hollywood films, these are the cars driven by the four main characters in The Holiday:

  • Cameron Diaz drives a 2006 MINI Cooper in Surrey England. 
  • Kate Winslet drives a Lexus RX 400h in Los Angeles. 
  • Jude Law drives a 2006 Range Rover. 
  • Jack Black drives an Audi A4 convertible.

7. Cameron Diaz Accepted The Part After Only Reading Some Of The Script

Cameron Diaz reportedly signed up to star as Amanda in The Holiday after only reading parts of the script. In an Indie London interview Diaz claimed that she wanted to star in the role of Amanda as she found the character relatable in relationships and wanted to portray the bravery it takes to open yourself up to new possibilities.

8. Nancy Meyers Compared Diaz’s Performance To Goldie Hawn

Nancy Meyers envisioned the part for Cameron Diaz while she was writing Amanda. She went on to compare Cameron Diaz’s performance to Goldie Hawn especially complimenting her physical comedy.

9. Cameron Diaz Improvised On Set

Cameron Diaz goes on to say in her interview with Indie London that she actually improvised moments on set. She claimed that there were a few scenes written down on the page where Nancy told her to fool around with them but still make them believable. 

10. Jude Law Felt Vulnerable Playing Graham In The Holiday

According to a Hollywood One-To-One interview with Jude Law, he felt nervous to portray Graham in The Holiday due to previously starring in many period dramas and science-fiction films up until that point. There was something about playing a character who fitted his own look and accent that made him more vulnerable.

11. Nancy Meyers Gave Jude Law Clark Gable Films To Prepare For Graham

Nancy Meyers was initially concerned that Jude Law may not fit into the genre but she evolved the character of Graham during the writing period much more than the other characters so decided to cast him. She sent Jude Law a selection of Clark Gable films for him to watch and study while preparing for the role.

12. Miles Was Written For Jack Black After His Role In School Of Rock!

The Holiday is often spoken about as the film that has a male lead written from the female gaze. Critics are speaking about Jack Black, a notorious physical comedian being chosen in the role of a romantic lead. In an interview with Indie London, Nancy Meyers stated that Miles was specifically written for Jack Black after she saw his performance in School of Rock (2003). Meyers commented in the same interview that she was hoping to write a part for someone who is aware that he is not the standard tall, dark and handsome Clark Gable type but instead is adorable and lovable.

13. Jack Black Said Yes To The Holiday Because Of Kate Winslet

Jack Black had reportedly felt flattered but a bit nervous about starring in The Holiday and in a romcom but he eventually agreed to sign learning that he would play the part of Miles opposite Kate Winslet. Jack Black has said in interviews that he enjoyed the fact that Miles was a film composer so he could relate to that part of the character.

14. Eli Wallach Was Too Spritely On Set

One of the most memorable characters in The Holiday is Arthur Abbott who was played by Eli Wallach. At the time Wallach was 90 years old when filming The Holiday but Nancy Meyers found him to be so energetic on set that she had to remind him on several occasions to act more slowly like a much older and frail man.

15. Dustin Hoffman’s Appearance Was Entirely Coincidental

Dustin Hoffman appears in a cameo at a video rental store just after Jack Black is discussing the score from The Graduate (1967). Hoffman remarks that he cannot go anywhere and this is especially true due to the fact that he was only included in the scene because he was out at a restaurant near the production. Hoffman claimed in interviews that it was unscripted and unexpected but he came over to the production to see what was going on.

16. Lindsay Lohan And James Franco Are In Uncredited Roles

Lindsay Lohan, who worked with Nancy Meyers in The Parent Trap in 1998, and James Franco both make an uncredited appearance in the trailer Amanda is editing in The Holiday. The trailer is for a fictional film called Deception and it also includes the voiceover from Hal Douglas who also narrates Amanda's situation during the film at several points. 

17. Where Was The Holiday Filmed?

The Holiday was filmed in both Los Angeles and England with it beginning in Los Angeles and then moving to England for a month before being completed back in California. Principal photography began in Brentwood on the Westside of Los Angeles. 

18. Amanda’s Home Was Designed By Wallace Neff

Amanda’s home is set in Brentwood but the exterior scenes of her property were actually filmed in front of Wallace Neff’s Mission Revival House in San Marino adjacent to Pasadena. Neff had built the house for his family in 1928. The interior scenes of Amanda’s house were filmed at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City. 

19. Arthur’s House Was Owned By Phillis Diller

Other locations in Los Angeles included Arthur’s house in Brentwood and Miles’ house which was designed by Richard Neutra on Neutra Place in the Silver Lake area.

Arthur’s house in Brentwood, at time of filming, was owned by the American stand-up comedian and actor Phyllis Diller.

20. Scenes In England Were Shot In An 11th Century Village

For the scenes in the UK, much of the production was filmed in Surrey which is in the South East of England and South West of London. The scenes were mostly filmed in the small town of Godalming near Guildford and in the picturesque villages of Shere and Holmbury Saint Mary which date back to the 11th century.

21. Iris’ Cottage Was Constructed In Shere For The Production

Iris’ cottage was constructed in a field next to St. James Church in Shere. The production team had sourced a genuine cottage but it was located very far away from London where the crew were actually based during their time filming so they decided to recreate one in Shere. 

22. The Interior Of Amanda’s House Cost £1M To Recreate

The interior sets for Amanda’s house were built on a soundstage and cost approximately £1 million to create, all without exterior walls, a roof, plumbing and electricity. 

