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Tom Hanks: A lot of my films don’t make sense

Saving Private Ryan and Forrest Gump star says a lot of his films haven’t worked – or made money

Published: Saturday, 14th October 2017 at 11:23 am

If you’re the most famous actor on the planet with a string of successes, awards and an estimated fortune of $350m you think you’d be pretty pleased with yourself.


Not so Tom Hanks who has said that a large number of his films don’t work, haven’t made money or don't even make sense.

“Oh, I’d go through horrible doldrums. I’ve made an awful lot of movies that didn’t make any sense, and didn’t make any money, but that doesn’t alter the work that goes into it, or even what your opinion of it is,” the actor tells The Guardian.

Asked to elaborate, the 61-year-old, who has won two acting Oscars for the films Forrest Gump and Philadelphia, added: “Like, I made a movie that altered my entire consciousness – Cloud Atlas– I thought, jeez, this thing is so fab; it’s the only movie I’ve been in that I’ve seen more than twice.

"And it didn’t do any business. And there’s nothing you can do about it. And you must allow yourself a week of thinking, jeez, I’m so bummed out. But that’s not the only reason to do it.

“It’s lovely when it all works and you get ballyhooed. But if it’s 50/50, you’re way ahead of the game. In reality, I think it’s more like 80/20; 80% of what you do doesn’t work.”

Many of his fans may choose to disagree with the veteran performer whose film work also includes the films Saving Private Ryan, Big and Captain Phillips and is estimated to have garnered total combined receipts of around $8bn.

Cloud Atlas, the film he refers to, a $100m adaptation of the multi-layered David Mitchell novel, was positively reviewed by many critics, but did lose money at the box-office.

In the interview, speaking before the Harvey Weinstein story broke, Hanks also takes aim at Hollywood’s marginalisation of women.


He says: “There’s only ever one girl in an action movie, and it’s like, ‘Hi, I’m mysterious, but hot.’ That is literally the template for an awful lot of women in film. Television is not the same – it’s quite diverse – but in the commerce of motion pictures, it’s just not fair.”


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