Tom Hanks Ginnifer Goodwin Affair: “Welcome to the future, Hadley!” says the narrator. Tom Hanks murmurs something from behind his computer screen, as he quickly glances to the right of his laptop to see whether my name is on the list. The question he poses is, “Can you recall the last time you felt comfortable running about with other people?”
In fact, the last time I saw him was at the Academy Awards in February, when he had received his sixth Oscar nomination for his portrayal of renowned US children’s television presenter Fred Rogers in the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which he had won in 2011.
“Do you remember those carefree days of the Academy Awards?” says the host. The thought occurred to me, “What’s that location in Italy under the mountain that exploded?” Pompeii? “We have arrived at Pompeii! It’s a wonderful day! …”There’s a little bit of smoke on the horizon, but other than that…” he adds, ending the sentence with a laugh.
In part, this is due to the coronavirus, which has emerged as the new Vesuvius. Hanks and I are communicating via screens, and he’s promoting an upcoming picture that will be streamed on Apple TV+ rather than distributed in theatres. It follows Capt Ernie Krause (Hanks, of course) on his first combat mission during the Battle of the Atlantic, which is shown in Greyhound. I tell him that it is a typical Hanks character, in which he portrays a genuinely decent guy who finds himself in unusual circumstances. Hanks, on the other hand, takes my remark more seriously.
“Look, I’ve had a lot of experience playing captains,” he adds. “Capt Jim Lovell [in Apollo 13]; Capt Richard Phillips [in Captain Phillips]; Capt Sully Sullenberger [in Sully]; Capt Miller [in Saving Private Ryan] are all examples of pilots who have risen to the occasion. In any of these parts, and especially in Ernie Krause’s, I attempt to bring to mind the question that anybody might ask themselves — including you, Hadley — “What would I do if I were in his shoes?”
When this happens, it becomes something more tangible than a museum exhibit depicting what it was like to be on board this ship in the North Atlantic.” Indeed, it is difficult to think of many – or perhaps any– performers who are as adept at creating immediate empathy with an audience as Tom Hanks in this regard. It’s one of the reasons why so many of his films are so comfortable to watch: Big, Sleepless in Seattle, and A League of Their Own are among my favorite comfort pictures (although the movies for which he won Oscars, Forrest Gump and Philadelphia, are very much not, and would probably be canceled if they were released today).
It’s also why he’s often referred to as an “everyman,” not because he himself is relatable, but because he makes his characters so accessible, despite the fact that he’s a Hollywood megastar who collects typewriters, a difference that is often misunderstood.
Greyhound is not just a vehicle for Hanks’ acting talents; he also produced and authored the script, which was adapted from C S Forester’s book The Good Shepherd. “My ego has gotten the better of me, Hadley, and it’s all over the place!” he exclaims. Hanks has written films in the past, including That Thing You Do!, a 1996 ode to 1960s rock & roll, and Larry Crowne, a 2011 drama.
He has dedicated a significant amount of time and effort to Greyhound, which he has worked on for almost a decade and which is one of those epic war films that should be seen on the big screen as soon as possible. As a result, the change in plans has been “an utter sorrow,” according to him. He duly cites some advantages of the move – such as the fact that it is less expensive and that everyone can see it on the same day – but he also acknowledges that “there is a difference in image and sound quality that goes along with [moving from the cinema to the television].”