'Horrible', 'silly' or 'genuinely good': Tom Hanks opens up about his movies

At the 2020 Golden Globes gala, Tom Hanks (California, 65 years old) joked with the press about the biggest common place of his career: that he always plays good person roles. “My current plan is to go to Australia to work with Baz Luhrmann,” he announced about casting him for the Elvis Presley biopic. “I will play Colonel Tom Parker and silence all your stupid questions about why I never do bad.” Two years later, the film is about to be released (it will be June 24 in Spain), Hanks has an important nuance about his character, considered the villain in the shadow of the singer’s life: “He’s not evil, he’s just wrong” , declared in an interview with David Marchese in New York Times which, due to its honesty, is giving a lot to talk about these days on the networks. It would seem that, even when he turns the image of himself into the role of a manipulator, Tom Hanks ends up highlighting the most human traits of the character, those with which it is possible to identify.

It’s what he’s been doing for most of his career. Compared to chameleon actors, he is an old-fashioned star, one of those celebrities where character and performer are indistinguishable. Those whom the public wants to see in a record maintained over time assuming that the actors were exactly as they appeared on screen. John Wayne always represented the same kind of old-fashioned masculinity; Bette Davis was the baddie the public loved to hate; Cary Grant, the humble seducer who oozed charm; Katharine Hepburn, the independent woman; James Stewart, the upstanding next-door neighbor everyone could relate to.

With whom Hanks has been compared the most is precisely with James Stewart. Both are the common man, the average citizen in his most idealistic and positive version. The viewer identifies with them, they are what the public would like to be. In more cynical times this is not so good: that impeccable image is seen with a certain condescension. Patriotism and the desire to tell stories of a specific time, that of the childhood of the generation boomer, as reactionary and conservative. Being the ideal son-in-law and the perfect father seems less interesting than being an antihero.

But in times of moral crisis, the archetypes of “the good guy” and “the bad guy” have been subverted again. Bill Cosby, the father of America, turned out to be a monster. Kevin Spacey, the character actor, a satyr. Against this, Tom Hanks has a bombproof public image. There are no complaints about “equivocal behavior” on sets, no disgruntled colleagues who criticize him, no economic or moral scandals. He has been married to director Rita Wilson since 1988 and there have been no public shadows in his marriage beyond the fact that one of his four children has come out a bit conflicted. It would seem that Hanks is, despite everything, just what he seems: a decent guy, a great actor who knows how to be humble and downplays himself in a time when the honesty and integrity that he and his characters exude are already not only desirable but subversive.

Tom Hanks, in a promotional image taken in 1980 for the ABC series 'Bosom Buddies' (broadcast in Spain under the title 'Amigos del alma').
Tom Hanks, in a promotional image taken in 1980 for the ABC series ‘Bosom Buddies’ (broadcast in Spain under the title ‘Amigos del alma’).Walt Disney Television Photo Archives (ABC)

This career full of milestones was built and defined little by little. He started out as a kid with weaknesses, very much in the style of 1980s cinema. Today he is a flawless but realistic hero. We review Tom Hanks’ career through some of his most iconic films and his own words.

Single party (1984)

With an unusual humility in his profession, in an interview in Playboy in 1989, he recognized that his first successes would have been just as successful without him. “I can’t take credit for the success of Splash Y Single partyother than being in the right place at the right time and getting the job.”

Big (1988)

Penny Marshall’s film about a 13-year-old boy who suddenly asks to become an adult and succeeds was his first success with critics and audiences, his first Oscar nomination and confirmed him as a box-office star capable of leading ambitious projects (for his role they had shuffled the names of Harrison Ford or Robert De Niro). On her day, she presented it simply: “It’s a genuinely good movie that I think is really honest and touches consciences.”

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

For the film adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s novel, they decided to make the character of Hanks into a nice guy. The result was a fascinating fiasco that podcasts are still devoted to today. Hanks has no mercy for himself: “It’s one of the most horrible movies ever made!” he told Oprah Winfrey. “Everybody was a mistake castingEspecially me”.

