At that fateful first meeting, Nora Ephron used her investigative skills to get to know Rob Reiner and Andrew Scheinman. The former was recently divorced and the latter had always been single. Ephron was desperate to know, among other things, how single men moved through the world. When the three met a month later and started to unpack the differences between men and women, they realized there might be potential for a movie here.
Reiner had been kicking around an idea for a story, one that would ask whether or not men and women could be friends without sex getting in the way. That was an idea that Ephron could get behind. She already had one side of the argument down — the side that would eventually inform the character of Sally — but in order to convincingly write from both perspectives, she needed a bit more from Reiner and Scheinman.
“She interviewed us like a journalist, got all these thoughts down, and that became the basis for Harry,” Reiner said. “She became the basis for Sally.”