23. Nancy Meyers’ Husband Directed The Deception Film Trailer

Nancy Meyers' husband Charles Shyer directed Lindsay Lohan and James Franco for the fictional film trailer Deception which was made by Cameron Diaz’s character Amanda.

24. The Holiday Had A $34Million Advertising Budget

The Holiday made US$63 million at the North American Box Office and US$142 million internationally. The budget was US$85 million and it had an estimated advertising spend of US$34 million. The Holiday became the 12th highest grossing film of the 2000s to be created by a female director.

25. Hans Zimmer Composed Much Of The Holiday’s Score

The Holiday has a memorable official Soundtrack including music written by Hans Zimmer and Heitor Pereira. The most recognisable of Hans Zimmer’s pieces for The Holiday is named “Maestro”.

26. The Holiday Sequel News Story Was A Hoax!

In December 2022, many news outlets published a story that a sequel to The Holiday was in pre-production with all of the main cast including Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Jack Black signed on to reprise their roles. However both Nancy Meyers and Kate Winslet denied the rumour.

27. Miles’ Studio Is Based On Hans Zimmer’s Studio

The scene in which Jack Black’s character Miles is at his studio is said to be copied directly from the studio of Hans Zimmer, the famous composer who scored The Holiday. 

28. Rufus Sewell And Kate Winslet Actually Dated

Rufus Sewell, who plays Jasper in The Holiday, had actually been in a real life relationship with Kate Winslet at one point.

29. The Home Exchange Website Really Exists

The website which Amanda and Iris both used to exchange houses is a real life house exchange website,

30. Cary Grant Is Not From Surrey Despite What Arthur Says

During The Holiday both Arthur and Iris claim that Cary Grant is from Surrey in England incidentally where some of The Holiday was filmed. However this is a mistake as Cary Grant was from Bristol.

31. Iris’ Cottage Would Be Worth Millions Of Pounds

Despite Iris’ small cottage in Surrey looking cramped and a bit drab, a cottage like that in the village of Shere would be worth several million pounds.

32. Nancy Meyers Wanted To Pay Tribute To Rock Hudson And Doris Day

The scene in which Cameron Diaz and Jude Law are chasing each other in a field after having lunch together is a tribute to similar scenes between Rock Hudson and Doris Day. The score in the scene features a bossa nova style piece which Nancy Meyers was so intent on getting correct that Hans Zimmer actually named the piece “For Nancy”.

33. There Are Many References To Ennio Morricone

Throughout The Holiday there are several references to Ennio Morricone including the main theme using the same first five chords as “Deborah‘s Theme” from Once Upon A Time In America (1984). Eli Wallach actually starred in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) which is one of Marconi’s most famous films. Miles also urges Iris to rent the film The Mission (1986) because of the score. Miles is also playing the main theme of Cinema Paradiso (1988) when he meets Iris for the first time and he tells her that it was composed by Ennio Morricone.

34. Jude Law Has A Tan For The Scenes Shot In LA

Eagle eyed viewers of The Holiday may have noticed that despite the exterior scenes being shot in the UK, Jude Law has a tan in all of the interior scenes which were filmed back in California. 

35. Jack Black Considers Miles As His Best Performance

During an episode of The Tonight Show, Jack Black has said that portraying Miles in The Holiday is his best ever performance. 

36. The Plot Is Similar To Tara Road

Critics have suggested that there are many similarities in the plot of The Holiday to Maeve Binchy’s book Tara Road. This film is not based on the book but there is an adaptation from 2005 of the story starring Andie McDowell and Olivia Williams.

37. Continuity Error Or Fast Wine Drinking?

There is a scene in The Holiday in which Amanda walks around a small shop drinking from a wine bottle. We later see her buying a corkscrew and the cork still being attached to the bottle of wine. This either could be a continuity error or Amanda has managed to get through an entire bottle of wine and needs another one before exiting the shop!

38. Edward Burns And Cameron Diaz Have Previously Worked Together

Edward Burns plays Ethan, Amanda’s ex-boyfriend who she chucked out of her home at the beginning of the film. Edward Burns actually directed Cameron Diaz in the film She’s The One in 1996.

39. Iris Was Going To Watch Punch-Drunk Love

Before Iris is interrupted by Miles at the gate, she is running around scanning the DVD cases in Amanda’s Los Angeles home. The one she settles on is Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Punch-Drunk Love from 2002 starring Adam Sandler.

40. Kate Winslet And Jude Law Have Worked Together Before

Kate Winslet and Jude Law have worked together in other films including All The Kings Man in 2006 and Contagion in 2011.

41. Each Lead Actor Has A Jim Carrey Connection

Interestingly all four of the lead actors in The Holiday have worked with Jim Carrey. Cameron Diaz worked with him in The Mask in 1994. Kate Winslet starred in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind in 2004. Jude Law appeared in A Series Of Unfortunate Events also in 2004. Jack Black starred in The Cable Guy in 1996.

42. Did The Wombats Hate The Holiday?

According to an interview on BBC Radio 1, members of the British Indie Rock band The Wombats went to see the film and ended up really disliking it. They apparently wrote their song “Kill The Director” about the experience and it contains lyrics like, “if this is a romcom, kill the director” and “this is no Bridget Jones!”. Very odd. 

43. Jude Law Has Been Previously Directed By Charles Shyer

Two years before making The Holiday, Jude Law played the lead role in the 2004 film Alfie. The film was directed by Charles Shyer who was married to Nancy Meyers, the director of The Holiday.

The Holiday Facts - 43 The Holiday (2006) Facts To Get You Ready For Christmas Day

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