Turns out Tom Hanks, with friend and writing pal Nia Vardalos ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding") had been writing the "Larry Crowne" script for the better part of a decade.
For most of that stretch, Hanks had been thinking of Julia Roberts as the female lead -- the community college professor who falls for one of her middle-aged students, played by Hanks.
Hanks had her in mind before they worked together on "Charlie Wilson's War," where they became friends, and it was then he suggested she give his script a read.
"I thought, she might bite, and there's no harm in asking. So I sent it to her, with the understanding that if she didn't like it, no hard feelings. And she was very interested."
There is the sense in Hollywood these days that big stars no longer matter in movies, but that probably doesn't apply to Hanks and Roberts. In fact, Hanks wanted Roberts in part because she has a marquee gravity to meet or surpass his own.
"None of this stuff is made in a vacuum. Everybody knows every movie we've made going into it, and with Julia, the balance is right."