Tom Hanks Says Nora Ephron Did Something Different With Her Preparation That Separated Her From Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, And The Directors He Worked With

Tom Hanks is one of the most beloved actors of all time, and he'd likely agree that a lot of the credit for his work goes to all of the incredible filmmakers he has worked with across his over 40 year career. To name some big hits, he’s worked with Ron Howard, Penny Marshall, Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, Sam Mendes, the Wachowskis and Clint Eastwood. But it's his Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail filmmaker, Nora Ephron, that he named when speaking about the director with “the strongest vision of them all”. 

When Tom Hanks sat down with CinemaBlend’s own ReelBlend podcast to discuss his latest movie, Elvis, and dive into his legendary career, co-host Jake Hamilton started to name off the impressive list of filmmakers who have “very strong visions,” before Hanks shared some keen thoughts on the late Nora Ephron and how she worked. The actor said this: 

Do you know who had the strongest vision of them all? Nora Ephron. Nora Ephron would brook no disagreements. Nora, in the two movies I made with her, we had literally rehearsals where you tape out the set and you have the props and you rehearse with the words, with the dialogue on that day for two weeks prior to going. And I would say ‘Nora, you know we make this stuff up as we go along’ and she said ‘if we don’t know exactly what we’re doing on the day that we shoot this six weeks from now, we’re going to lose time’. And I said, ‘I got it boss,’ and so we showed up, ready to go.

Tom Hanks worked with Nora Ephron alongside Meg Ryan as his co-lead in 1993’s Sleepless In Seattle and, then a few years later, they reunited for 1998’s You’ve Got Mail. Both movies are considered amongst the best romantic comedies of all time, and, with these recent comments, it's even easier to understand why. As Hanks shared, she would have rehearsals well ahead of shooting with very specific environments to mirror the set they’d interact with when the cameras finally started rolling. 

When it comes to the technical details of filmmaking, we often pay more attention to how it's done on big movies, perhaps like the star's films Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13 and Sully. But the two-time Oscar winner's inside knowledge is a clear indicator of how much skill (and love) went into making two romantic comedies that are not only incredible beloved but likely rewatched in households even more times than the above films. 

Nora Ephron wrote and directed a number of great films throughout her career, before she died in 2012 at the age of 71, yet her work with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan remains absolutely iconic in the genre many years later. And of course, When Harry Met Sally, which paired Ryan with Billy Crystal, is another great classic. 

You can watch Hollywood icon's full interview with ReelBlend on YouTube. And you can check it out below: 

Tom Hanks stars as Colonel Tom Parker alongside Austin Butler’s Elvis Presley in Elvis, which is playing only in theaters now. Keep your eyes on CinemaBlend's schedule of upcoming movies to stay in the know on what's coming to the big screen. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.