Tom Hanks confesses all

May 04, 2009

How do you counter comments on the Internet that say: “It’s sad that a great actor like Tom Hanks has become a pawn of Satan and is aiding the cover-up of the existence of the Illuminati today and is a part of Dan Brown’s fraud”?
Thanks for saying that I’m a great actor! People have the right to voice their opinion and I accept their views with utmost grace. Such comments don’t bother me! We never wanted to hurt anyone’s sentiments. I feel sorry for those who made such accusations, since they are not aware of the right perspective of cinema. Angels & Demons would show a great piece of fictional work with detailed research work behind every scene. Dan Brown is a wordsmith whom I dearly respect and hope for the best with regard to the film’s box-office success. These critical statements will be downsized, once the flick enters theatres. I’d request the audiences to please watch the film and then decide. Please do not go by the grapevine.

You’ve played Langdon before. What makes you decide whether or not to revisit a character?
I never wanted to do that, because I’m always interested in trying to create new territory but there’s something unique about what Dan has created in this Robert Langdon character. It’s incredibly original, thought-provoking, and, on a cinematic level, irresistible. It’s challenging to play someone who is an expert in this obscure field. When we worked in Rome near places of great antiquity, I was fascinated to learn the history of the site. Robert Langdon sees history in layers. If you’re smart enough to see the trail and follow it, and wise enough to put together the hidden clues, you just might bust open the conspiracy. And you only have so much time. Who doesn’t love that?

Om Puri had described how you used to call him Omi during the shooting of Charlie Wilson’s War in Morocco, and how you were intrigued by the way in which Indian actors shoot almost two films a day. What’s the one thing about Indian films that has left you pleasantly surprised?
Firstly, give Omi the best of my regards. All actors, regardless of their nationality, have an unending commitment to their work. One thing that gives Asians an edge over others, is how they execute all that with very limited technologies and other resources by which they produce films. Though I don’t remember any particular Indian movie, if I have seen any, I like Asian films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Hero.... The movies were superb.

Some Hollywood actors have started being part of Indian productions. Doesn’t the sheer size of viewership in India attract you?
Size does matter. But what attracts me, is a good script, a trustworthy director and a supportive cast. If I would get all these together, there is no reason for denying, then. But I’d first sum up my ongoing commitments and then move Eastwards.

Has Slumdog Millionaire changed your perception of India?
I don’t make perceptions easily, because sometimes what you see, is not even exact. But, of course, Slumdog Millionaire had a real buzz all around. A great storyline, clubbed with exceptional music and a superbly executed end-product lures everyone. I appreciate Danny’s efforts and congratulate him on his success. Wonder how happy he must have felt after a streak of Oscars! I don’t know whether you know this, but in ’95, my co-actor, Ewan McGregor, won widespread acclaim for Shallow Grave, his first collaboration with director Danny Boyle. In ’96, he starred in Danny’s critically hailed Trainspotting as junkie Mark Renton.

When you’ve multiple Oscars in your drawing room and millions in your bank, a steady run of box-office successes, and so much of respect from people, what’s it about a film that drives you to want to do it?
Attaining success is real tough. However, sustaining it is tougher, because then, your decisions make you what you become. I’ve had some real highs and lows, but I love my work so much that I never once thought of anything else. What entices me is not only the rich character, but also the chance to work with the world’s best actors. The script, concept, and in some cases, the director matter too.

You’ve recently been given the Chaplin Award. Having received so many awards, do acceptance speeches come naturally to you? Or, do you feel awkward when superlatives are used to describe you?
Most of the time, no adjectives or superlatives come out in the thrill of being honoured. I feel the same warmth each time, like I felt at the time of my first Oscar. It is all extempore and nothing prepared. You can’t call it awkward, really. Actually, I don’t crave for awards anymore. Instead, critical acclaim is more important. That justifies my hard work. But yes, awards along with acclaim, boost the morale.

Julia Roberts says that you have a special ability to walk into any room and make the person feel like he/she in his/her living room. Do you realize that you have such an impact on people? Is this a cultivated or spontaneous habit?
It’s her greatness, actually. I love my colleagues and always want them to be comfortable in my presence. So, I try to make them feel at home even though we are shooting in front of the Pantheon in Rome with hundreds of tourists. This habit of mine is what I’ll call a god-gifted spontaneity.

How difficult has it been to handle fame and be constantly quizzed about your personal life?
Fame is just another name for destiny holding an upper edge over me. Being quizzed about my personal life and issues makes me feel squeezed out but I take it in my stride and see it as a part of the fame-game. Otherwise, who would ask a common man about his/her personal life? I know that my silence over my personal life would become news too.

In many of your interviews, you’ve often spoken about experiencing loneliness before your wife ‘saved’ your life. Has that, in any way, helped you to be a better actor?
Life is a learning experience and there are different phases of it for everyone, so I am also not poles apart from them. But I am very happy that I have such an understanding life partner, who gave me another chance and all the way through my professional or personal achievements, my wife has played a pivotal role. I can’t imagine myself without her. Though I rarely remember mentioning her in any of the media interactions, I am sure she would like this.

Source : Times of India