The Real Story On How Harry Connick Jr. Ended Up Starring Opposite Sandra Bullock In “Hope Floats”

We couldn't imagine anyone else!

Harry Connick Jr. in Hope Floats

(c)20th Century Fox Film Corp./The Everett Collection

There’s more than a little magic in Hope Floats. The romantic comedy is the perfect combination of heartbreaking and heartwarming with enough romance to make it fun. Much of that electric butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling is due to the incredible chemistry between the film’s two leads, Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr. 

If it’s been a minute since you watched, the film follows Birdee Pruitt (Bullock) who very publicly discovers her marriage —and her relationship with her best friend—is over. Without many other options, she packs up her young daughter Bernice (Mae Whitman) and heads home to Smithville, Texas, to move back in with her mother (Gena Rowlands). The only person thrilled that Birdee is back in town is her old high school beau, Justin (Connick, Jr.). Soon the sparks are flying between the two. 

Now, we all know and love Harry, but how did he end up as the romantic lead? After all, the piano player-turned-actor hadn’t really had a role like that before. Turns out it was all because of Bullock. 

As you may recall, Bullock was one of the producers on Hope Floats. In fact it was the first film made under her own production company. According to her co-producer, Linda Obst, Bullock wasn’t your typical celebrity producer, producing in name only. Instead, Bullock was "100 percent" involved in every aspect of the film, including casting. And when it came to who she wanted as the lead, she knew it had to be Connick Jr.  "She was excited about him from the idea through the first audition," Obst told E! News. "He was Sandra's first choice, and because chemistry has a lot to do with that, her vote was crucial."

As anyone who has seen the movie knows, those two had a lot of chemistry. No matter how many times you've seen the film—and we've seen it a lot—it's so fun to watch those two together. Maybe we should write Sandra Bullock a thank you note for making that magic happen.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles