• Guy Jeffries

*Star Profile: Tom Hanks*


Star Profile #5 is requested by fellow Movie Vlogger Corry E. From Pizza Sliced Movie Reviews. This segment will cover actors, directors and even composers featuring TEN of the their most iconic roles or films and not necessarily their best but for what they are most recognised and remembered for. Maybe take an unresearched guess at what the films might be.

I hope you forgive me Mr. Hanks, but after a couple of TV appearances he landed the role of Buffy Wilson in the eighties comedy series Bosom Buddies where he and flat mate had to dress in drag in order to keep their apartment. Then Happy Days' Ron Howard got him in a Happy Days episode, which lead to Hanks starring in Howard's early main feature, Splash in 1984. Ron Howard being someone who will pop up every now and then throughout Hanks' career.

Now, the distant cousin of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (could have been a great Ben Gates for National Treasure no?) went on to star in a string of classic comedies such as Bachelor Party, The Man With One Red Shoe, The Money Pit, Dragnet, Turner & Hooch and The 'Burbs. Fast becoming a movie favourite with his boyish looks and antics.

The nineties brought a long list of great successes for Hanks and showed the world of cinema lovers that he had a serious side to him as well; many of which I will cover below but it was also the action behind the camera Hanks took to. Directing his first main feature 'That Thing You Do' in '96. Written by Hanks himself and has an all star cast, about a band making it big in the sixties. More recently returning to the director's chair for his 2011 film, Larry Crowe.

He has quite the award accolade too, being the youngest actor to ever receive the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award in 2002 and received the Kennedy Centre Honors in 2014 among many others. He's also the second and only other actor to receive two oscars back to back in two years running, all of which I will cover in more detail shortly. Spencer Tracy being the first.

Tom is a keen collector of old fashioned typewriters, so much so in 2014 he released an iPhone app called the Hanx Writer which mimics the looks and sounds of a range of classic typewriters. In fact, I've written this blog with it to joyous effect.

Another thing to mention, is Tom's Twitter antics, being quite active on twitter he likes to tweet lost property he finds on his day, a glove, a high-heel and a sock; all with comedy effect and one reported happy ending of returning someone's College ID. Oh, and the occasional photobomb appearing in other people's feeds.

Year 2000 we see Hanks get stranded on an island in Robert Zemeckis' Cast Away as Chuck Noland (C. Noland, get it?) opposite Wilson the Volleyball. Production was halted for a year to give Hanks time to lose over 50lbs and grow his hair earning him an Oscar nomination. The Oscar went to Russell Crowe for Maximus in Ridley Scott's Gladiator.

2002 Sam Mendes directed Hanks in a very different role, as Irish-American mobster hitman, Michael Sullivan in Paul Newman's last on scene film, Road to Perdition. Actually based partially on a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner, it won the Oscar for best Cinematography; sadly this was also Cinematographer, Conrad L. Hall's (American Beauty, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) last film, to whom this film was dedicated to. Both Hanks and Newman played the piano duet for real, after much practise.

After Ron Howard's astronautic Apollo 13, the two would reunite for their third main collaboration. Taking the role of the then and still popular Dan Brown character, religious symbolist Robert Langdon in 'The Da Vinci Code' (2006) unsure of the success, this was a stand alone movie without the follow ups in mind resulting in 'Angels and Demons' (2009) being rewritten as a sequel as oppose to the prequel like the books because this film didn't reference Langdon's adventures in 'Angels and Demons'. Hanks wasn't even first choice for Prof. Langdon but Bill Paxton had declined the role and Russell Crowe was busy.

In 1999, after Shawshank, we see Frank Darabont direct another Stephen King adaptation 'The Green Mile' in what King refers to as "*the* single most faithful adaptation of his work" and is actually the only one of his 20 book-to-film adaptations that broke the $100 million mark at the American box office. Hanks plays Paul Edgecombe as a favour to Darabont as he had to decline the role of Shawshank's famed Andy Dufresne due to a conflicting schedule with a film I'm not going to mention just yet.

