My Interview With Tom Hanks: A Look Back On His Illustrious Career And A Peek Into His Daily Life
It’s tough to separate Tom Hanks the man from Tom Hanks the actor. He’s one of the greatest to ever be on the silver screen, and he’s delighted us with his heartwarming, comedic energy in films like BIG and You’ve Got Mail. He’s put together an impressive list of animated parts, most notably The Polar Express and Toy Story, and he’s been the star of countless dramas such as Saving Private Ryanand Cast Away.
There’s a childish glint in Mr. Hanks’ eye when I sit down with him at a sparsely populated cafe in Los Angeles. It’s mid-November, and although it’s quite warm here in the city of angels Hanks is wearing a tailored overcoat, underneath which he’s sporting a turtleneck and slim fit khakis.
He’s straight out of central casting for a part in You’ve Got Mail if it was being made in 2017. I sat down with the A-lister to share a pot of oolong tea and discuss his career. My questions are in italics below.
The characters that you play in films are generally very nice people. I believe that people just automatically assume you’re this really genuine, really kind human being. Have you found it difficult to live up to those expectations?
First of all let’s get one thing straight here. I sleep in the buff, and I won’t be judged for that. My wife, whom I love dearly, wakes me up every morning at 4:30 a.m. by dumping an ice cold bucket of water on my naked body. I sleep on a firm mattress, with no blankets and the air conditioning set to 54 degrees.
After 30 straight years of having her dump this ice water on me to begin the day, you would think that by now I’d be used to it.
Let me tell you a little something - ice cold water? It’s always ice cold. And I always yelp like a dog when I’m woken up with it. I scream bloody murder every morning when she does it to me. I then go into my bathroom, where I yell obscenities and perform rude hand gestures in front of a statue of a giraffe. Following that, I take a leisurely three and a half minute, scalding hot shower. I continue yelling obscenities until I’ve finished scrubbing myself of the previous night’s sins.
By now it’s usually right around 5:00 a.m. and I’m off to work in the glistening hills of Hollywood.
You want to know what it takes to be as nice as I am to fans, interviewers like you, and the people I work with? That routine. Every single morning. For 30 plus years. You have to release all of the bad demons from your soul before you leave the house in the morning. That is the key to being nice to people in real life.
You once said that your role as a death row guard in The Green Mile was the most psychologically taxing of your career. Could you explain why that was?
[Mr. Hanks takes a sip of tea, staring at me quizzically from his chair]
Well, the magic of Michael Clarke Duncan, obviously. He’s a wizard. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he cured a woman of cancer and I still can’t quite believe it. I mean he pumped life back into a dead mouse. I saw that, with my own eyes, in the movie. Just amazing stuff.
What do you mean by that? Like his acting chops?
No, no. I mean Michael Clarke Duncan wasn’t acting in <i>The Green Mile</i>. He really does have those supernatural powers. The guys on set told me so, and you saw the movie, right?
Yeah, of course I saw it. The healing of the woman with cancer when he sucks that shit out of her was special effects. That mouse was CGI. Those were special effects.
Okay, listen buddy. I didn’t come here to be insulted. What in the fuck are “special effects” [Mr. Hanks did the air quotes]?
[Mr. Hanks is now motioning for the waiter]
Excuse me, garcon?? Would you be so kind as to bring us an ice cold bucket of your finest mineral water?
What are you doing, Tom?
[Mr. Hanks is no longer speaking to me. He has a demonic look on his face as I see the waiter from the corner of my eye, confused as all get out, carrying a bucket full of ice water towards us. I’m starting to get a little scared, especially because Hanks is within arms length of me. I don’t know what this man is capable of.]
Listen, why don’t we wrap this up?
No, you listen to me. I’m calling the shots now. Unless you want to see a very public, very loud display in this cafe you are going to do <i>exactly</i> what I tell you to do.
Ugggggh, okay Tom.
Very good. I’m gonna strip down naked, and the second I get my skivvies off I want you to dump that bucket of water on me. Following that, I’m gonna ask that you leave and tell all of your friends what you saw here today. I’m a nice guy. This is how I remain nice all of the time. Understood?
[Mr. Hanks is now naked. I am mortified, but I do what he says.]
Mr. Hanks has since been banned from this particular cafe in Los Angeles, and I am now a firm believer that the man needs to be psychologically evaluated. Join me next week when I interview Vin Diesel from penthouse apartment in Miami, Florida.