9 Things You Didn’t Know About "Hope Floats"
Hope Floats is the perfect guilty pleasure movie—it’s heartbreaking, heartwarming, funny and romantic, frequently all at the same time.
The film follows Birdee Pruitt (Sandra Bullock) who very publicly discovers her marriage is over. With few options, she heads home to Smithville, Texas, with her young daughter Bernice (Mae Whitman) in tow to move back in with her mother (Gena Rowlands). While Birdee isn’t particularly happy to be back in Smithville, her high school beau, Justin (Harry Connick, Jr.), is thrilled at her return—but Birdee is trying to pick up the pieces of her life, not rekindle an old romance. If you’ve seen any romantic comedies, you can probably guess what happens next.
No matter how many times you’ve seen the film—and we’ve seen it a lot—it’s still so much fun to watch Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. together. And no matter how many times you’ve seen the film, there may still be one or two things to still discover about it.
Here are nine things you may not know about the film:
1. Forest Whitaker directed the film
Yes, before he won an Oscar playing the dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland or took home acting awards for The Butler and Fruitvale Station or played Saw Gerrera in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Whitaker directed this romantic comedy.
2. The film’s writer went on to create I, Tonya
Steven Rogers is one of the hottest writers in Hollywood these days after re-inventing the story of one of ice skating’s greatest scandals. His career started with Hope Floats, though. From there he went on to write the script for the Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon film, Stepmom, a few years later and he was turning the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan saga into an Oscar-nominated film.
3. Smithville, Texas is a very real place
The city of Smithville sits on the outskirts of Austin and has hosted plenty of Hollywood types over the years. Not only was Hope Floats filmed there, but so was the 2008 film Tree of Life with Brad Pitt. Don’t expect to grab a bite at Honey’s Diner, though, as the restaurant was built just for the film.
4. Birdee’s house is real, too
When Birdee moves back home to Smithville, she doesn’t move into the spare bedroom in her mom’s condo. Instead, she moves back into the historic McCollum-Chapman-Trousdale House. Built in 1908, the Neoclassical home is flat-out gorgeous, thanks to a stunning double front porch lined with columns. It is designed to make the most of cool evenings and is perfect for wooing your high school sweetheart who has just moved back to town.
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5. Patrick Swayze’s mom choreographed the film
Patsy Swayze was a longtime choreographer—and anyone who has seen Dirty Dancing knows that at least some of her talent rubbed off on her son. Patrick Swayze’s dance skills weren’t the Houston native’s only success story, though. She also taught John Travolta how to two-step for the 1980 film Urban Cowboy.
6. Gena Rowlands and Sandra Bullock went to the same high school
Both Rowlands and Bullock attended Virginia’s Washington-Lee High Schools. Rowlands graduated with the Class of 1947, while Bullock was in the Washington-Lee High Class of 1982 before heading to East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, to study acting.
7. Hope Floats was the first film made under Sandra Bullock's own production company
Sandra Bullock has always been very involved in her movies. After finding success with Hope Floats, her production company, Fortis Films, has gone on to co-produce many of Bullock’s movies, including Practical Magic, Two Weeks Notice, and Miss Congeniality.
8. Mae Whitman, who plays Bernice, has played a lot of famous daughters
She played Meg Ryan's daughter in When a Man Loves a Woman and George Clooney's daughter in One Fine Day and played a daughter in the TV show Parenthood. She is all grown up now and still acting with roles in films like The Duff and TV series like Arrested Development and Good Girls.
When Justin takes Birdee to the country dance club, they turn on the jukebox, but you can still see the band playing in the background. That’s not the only error in the film, either. When he takes Birdee to see the house he’s building, a giant microphone is hanging in the center of the screen as he opens the door.