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Tom Hanks says he has written his first novel as a “release from the never-ending pressure” of making movies.
The two-time Oscar winner is publishing The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, inspired by his own screen career, and will be out on May 9, 2023.
In a new interview with BBC, Tom addressed the critics, saying that their reaction is ‘not fair’. He was ‘unapologetic’ and knows the book will ‘live and die based on its own ability to entertain and enlighten an audience’.
Hanks also said that his ‘day job as a movie star’ means he can ‘handle’ any criticism. He added: ‘[I’ve become] stronger when it comes down to really being torn apart’. The novel is an access-all-areas ticket to experience the peculiar magic of the “business of show”.
According to the synopsis, the book is based on “a wildly ambitious story of the making of a colossal, star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film, and the humble comic book that inspired it all.” Unfortunately, many critics weren’t that impressed by the novel, with The Sunday Times David Sexton describing the book as ‘Hanks mansplains movie-making’ while branding the writing ‘clunky’.
The Observer’s Tim Adams said: ‘the book captures the humdrum of Hollywood but lacks his on-screen ability to breathe life into characters’.
The New York Times’s Alexandra Jacobs wrote: ‘Whimsically chronicling the creation of a Marvel-style movie, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece sags under a deluge of detail.’
Included in the book are comic books written by Hanks.
There are plenty of his own life lessons in the novel.
‘Every character in the book does something I’ve experienced while making a movie, as well as discovered a philosophy or learned an important lesson. Even the foolish moments are some kind of stunt I’ve pulled or mistake I’ve survived,’.
‘The source for a movie can go back as many years as are in history. A story turns on a single moment in the life of someone, then all the anecdotes of the current day magnify that moment,’ explained Hanks.
Hanks, 66, says he has “always” written “in some form or another”. His collection of short stories, Uncommon Type, was published in 2017 and has sold more than 234,000 copies in the UK.
He began writing the 448-page novel the following year. “I wrote in between films, I wrote wherever I was, I wrote on planes, I wrote at home, I wrote on vacation, I wrote in hotel rooms, I wrote on long weekends when I wasn’t working,” he says. “It’s not fair,” he concedes, that his debut novel has been published without going through the usual trial of rejections from publishers, while other first-time writers struggle.
But he is unapologetic and knows the book will ultimately “live and die based on its own ability to entertain and enlighten an audience”. His novel is about the making of a multi-million dollar superhero action movie, and features a cast of characters including an eccentric director and a self-important and highly obstructive male actor who disrupts and delays filming.
So it’s a surprising admission when the affable voice of Woody in Toy Story confesses: “I have pulled every single one of those moments of behaviour myself on a set. “Not everybody is at their best every single day on a motion picture set,” he continues.
“I’ve had tough days trying to be a professional when my life has been falling apart in more ways than one and the requirement for me that day is to be funny, charming and loving – and it’s the last way I feel.”
Tom is one of the most successful actors of his era with hit films like Sleepless In Seattle, Saving Private Ryan and Elvis under his belt. His next is Pinocchio.