In an exclusive interview for my BBC show Alternative Cinema, Tom Hanks, who openly supported Barack Obama in the 2008 US elections and made donations to many Democratic politicians, denies being a political guy. He is only interested in examining the process. “I admit it! I voted for the president of the United States, that’s my right as an American citizen, but I am not a guy every time you stick a microphone in his face, I am gonna try to wax eloquent what my political statement is. I don’t think that I have anything to add to the public discourse.”
The highest all-time box office star reveals that he trusts his instincts when he chooses a role. “There is an initial rush, and then I go and meet the filmmaker and if they are going for the same territories as I see it, then saying Yes is pretty easy,” he says.
Having recently played the eponymous Captain Phillips and Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, Hank says that bad guys in Hollywood movies are more complex these days. “Part of it is the consciousness of filmmakers who are not interested in doing a two-dimensional good guys vs bad guys protagonists, and another part is the taste of the audiences who are not satisfied with a world on the screen that doesn’t reflect the world they live in. And it also makes good business because the majority of the world probably have a brown hair and brown eyes.”
Hanks’ riveting performances in Captain Phillips and Saving Mr Banks have rendered him a forerunner in this year’s awards race. He admits that it was easier to inhabit Captain Phillips character than Walt Disney’s, because the former was around to spend time with, while he had not met the latter. Hence, he had to go through every piece of film and video of Disney that he could lay his hands on. “But that’s only an external version of the man that you had to start with, because I don’t know the anecdotal information from the man himself,” he explains.” With Rich (Captain Phillips) I was able to talk with one on one about anything under the sun.” So Hanks had to listen to stories from Disney’s collaborators, who fed him with anecdotes that availed him in adding behavioral nuances to the character.
Hanks has won two Academy Awards for Best Actor for his roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. Will he gain another one? We will know in February.