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Holiday was based on the play by Philip Barry. Interestingly, Katharine Hepburn understudied for the role of Linda, and when it was adapted in 1930, she hoped to play the part.
She eventually did get to, but she had to wait until 1938 when director George Cukor remade the film with Cary Grant. Working titles included Unconventional Linda and Vacation Bound.
Cukor decided on Hepburn, despite other actresses’ names being floated such as Ginger Rogers and Irene Dunne. Cukor and Kate had already worked together on three other films, including the Oscar winning Little Women.
1. Kate was “box office poison” at the time.
After Bringing Up Baby (read about that here) didn’t meet studio expectations, Katharine Hepburn was labeled by theater owners as “box office poison”. She said, “They say I’m a has-been. If I weren’t laughing so much, I might cry.” Columbia Pictures defied this opinion with their marketing campaign asking: “Is it true what they say about Hepburn—that she’s Box Office Poison?” Unfortunately, some of the billboards were defaced by the roller derby to get their own publicity by answering in the affirmative.
2. Kate stole the film…
After shooting wrapped, director George Cukor threw a party, which was his tradition after completing his films. Katharine Hepburn decided to offer something extra special. She said, “I stole the old Holiday test from RKO and ran it for the guests… I led the laughter, and everyone just fell over – Cary [Grant], George, everyone, laughed themselves sick.”
3. There was a deleted scene.
An additional scene was actually shot for the beginning of the film and showed when Cary Grant met Doris Nolan at Lake Placid. Since the film was based on a play, the idea was to “open up” the script. Director George Cukor disliked the opening and decided it wasn’t necessary.