There’s something very special about enjoying the performances of young actors in a film or TV series, and then checking in with them many years later to see how they’ve grown up. That’s precisely the case with NBC’s Today sitting down with Jeffrey Scaperrotta and Hallee Hirsh, who co-starred with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in the 1998 rom-com, You’ve Got Mail. In the film, Jeffrey, now 25, plays Tom’s character Joe Fox’s much-younger half-brother, Matt; while Hallee, 30, plays his much-younger aunt, Annabelle. As part of the film’s 20th Anniversary celebration, both sat for an extended video interview.
In the film, Meg plays a struggling boutique bookseller named Kathleen Kelly, who absolutely hate’s Joe’s Fox Books chain store that is now located right across the street from her and is destroying her business. But, unaware of who the other person is, they connect anonymously with each other online and start a virtual romance. When the truth is eventually revealed, the question is will their love win over business?
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For Jeffrey, one of the highlights of the whole experience was a sequence that was shot at a carnival, mostly due to the fact that Tom lived up to his reputation of just being so nice. “I didn’t know I was actually filming just because of how friendly he was with me,” Jeffrey says. “Like, I was on his shoulders for basically the whole entire time. Even after shooting, I was still hanging on his shoulders, eating cotton candy, playing with the carnival games.”
Hallee, on the other hand, was more amazed by Meg Ryan, her affection still coming through so many years later. She admits, “I was obsessed with Meg Ryan. I wanted to be Meg Ryan when I grew up. I was so starstruck by Meg Ryan, and she was just [an] incredibly focused actress. I remember watching her perform a scene and saying the lines each time like she had never said them before in her entire life and being in so much awe of her… And Tom Hanks was pretty well on my radar as well. So it was definitely, at that point in my life, the biggest win.”
The biggest winners, of course, are the fans of You’ve Got Mail, not only for the film itself but the opportunity to watch these actors look back at it so warmly in the video above.