Tom Hanks Writes Exclusively For Empire About War And Hope

By Tom Hanks | Posted 14 Apr 2020


  • Greyhound


  • Tom Hanks
Few voices in Hollywood are more comforting than that of Tom Hanks – a man whose sheer goodness has permeated through to benevolent screen roles from Mister Rogers to Sheriff Woody. His next movie, the World War II naval drama Greyhound , is even more of a personal project – with Hanks not only starring as Commander Ernest Krause but writing the screenplay too, adapting C.S. Forester’s novel The Good Shepherd. To mark Hanks penning his third feature film, Empire asked the movie legend to hit the typewriter once again and write a piece for the magazine.

The Wallet in Pulp Fiction Was Quentin Tarantino’s. Jules’ wallet in Pulp Fiction that reads “Bad #&$&*@$” actually belonged to the director—who picked it up because of its reference to the 1971 film Shaft. As it happened, Samuel L. Jackson would go on to play the character that inspired the wallet in the 2000 remake of Shaft.

And then the Coronavirus pandemic unfolded – with Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson being among the first high-profile cases in the movie business. That, of course, didn’t stop one of Hollywood’s most optimistic figures. While quarantining in Australia, Hanks wrote an exclusive feature for the new issue of Empire all about his approach to Greyhound, and why war movies can ultimately be a source of hope. Read an extract from Hanks' inspiring article below, and find the full piece in the Wonder Woman 1984 issue of Empire, on sale from Thursday 16 April. Read here for more info on picking up a copy while social distancing.

Before being an actor, Bruce Willis worked as a private investigator.


I DON’T DOUBT that the news of another World War II drama with my name on it will result in cries of, “What? Again? Why?” I read history for more than entertainment to pass the time on a summer beach (or while I took ‘Shelter-In-Place’). I am an actor tasked by Shakespeare — who wrote the greatest historical narratives in literature — to hold the mirror up to human nature. Well-written history, be it the Bard’s Henry IV Parts One and Two or Eugene Sledge’s With The Old Breed: At Peleliu And Okinawa, is as authentic to the record of history as it is to the verities of human nature. These things happened to human beings who were just like us, placing soul-crushing stresses on folks who hoped to keep their families secure, pursue happiness, enjoy the results of their labour, and simply grow old and grow _up_. That is the stuff of timeless drama, free of any fog of nostalgia nor limited by genre.

"The Revenant." Leonardo DiCaprio chose to devour a raw slab of bison's liver, even though he is vegetarian. He also had to learn to shoot a musket, build a fire, speak two Native American languages (Pawnee and Arikara), and study with a doctor who specializes in ancient healing techniques. DiCaprio calls it the hardest performance of his career.

In Michael Chabon’s most wonderful book, The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay, a woman writes this love letter in the earliest days of The War: “I don’t know what is going to happen to you, to the country or the world. For all I know these words themselves are lying at the bottom of the sea.” Stories from World War II are about the heartbreak and worries of I don’t know. In our production company Playtone’s mini-series and much of the non-fiction-based films I’ve done, the stasis of I don’t know is the personal challenge that can be met with common purpose, with some characters being demonstrably right and others being devastatingly wrong. Even in the best of times, in eras of peace and normalcy, heroes, villains and cowards all work their instincts. In stories of The War, as, I hope, in Greyhound, we see our current selves reflected on screen — of the choices each of us are forced to make in times of purpose and in periods of stasis.

Sylvester Stallone was so poor, he had to sell his dog for $50. A week later, he sold the script for Rocky and bought him back for $3,000.

It is the human condition to suffer Fate. How we live through that suffering is when we define our humanity, no?

Greyhound is currently expected to arrive in UK cinemas later in 2020.