Tom Hanks deciphers 'Code' success

March 15, 2009


The hot-button controversies that helped publicize Tom Hanks' film "The Da Vinci Code" weren't the reason the movie grossed $750 million worldwide, according to the two-time Oscar winner.

"The book was a phenomenon, and we were able to not blow that," Hanks told us at the Cinema Society/Brooks Brothers screening of "The Great Buck Howard" on Tuesday night.

While some members of the Catholic Church were up in arms over how their religion was portrayed in the film, producers publicly hinted that the media buzz over their dissension helped fill movie seats around the globe.

But, "at the end of the day, controversy does not sell tickets," Hanks said. "Engagement does, entertainment does. There'd be a lot of [controversial] movies out there that would've made $500 million, but none of them did."

As for his role in "Buck Howard," Hanks says it was an easy call - and it didn't hurt that the flick stars his son Colin, portraying a manager who helps bring a mentalist's career back from the brink of oblivion. "After Colin showed me the script, I said I'd like to play [his character's] dad. Colin rolled his eyes and said, 'All right, all right,'" Hanks laughed.

"I get it," he continued. "Just because I am his dad doesn't mean I have to play his dad in the movie, but selfishly, as an actor, I wanted that role."

Since another Hanks flick, "Sleepless in Seattle," is being made into a play ("Big" hit the Great White Way in '96), we asked the star if he had any other picks from his résumé he'd like to see on Broadway.

"'Turner & Hooch'?" Hanks laughed. "Seriously, they are developing "Catch Me If You Can" right now. I'd say 'Charlie Wilson's War.' It's like a play because you can go in and out of time and space, and it works."

Also on hand at the screening was co-star John Malkovich, who portrays the mentalist, a character loosely based on The Amazing Kreskin. He and the younger Hanks were both present when Kreskin himself arrived and gave each his infamous energetic - and powerful - handshake.

"I'm okay. This is a robotic arm," Colin deadpanned to us afterward.

Malkovich had a different take: "That just about tore my arm out of its socket."

Aside from a killer grip, the actor added that if he had supernatural powers of his own, he'd use them to find his glasses and cell phone. Said Malkovich: "They're lost every second of every day."

Source : Dailynews