School Is in Session for Hanks and Roberts in ‘Larry Crowne’

Movie TalkMay 1, 2011
Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts Universal Pictures
Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts Universal Pictures

He's circled the moon, stormed the beaches at Normandy, and survived on a desert island. But this summer Tom Hanks is going to the last place you might expect: college.

Still, with Julia Roberts teaching a class, who can fault him for pursuing a little higher education?

Hanks and Roberts reunite for "Larry Crowne," a new romantic comedy about a middle-aged man who has to rebuild his life after being laid off from his job. Hanks directed the film, his first feature since 1996's "That Thing You Do!", and he also co-wrote the screenplay with Nia Vardalos (writer and star of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"). You can watch the exclusive trailer for the movie below.

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In the movie, Hanks plays an average guy who went straight from a stint in the Navy to working at a big-box store. He's a star employee, but after the economic downturn he gets laid off. On the advice of friends, he enrolls in community college, where he takes a public speaking class taught by Mercedes Tainot (played by Julia Roberts). She has become completely jaded with her teaching career, but she eventually find her passion again -- both for her job and for Larry.

This is the second time Hanks and Roberts have starred in a film together after 2007's "Charlie Wilson's War." Both earned Golden Globe nominations for their work in that movie. It's also just the second time Hanks has directed a feature film, though in the 11 years since his debut he did direct episodes of the mini-series "From the Earth to the Moon" and "Band of Brothers."

Watch the trailer for 'Charlie Wilson's War' >>

Hanks has assembled an eclectic supporting cast for the film. "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston is in the film; he previously worked with Hanks on "That Thing You Do!" and "Saving Private Ryan." Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, and Wilmer Valderrama have roles, and naturally, Hanks' wife Rita Wilson will also appear in the movie. And as a self-professed Trekkie, it had to be a thrill for Hanks to include Mr. Sulu himself, George Takei, in the cast.

"Larry Crowne" will open on July 1.