1993 we see Hanks play Meg Ryan's love interest not for the first time nor for the last time, in Nora Ephron's 'Sleepless In Seattle'. They first meet on 'Joe Versus the Volcano' in '90 and then again in '98 for Ephron's 'You Got Mail', though this film they only share a scene for approximately two minutes of the entire film.

Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan earned Hanks the Distinguished Public Service Award, from the U. S. Navy which is the highest civilian honour a civilian can receive and was inducted in the U.S. Army's Ranger Hall of Fame as an honorary member. Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson were both considered to play Capt. John Miller before the role was given to Hanks.

Using test footage from Turner & Hooch as a convincer, director John Lasseter got Hanks to take the role of Woody for Pixar's smash hit Toy Story and apparently during Hanks' childhood, he would often wonder if his toys were alive when he wasn't present. Tom recorded his dialog whilst filming 'Sleepless in Seattle' and 'A League of Their Own', two years prior because he didn't want to voice Woody during his next roles, them being more emotionally serious. One of which was...

Philadelphia. Jonathan Demme's (Silence of the Lambs) emotional and tragic drama that increased AIDS awareness and discrimination, considered by many gay activists to be the first film to shed light on the AIDS epidemic. Hanks lost over 25lbs for his role as Andrew Beckett winning his first Oscar for best actor where his acceptance speech, thanking a gay teacher of his, inspired Frank Oz's In & Out (1997) written by Paul Rudnick. Tom's childhood real-life friend, Bruce Springsteen also won an Oscar for this film with his song 'Philadelphia.'

Penny Marshall's major contributions to eighties pop culture was the 1988 massive hit 'Big' spawning Zoltar fortune tellers across the world and the famous dancing piano scene that both Hanks and the late Robert Loggia performed without the use of planned doubles. The Piano wasn't actually large enough for both of them to perform so they doubled-up on the keys. Not forgetting the awesome Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop rap Hanks performs with co-star Jared Ruston (Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, Overboard) which Hanks can still perform word of word to this day. Check out this Jonathan Ross show.

Hanks would watch young actor David Moscow, who played 'young Josh' act out old Josh's scenes and then mimic his behaviour so to create the grown up, twelve year old character. Hanks would reunite with Director Penny Marshall for her film 'A League of Their Own in '92.

But, no Tom Hanks list is complete without his second Oscar winning performance of Forrest Gump in Robert Zemeckis' film of the same name. Forrest Gump was the other film Hanks didn't want to taint Toy Story's Woody's voice with and, was the movie he was busy filming which caused him to decline the role of Shawshank's Andy Dufresne. Author of the novel from which the film is base on, Winston Groom, wrote a sequel, after the success of this film, called 'Gump & Co.' Actually referencing the film and Forrest Gump's reaction to it, even meeting Tom Hanks in the book. This film gained quite the following, with people reciting Forrest Gump quotes whenever the opportunity arises and even other films quoting Gump; also spawning a worldwide chain of Bubba Gump themed restaurants. Hanks didn't take a salary for the film and instead accepted percentage points earning him an estimated $40 million which may have made Bill Murray and Chevy Chase a little sore, particularly John Travolta who, out of the three the role was offered to confessed to it being a big mistake to decline.

He was asked to play the role of Jerry Maguire and auditioned for Risky Business both going to Tom Cruise. He dropped out of Oscar nominated dual role Kaufman characters in Adaptation (2002) and was considered for Robin Williams' Peter Banning in Spielberg's Hook. Other notable films are The Terminal, Catch Me If You Can, Cloud Atlas, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Saving Mr. Banks, Captain Philips, Charlie Wilson's War and most recent A Hologram for the King and Bridge of Spies.

And that's Tom Hanks Star Profile. Thanks for reading and please, comment or tweet me who you'll like to see featured. But currently..." My mama always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

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