Tom Hanks can feel the presence of his late friend and frequent collaborator Nora Ephron during rehearsals for his Broadway debut in her play Lucky Guy and he is convinced the late filmmaker is helping them make vital changes to the production from beyond the grave.

The Hollywood star is currently portraying award-winning columnist Mike MCAlary in previews of the drama, and he is sure Ephron is watching over him as he brings her final major work to life on the New York stage.

He tells New York Magazine, "In many ways, I hear Nora's voice and think of her in the present tense.

"She'd say, 'Well, Tom, you know me. We've worked together. If a line doesn't work, we'll change it.' So I can hear her saying, 'Yeah, maybe we should change that.' And if she shook her head, it was very slowly. Very slowly. And that meant, 'It's not going to happen.' I can see her doing that in some of the ideas that we have."

The actor, who starred in Ephron's films Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, recently admitted he's battling nerves as he prepares for the show's big opening on 1 April (13), stating, "We (the cast and I) are just resorting to imagining the headlines for bad reviews - 'Lucky Guy, Unlucky Audience!' and 'Yucky Guy!' I'm not afraid of the end result because I think we'll have a very good production. But I am afraid of blowing it myself."

Ephron lost her battle with cancer last year (12).