Following the news that Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson have been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, a story and photo from satirical news site The Betoota Advocate began circulating that showed the two-time Oscar winner with a popular prop from his 2000 film Cast Away.
In the movie, as Hanks’ character begins to exhibit intense loneliness and despair, he creates Wilson by using mud to draw a face on a volleyball. The story states that the hospital staff caring for the couple brought in a volleyball painted with the same Wilson face to cheer Hanks up. BuzzFeed, however, has clarified that the article and accompanying photo are both hoaxes.
In fact, the actual image comes from a 2015 hockey game where Hanks posed with the ball for a Jumbotron shot. The Betoota Advocate clearly photoshopped the original photo of the actor into a hospital room, but many reporters and well-known Twitter users didn’t know the original source was a satirical news site, prompting them to share the story and pic around the internet anyways. Oops!
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While the photo of Hanks’ reunion with Wilson is very much fake, the effects of the coronavirus are anything but. The World Health Organization has officially declared it a pandemic as of Wednesday afternoon, as total worldwide cases now exceed 125,000 and have resulted in almost 5,000 deaths. Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has ordered a total shutdown of the country following over 10,000 cases and 600 deaths, while the United States is seeing a surge in the virus that has infected over 1,000 people and killed almost 40.
Meanwhile, as the virus continues to infect people around the world, it’s having effects on the entertainment industry, too. China recently pushed back the release of Disney’s new live-action Mulan and Fast & Furious 9 just got hit with a full year delay.
As for Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, they are said to be in good spirits as they continue their isolation and treatment. We’re wishing them a speedy recovery and will let you know when we hear more.