Road to Perdition DVD - Interview

2003


"Road to Perdition" and "Catch Me If You Can" star Tom Hanks discusses his love of James Bond and his mixed feelings about DVDs.

Families are the core of "Road to Perdition". Was that important to you, since you obviously have a family of your own?
The relationships between fathers and sons are these universally confounding things, aren't they? I remember being very moved by the idea even before I could really quite understand the dynamic behind what happens between a father and son. I remember feeling it in "Death of a Salesman", the first time I read it. It's part of the Greeks and Shakespeare, Chekhov - everybody writes about this phenomenon.

Were you slightly apprehensive about working with Paul Newman?
The very idea that I would be walking onto a rehearsal stage, much less in front of a camera, with Paul - that's very intimidating! It's funny, because the way I actually greeted him for the first time... I felt like I was 13-years-old, seeing "Hombre" for the first time! Hey, there's Hombre! That's really him! Never mind Fast Eddie Felson and all those other great characters Paul's played.
Paul is an actor, pure and simple. He loves being in the company of other actors, he loves being part of the ensemble, he loves working out the clumsy bits in the course of rehearsal, all of it.

The word is you're also fond of another cinematic legend: James Bond...
Who doesn't love James Bond? I remember the first James Bond movie I saw was "You Only Live Twice", which was hands down the greatest, most spectacular motion picture I had ever seen. I saw it seven times! You've got to have a James Bond movie every couple of years.

Would you like to be the first American Bond?
No, I'd like to be the first good Felix Leiter! I've never seen a really good Felix. I mean, Jack Lord has played Felix, David Hedison has played Felix Leiter, those were two good Felixes throughout the course of the series. I'd like to be that American CIA operative who comes up in a little putt-putt boat and says "Hi James!" And James replies, "Well, Felix Leiter of the CIA!" That's who I'd like to be.

With regard to the DVD release of "Road to Perdition", do you think DVDs actually enrich our experience of a movie?
I must say, I don't think it does. There are cinephiles who want to go deeper and hear more about it. But for me, anything that removes the mystery of how it all happens for the first time cheapens the experience. Fifty years from now, maybe... it's fun to see how "Citizen Kane" was made 60 years after the fact, that's kind of interesting stuff. But to be able to see the movie and then immediately turn on a director's or an actor's commentary, or watch the 'behind the scenes' footage, or see how much was blue screened and then added later on, to me it's like Coca-Cola saying, "Oh, by the way, here's what our secret formula is." I don't get it. I've been asked many times, "Will you come in and do the commentary?" And I say "No, I don't want to." I don't want to go on DVD and explain why we did what we did or how it worked. I never watch the extras to see how the film was made. I would much rather be dazzled by the result and the mystery. I may be in the minority, but that's how I feel.

So do you rent or buy DVDs?
Oh, I buy DVDs. The idea of being able to own a movie... this to me is a fantastic thing. If I had the equipment, I would buy the 16mm prints of some films in order to have them. The fact that you can go off and for $30, or sometimes $8, buy the great "Turner and Hooch" [laughs] in the bargain bin, that we can actually own the films themselves... that's an incredible thing. To be able to turn on a movie anytime you want to - I mean, that almost gives us the power of God, doesn't it?

Source : BBC