A Hologram for the King is just one of many films to have recently debuted at this year's Tribeca Film Festival in New York, but what sets this picture apart is that its star, veteran actor and producer Tom Hanks, was on hand to answer questions. In a rare opportunity, Hanks talked frankly about his film career and the lessons he's learned through his years in Hollywood.
A Hologram For The King Star Tom Hanks Reflects On The Good Times And His Own Favorite FilmTom Hanks took the time to recall some of his favorite memories from a vast film career that includes many of the greatest hits of all time. One of Tom's fondest memories was of a behind-the-scenes moment on the set of Apollo 13, which also starred Kevin Bacon and was directed by Ron Howard. The recollection begins as Howard is trying to determine the best angle for framing a particular shot and Bacon approaches the director.
"I don't want to boss you around, Ron, but I really think the shot should be a B.F.C.U.K.B. right here," Hanks recalled Kevin saying to the Apollo 13 director.
The acronym was lost on everyone, including Howard, so Bacon clarified that it stood for "big f—ing close up of Kevin Bacon."
"Bill Paxton and I went berserk," Hanks said, laughing. "We were talking in that same acronym for the remainder of the movie. God bless him. God bless Kevin Bacon, man. I use that now all the time."
Not surprisingly, Tom revealed that his favorite film, choosing from his extensive career, is That Thing You Do, which Hanks also wrote and directed. He said the story holds a personal connection for him, but, even beyond that, Mr. Hanks recalled that everyone had a very enjoyable time on the set. Tom says everyone got along well together and they had great laughs behind the scenes.
Even Tom Hanks Had To Learn To Say NoIn the early years, Tom Hanks was just like any other actor, taking whatever came his way just to pay the bills and to build a name for himself. Those days gave us some of Tom's funniest moments with his role on television's Bosom Buddies, to films like Bachelor Party (1984) and The Money Pit (1986), but Hanks now reveals that he eventually came to realize that he couldn't keep doing mindless comedies for the rest of his life.
"At one point in my mid 30s when I was making an awful lot of movies about the goofy headed guy who can't get laid, I realized then that I had to start saying a very very difficult word to people, which was no," said Hanks.
Learning to say no was a turning point for Hanks, says the Hologram for the King star, because it allowed him to build a reputation for only taking on quality films and movies to which he felt a personal connection. Over time, Mr. Hanks found that he was able to pick and choose the projects that interested him most. Hanks also says that being able to pick his films hasn't eliminated the risk, because there's no sure formula for determining which films will be hits and which ones will result in failure.
"So when it works, you just say, 'Hey, we dodged all the mines.' And when it doesn't, you can go back and say, 'Oh, you stepped on a mine there, and that blew a leg off.' You can go back and examine every decision you made or were a part of."
Tom Hanks is an amateur historian, among other things, and he was also happy to announce that one of his future projects will be a period piece about the Eighth Air Force in World War II. The WWII era is a favorite time period for Hanks in particular, "because the times were so vibrant and the people alive did not know whether they were going to live or die."
[Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]