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Crazy Stupid Love: The Story Behind Ryan Gosling And Emma Stone’s Dirty Dancing Lift And How It Went Hilariously Wrong On Set

When it comes to the best romantic comedies we’ve seen over the years, Crazy, Stupid, Love. is definitely a highlight. Steve Carell leads the star-studded Crazy, Stupid, Love. cast as Cal Weaver, a middle-aged father who is trying to get back in the dating game after separating from his longtime wife and mother of his kids (Julianne Moore). When he meets Ryan Gosling’s smooth-taking womanizer Jacob Palmer, his world turns around, not only because he’s making Cal his project, but because (unknown to both of them) he’s also falling in love with his daughter. And, amidst the love story of Jacob and Hannah Weaver (Emma Stone), the movie pays tribute to 1987’s Dirty Dancing

Did you know that there’s a hilarious story behind Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s Dirty Dancing lift in the 2011 movie? Let’s break it down. 

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling kissing in Crazy, Stupid, Love

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

What Is The Dirty Dancing Lift In Crazy, Stupid, Love? 

One of the best moments in Crazy, Stupid, Love. comes about halfway through the movie when her boyfriend, Richard (Josh Groban), surprises her by asking if she’d like to be a permanent lawyer at his company rather than proposing to her, like she thought he was going to do. In her disappointment, she storms off and straight into the arms of Jacob after he hit on her earlier in the film. 

The pair end up at his house where he starts putting on the moves, and she starts getting nervous. When Hannah asks Jacob what his big move is, he admits that he “works Dirty Dancing into the conversation” before telling girls he can do the move that Patrick Swayze does in the classic, where he picks up Jennifer Grey before putting on the song “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life,” and doing the move. Jacob says it always leads to the woman he’s brought home wanting to have sex with him “every time.”

Hannah suggests that there’s no way the “big move” is going to work on her, but once they do it, Hannah is sold on hooking up with Jacob. However, instead of doing the deed, they end up talking all night and Jacob falls asleep before Hannah does. It’s arguably the best and most romantic scene in the movie. 

Emma Stone in Crazy, Stupid, Love

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

What Happened On Set When They Filmed The Scene

While the chemistry and sparks between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were absolutely off the charts in the Crazy, Stupid, Love. scene, it was secretly a bit of a traumatizing day on set for Stone that the actress was not expecting. Here’s what happened according to the movie’s stars: 

Emma Stone: “I run to do the lift, and Ryan lifts me over his head, and what did I do Ryan?”

Ryan Gosling: “I’ve never had this happen, but I imagine if a possum fell out of a tree and started trying to scratch your eyes out. It would be something similar.”

While the “big move” certainly worked on Hannah Weaver, it didn’t work on Emma Stone. There’s a pretty significant backstory as to why the actress reacted like she did on set. 

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love.

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Emma Stone Had A Deep Seated Phobia Of Being Lifted

When Stone and Gosling guested on The Graham Norton Show, the actress shared what was going through her head when they filmed the Dirty Dancing lift in the 2011 romantic comedy. In her words: 

When I was about seven years old, I was in gymnastics class and I was on these parallel bars that are about six feet off the ground and I was standing on the top of the bars and the teacher was holding me by the ankles, and somehow or other, she let go. And I was standing on this bar, and I felt myself begin to tip forward and I put my arms in [my chest] and fell six feet to the ground. And I broke both my arms at the same time… so I had a cast, it was miserable. It was the day before the last day of school.

Oof!! Sounds like a core memory that would stay with someone for a while. As she continued: 

Years later, we do Crazy, Stupid, Love. I know we’re going to do the Dirty Dancing lift, I don’t know however that I have an internalized phobia of being lifted over someone’s head at the height of about six feet.

Funny enough, Jennifer Grey has said that she made everyone wait until the day they filmed the Dirty Dancing lift for the iconic scene because she was “too scared” to practice it. Stone and Gosling’s story doesn’t end there, though. Here’s what happened next… 

Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love.

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Hilarious Meltdown That Followed The Dirty Dancing Lift 

Once the lift went terribly wrong, apparently the actress retreated to one of the beds in the house they were filming in to calm down. As Stone shared: 

And then it was a full meltdown. Like, I had a full meltdown… For an hour I went and laid down crying watching Labyrinth. This is so stupid, and then Ryan came in and was like ‘You alright?’ And then the directors came in and we’re like ‘You alright? We’re gonna use a double.’ And I was like ‘Great [as she cries], and by the way Jennifer Connelly is a revelation in this.’

So, in Crazy, Stupid, Love. when Jacob lifts Hannah, it’s actually a body double instead of Emma Stone, thanks to her traumatizing child fear! It’s a funny tidbit about the making of the movie, especially because Stone retreated to watch Labyrinth, one of the best movies of the 1980s

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Emma Stone And Ryan Gosling Became A Famous Duo After Making The Comedy Together

Despite an eventful time on the Crazy, Stupid, Love. set, the movie was the beginning of a beautiful friendship for the pair of actors on-screen. A couple of years later, they reunited for a thriller called Gangster Squad before making 2016’s La La Land together. While there certainly weren’t any lifts in the musical, the two actors did a ton of dancing together in that movie and were both nominated for Oscars that year, along with the movie having the famous Best Picture fiasco with Moonlight. Stone won Best Actress for her leading role. 

This year, both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were both nominated for 2024 Oscars, with Stone up for Best Actress again for Poor Things and Gosling up for Best Supporting Actor for Barbie. Here’s hoping they have a reunion at the ceremony and continue to work together in future films. As long as lifts are not involved, of course. 

You can currently check out Crazy, Stupid, Love. with a Hulu subscription or rent/buy it on Amazon

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