After I received Tom’s note, and I knew that we were going to make this movie happen (since all Tom Hanks has to say is “Let’s do it,” and studios will jump at the chance to get it done), I set aside My Best Friend’s Wedding and pulled out Sleepless In Seattle again. And that was probably for the best. With MBFW, the first draft featured the names of Chris and Abby and Isabelle and George – I wasn’t even trying to disguise what it was about. Ultimately only George’s character got to keep his name, but the George of my MBFW counterpart Julianne, as she was eventually christened, was gay, so at least I made some small attempt to show it wasn’t exactly like my life.
Jet lag was kicking in. I was sleep deprived and had worked on MBFW all night long, and I had just written a version of Chris’s wedding weekend dinner party in which all of the guests joined together in singing Burt Bacharach’s “I Say A Little Prayer For You.” The scene made me laugh, and I knew there was no way it would actually make it into the film (what do I know?), but there was something very satisfying about picturing the Duchesnays with lobster bibs on, doing their best Dionne Warwick imitations. My writing had become my therapy.