SheKnows: You’ve obviously worked with Jack several times. Do you ever write with a specific actor in mind?
James L. Brooks: I have. In As Good as it Gets there was no way the movie could be made with out Jack Nickolson. I think that was true and I knew it from the beginning. In Starting Over I was hoping Jack would do that movie and it didn’t happen. Tea Leoni is someone I approached early on for Spanglish. Reese [Witherspoon] on this movie. I think that’s pretty much it, where I started with an idea for somebody.
SheKnows: Working with Reese Witherspoon, I know you said that you thought of her for this role. When an actress like that says yes let’s do it, that’s got to infuse you with excitement for the project.
James L. Brooks: It’s not quite like that, actually [laughs]. It’s like I feel myself a slave to the project. I feel that I feel an enormous responsibility to the actors. I think one of the most devastating things that could happen to me, and there are a lot of devastating things that can happen to you when making a movie, is that if an actor was unhappy with having been in a movie. I feel that responsibility very much. But my job is to serve it. This is not about me. It’s out there and we’re all together out there. So I don’t think about it quite that way. If you do feel that stuff, it falls to the side of the work very quickly. You’re a human being trying to get it right.
– From an interview on sheknows.com