Tom Hanks, veteran Hollywood actor, producer, and filmmaker, got his start in 1977 playing Grumio in a Great Lakes Theater production of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.
Three years later, in 1980, Hanks made his film debut with a small part in a horror film called He Knows You’re Alone. Though some of his most devoted fans might not have known much about those roles, there’s no doubt they know Hanks for his many performances in blockbuster films like Forrest Gump, Castaway, and Sleepless in Seattle and for lending his voice to one of PIXAR’s most famous characters, Sheriff Woody from Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, and Toy Story 4.
Over the course of Hanks’s 45-year-long career, the famed actor has amassed quite a fan following, and he’s clearly very good at what he does, as evidenced by the many awards he has won over the years, including Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Academy Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, and other awards. Hanks was even honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
But despite his full trophy cases and bookshelves, Hanks said in a recent interview that only about four of his films are worthy of being called “pretty good.”
Tom Hanks is known for playing dozens of iconic characters–and playing them so well, audiences really believe Hanks is those characters. His knack for embodying a character is an amazing talent: a talent many actors and actresses simply don’t have.
He is remembered well for his roles in films like Big, Forrest Gump, Castaway, Sully, Philadelphia, Saving Private Ryan, and Saving Mr. Banks, a film in which he portrayed Walt Disney himself.
In September, one of Hanks’s more recent projects debuted on the Disney+ streaming platform. Disney’s live-action remake of the 1940 classic Pinocchio came to the platform on September 8 and stars Tom Hanks as the kind of old shopkeeper Gepetto, who creates a puppet named Pinocchio but wishes with all his heart that he could have a real live boy as a son.
One of his newest projects isn’t a film at all, though. Rather, it’s a fictional novel about the making of a multi-million dollar superhero film and the comic book figure that inspires the whole thing. The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece is set to hit bookshelves in May 2023.
“No one knows how a movie is made,” Hanks said in an interview with People, “though they think 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.”
The star continued by saying, “Movie-making is very hard work over a very long period of time that consists of so many moments of joy slapped up against an equal number of feelings of self-loathing. It is the greatest job in the world and the most confounding of labors that I know of.”
Fans will have to wait until 2023 to see how Hanks fares at telling a story about how movies are made inside a novel with his byline. But for now, most of us will be happy disagreeing with the beloved actor, as he has clearly made more than just four “pretty good” films.