In this rapidly-changing world when it seems like nobody can agree on even basic science facts, there’s one thing that still brings the world together; Tom Hanks is not only a great actor, but a legendarily humble and gracious one as well. But now his humility has gone too far as the two-time Oscar-winning star of a beloved string of film and television hits dating back to the early 1980s, while giving an interview recently, claimed to have only starred in four “pretty good” movies.
Talking to People magazine this week about his debut novel, The Making of Another Motion Picture Masterpiece, Hanks expounded on the lessons he learned during the course of his singular and critically-acclaimed career.
“No one knows how a movie is made — though everyone thinks they do. I’ve made a ton of movies (and four of them are pretty good, I think) and I’m still amazed at how films come together. From a flicker of an idea to the flickering image onscreen, the whole process is a miracle.”
While Hanks could be said to have starred in four “pretty good” films early in his career, if you only count the crowd-pleasing 1980’s comedy hits Splash, Big, The ‘Burbs, and The Money Pit, all beloved box office hits that established him as a leading man in comedy.
By the 1990s he had branched out into serious drama that took serious creative risks with his Jimmy Stewart-esque persona as America’s “nice guy actor.” These risks paid off when Hanks won back-to-back Oscars for his work in Forrest Gump and Philadelphia, playing a mentally-disabled man and a gay lawyer dying of AIDS, respectively.
Those films came in the middle of a career-making string of hits throughout the decade that include various classics of their genre like Saving Private Ryan, Sleepless in Seattle, A League of Their Own, Apollo 13, and the first two Toy Story films. And that’s just the highlights of one decade.
The Making of Another Motion Picture Masterpiece is Hanks’ second book, following his short story collection Uncommon Type, which was a major bestseller. Or as Hanks would put it, “it sold three or four copies.”