Tom Hank, at the 1993 Berlin Film Festival promoting 'Philadelphia', the film with which he won his first Oscar.
Tom Hank, at the 1993 Berlin Film Festival promoting ‘Philadelphia’, the film with which he won his first Oscar.Ronald Siemoneit (Sygma via Getty Images)

philadelphia (1993)

Hanks got his first Oscar for playing a lawyer with AIDS who was fired for it at a time when the disease carried tremendous social stigma. in the documentary The hidden celluloid (1995), Tom Hanks spoke about the impact of that role and that film on the perception of the disease: “My screen personality was not threatening. That gay man with AIDS was not scary in part because little tommy hanks I was playing the part.” However, she acknowledges New York Times that current circumstances would make such a film impossible: “Could a straight man do what I did in philadelphia now? No, and rightly so. The objective of philadelphia was not to be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie was that I was playing a gay man. We’ve gotten past that and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight man playing a gay man.”

Forrest Gump (1994)

Turned into a pop artifact, the film was one of the highest grossing of its year and swept the Oscars (Hanks took his second statuette). With a large legion of detractors, Forrest Gump is often considered sensitive and, above all, inferior to pulp fiction, its main competitor at the Oscars, which did incarnate the modern cinema of the time. This is how the protagonist recognizes it: “The problem with Forrest Gump is that he won a billion dollars. If we had made a successful movie, Bob [Zemeckis, el director] and I would have been geniuses. But because we made a wildly successful movie, we were geniuses. diabolical. Is it a big problem? No, but there are books of the best movies of all time, and Forrest Gump it doesn’t show up because, oh, it’s that cheesy nostalgia fest. Every year there is an article about ‘the film that should have won the award for best film that year’ and it is always pulp fiction. Which is a masterpiece, no doubt.”

Tom Hanks poses with the Oscar he won in 1995 for 'Forrest Gump'.
Tom Hanks poses with the Oscar he won in 1995 for ‘Forrest Gump’.Barry King (Getty Images)

thewonders (nineteen ninety six)

Hanks’ feature film directorial debut came from a script he wrote himself during the time he was promoting philadelphia Y Forrest Gump. “I had talked about myself for a year straight, so I started writing to keep some creative sanity,” he revealed to dead line. Years later, when asked his opinion about the film, his comment was “I love it” and, despite the fact that it did not have the favor of the public and the critics to which he was accustomed, he defines it as the best filming experience of his life.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

In Spielberg’s World War II epic, the director himself seemed to have a conflict with the idea of ​​putting the actor in moral gray situations, but he rebelled. “Steven Spielberg said to me, ‘I don’t think the public wants to see [su personaje] John Miller Shoot and Kill Germans’. I said, ‘I’m sorry, Steven. You’re not going to bring me here and turn the character into another one, just because you don’t want Tom Hanks killing soldiers.”

You have an email (1998)

Nora Ephron, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan reunited after the success of Something to remember (1993) in a new version of The bazaar of surprises, a 1940 film starring, of course, James Stewart. The comparison between Hanks and Stewart was not lost on during the promotion: “I decided to ignore that issue. I mean, they’ll never see me remake swordless knight either Living is beautiful! But The bazaar of surprises it’s very different. This is a very young Jimmy Stewart. He is Jimmy Stewart before Jimmy Stewart was Jimmy Stewart.”

Tom Hanks, with his back to the camera, poses for the press in Cannes during a screening of 'The Da Vinci Code' in 2006.
Tom Hanks, with his back to the camera, poses for the press in Cannes during a screening of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ in 2006.Pool BENAINOUS/CATARINA/LEGRAND (Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Tom Hanks speaks in New York Times: “The aftermath of Robert Langdon [su personaje, y el protagonista de la saga inspirada en los best sellers de Dan Brown] they are nonsense. The Da Vinci Code it was nonsense. Those delightful treasure hunts are as true to history as the James Bond movies are to espionage. All we were doing was promising a distraction. There is nothing wrong with a good deal, as long as it is a good deal. When we made the third movie [Inferno, 2016]We proved that it was not such a good deal. But let me tell you something else about The Da Vinci Code. It was my forty-something birthday. We were shooting in the Louvre at night. I changed my pants in front of the Mona Lisa! They brought me a birthday cake in the Great Hall! Who can have that experience?

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