October 21, 2013 at 9:59 AM
A chat with Tom Hanks
Not with me, alas. Hanks was in London this past weekend for what sounds like a delightful evening: BAFTA’s Life in Pictures series, in which an actor or director is walked through his or her career, before an audience. Hanks, who’s getting raves these days in “Captain Phillips” and good early buzz for “Saving Mr. Banks” (in which he plays Walt Disney; it’ll be in theaters around Christmas), sounds like he enjoyed the fast-paced interview, which began with clips from “Turner and Hooch.” (“I learned a lot from that dog,” he said.) A few highlights:
On 1984′s Splash, Hanks’ first leading film role, and the beginning of a long relationship with director Ron Howard, the actor referenced the fact that he’d come from doing Bosom Buddies on TV a few years earlier and missed the rush. “I was desperate to be funny again.” At the first read-through for Splash, “I was operating from the task that had been mine on TV, which was to score, to kill at the table. It was terrible, I didn’t get any laughs.” So, Howard took Hanks aside and, having had his own experience with TV, said, “I know what you’re doing. That’s not your job on this movie. Your job is to love that girl.” If Howard hadn’t counseled Hanks that day, the actor said things would have turned out differently. …
Hanks also revisited romantic comedy classic Sleepless In Seattle. “I was probably very cranky in the beginning” of the film, he said. Coming to the material as a father, it was difficult to jive with director Nora Ephron’s take on the family dynamic between Hanks’ character Sam and his son Jonah (Ross Malinger). The script at one point called for widower Sam to take off for a weekend with a woman, but ultimately he does not based on the protest of his son. “I told Nora, ‘This is horseshit. A man who has not gotten laid in four years and he’s got a shot and he’s not gonna go because his son doesn’t like the girl? I got news for you, that kid’s going to the sitter and I’m going off to get laid.” Ultimately, the plot device for Sam not going on the dirty weekend was changed. But Hanks said it was indicative of how “the logic of drama has to be shaped as true human behavior. It has to be logically irrefutable.” …
Asked what his roles have in common, Hanks exclaimed, “It’s me!” to great laughter. Turning serious, he said, “I am not by and large a bigger than life persona. I think I’m charming as hell,” he deadpanned, “but I don’t have a huge amount of mystery. The core of it is all the decisions to say yes.” Hanks said he sometimes felt about certain characters: “If I was a little more accomplished, I could be that guy.”
Fun stuff. Read the whole thing here.