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Tom Hanks: A Life in Pictures

19 October 2013

The legendary star of Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Big and Toy Story gave a hilarious and heartfelt Life in Pictures interview with Francine Stock, sponsored by Deutsche Bank.

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Tom Hanks' Life in Pictures Interview

Download Tom Hanks' A Life in Pictures interview and Q&A transcript to read in full.

Tom Hanks Life in Pictures inteview (212.4 KB)

"I guess the first job I ever got was because I was louder and funnier than everyone else!". Right from the start, Tom Hanks' Life in Pictures interview was filled with his self-deprecating humour & signature charm, as he recalled his most significant roles over the past thirty years. Francine Stock began by asking Hanks about his early comedy performances, including Splash (1984) and Turner & Hooch (1989). Hanks replied that "the chops you develop in comedy will serve you in other forms of storytelling".

Discussing Big (1988), Hanks stressed the importance of "getting back in touch with a sense of play" - from setting up toy army men on the floor of his house to learning from his son's experiences in summer camp. From child to father, Hanks spoke in depth about his portrayal of Sam Baldwin in Sleepless in Seattle (1993), one of his early dramatic roles which would ultimately lead to his towering performances in films such as Philadelphia (1993) and Cast Away (2000).

When speaking about the phenomenal success and enduring popularity of Forrest Gump (1994), Hanks' described it "like lightning in a bottle...Robert Zemeckis cracked some kind of code on that film." He also admitted that people will always see him as Forrest Gump, joking that "when I go to someone's house, they say 'son of a gun - Forrest Gump is in my living room!'".

On Saving Private Ryan (1998), Hanks suggested that Steven Spielberg's ambition was to change "everyone's concept of a war film." Transporting the audience to Omaha Beach, Hanks's recalled the intense physical challenges the film presented, describing it as "an acting experience void of theory."

Ending by revealing insights into his latest film Captain Philips (2013) - "I had no idea what [the hijackers] were saying until I watched the film with subtitles" - it's clear that the challenges keep coming in thick and fast for Hanks; and as exhilarating a whistle-stop tour through Hanks' career as the interview was, there appears to be so much more yet to come.

was like lightning in a bottle...Zemeckis cracked some kind of code on that film.

Tom Hanks' Career in Film

Nearly 30 years ago, Tom Hanks fell in love with a mermaid on screen. In only his second film, his performance as Allen Bauer in Ron Howard’s Splash (1984) – warm-hearted, charming, with self-deprecating humour and natural wit – established many of the key characteristics that would lead to Hanks becoming one of Hollywood’s most successful and popular stars. Since then, Hanks has played a range of memorable characters, from a young boy who grows up too fast in Penny Marshall’s Big (1988) to a WWII Captain in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998) and, of course, voicing everybody’s favourite toy cowboy Woody in the Toy Story series.

In his early performances, Hanks revelled in flexing his comedy muscles. Whether facing a suburban nightmare in Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs (1989) or being forced into an unlikely partnership with a slobbering dog in Roger Spottiswoode’s Turner & Hooch (1989), Hanks perfectly captured the everyman caught in a domestic crisis (often of his own making). In Nora Ephron’s romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Hanks’ sensitive portrayal of Sam Baldwin, a grieving widow with a young son, highlighted his immense talent as a dramatic actor while still retaining his comedic touch. This has allowed Hanks to consistently surprise with his career choices, be it the quiet intensity he brings to Sam Mendes’ Road to Perdition (2002) or in more light-hearted fare such as Larry Crowne (2011), which Hanks also directed.

Tom Hanks: A Life in PicturesBAFTA/ Jamie Simonds Tom Hanks: A Life in PicturesBAFTA/ Jamie Simonds

It is perhaps his titular role in Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump (1994) that Hanks is most well-known for. Following on from his Oscar-winning performance in Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia (1993), Hanks was awarded a consecutive Best Actor Oscar as the wide-eyed Alabamian who stumbles into the path of some of the twentieth century’s most influential people. Hanks brings an integrity and honesty to the role that provides the film with a perfect balance to the state of the art CGI on display.

He will next be seen in Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips and John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks. In the former, he plays Captain Richard Phillips in the true story of his ship’s hijacking by Somali pirates in 2009. In the latter he portrays Walt Disney in his quest to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen. Despite the two film’s disparate narratives, it seems fitting that Hanks continues to take on such interesting and unique characters: something both he, and audiences alike, have relished throughout his career.

Tom Hanks and BAFTA

Tom Hanks has been nominated for three Leading Actor BAFTA Awards for his performances in Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan and Cast Away. In 2004, BAFTA Los Angeles awarded Hanks with the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film.

Brits to Watch 2011: Tom Hanks & Rita WilsonBAFTA/ Stewart Cook BAFTA Brits to Watch 2011BAFTA/ Stewart Cook
Brits to Watch 2011BAFTA/Adrian Carr BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards 2004BAFTA Los Angeles


This BAFTA: A Life In Pictures Interview was generously sponsored by...

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