If I lose my job, my kids will feed me

June 17, 2011

Tom Hanks talks about taking risks with a film like Larry Crowne, as he has a foolproof back-up plan — four brats to take care of him

Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks was the showstopper at ScreenSingapore, a first-of-its-kind cinema event recently held in Singapore. ScreenSingapore concluded with the Asia premiere of Larry Crowne, a film that Hanks has directed, co-produced and co-written.

Hanks was quite amiable, engaging and enthusiastic. There was no trace of jet-lag or fatigue as he interacted with journalists on Larry Crowne, which marks his return to direction after 15 years.

It also features him in the lead role of Larry, an ordinary man who reinvents himself when faced with some extra-ordinary circumstances. He signed autographs, posed for photographs and enthusiastically inquired: What should I do in Singapore?

Is this your first time in Singapore?
Yes, I have never been to Singapore. What does one do here? I hear the Night Safari is great. Should I trade in stocks? Play golf? I don't know what I'm supposed to do while I’m here.

How important is the Asian market for your films?
It’s as important as South America, Africa or Europe. The question, of course, is do the movies relate to the society? Now, we idiots from Hollywood aren't going to be able to decide that. The audiences themselves are going to decide it.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there are all sorts of American films that play horribly at home and fabulously over here and likewise play fabulously at home and horribly over here. You have got everything from the Pirates of the Caribbean type movies that are almost like versions of McDonalds. Everybody likes McDonalds and we are not going to slag on that.

But they are huge pieces of blockbuster commerce. Everything else is whether or not the art is going to translate. So, I don’t know if a movie like Larry Crowne is going to be an exotic hit in this part of Asia.

When you were asked what the reason for your success was, you said, I have managed to say no to the wrong things. What did you mean?
They will pay you a lot of money when you reach a certain point where they actually believe that you alone can sell tickets. The opportunities come in to make big movies. Movies that if you don’t do, somebody else will. Or movies that have directors that you wanted to work with or you get to play an archetype that you have always wanted to play. 

All those things are attractive but they don’t actually add up to a theme worthy of having a movie made about it. But I have been lucky in that I have been able to pay my rent, I have had enough financial security provided to me, so I don’t have to take the movie in order to support myself or anybody else. So I have been able to say, ‘I don’t get it’, and if you don’t get it, how can you go off and take on the burden of working all those months and years and then coming off and then embracing it and talking about it.

So I think that I have been able to avoid repeating myself. But I got up to a point, it was about 19 years ago, where I just looked at all these movies that were going to be made with or without me, and they were all the same movie, over and over again, and they were parts that I had already played. And I just had to say — I am sorry, take this whole stack of movies and get rid of it. That’s just in order to stay sane as a creative entity.

In Larry Crowne, your character takes a college class that changes his life. Have you ever had that happen to you?
Yes, I took one Shakespeare class that completely changed my life, in which we studied, The Tempest, Othello and Richard III, and I still know those plays better than any others because the teacher was just so vibrant and fascinating and made it come to life. I also took an astronomy class that was just magical because we spent a lot of time in the planetarium. 

What would happen if one day, like Larry Crowne, you lost your job and your house? 
I would have one huge advantage over Larry, I’d have my brat kids to take care of me. If I were to lose my job, my kids would have to take care of me, or at least feed me. I’ve got four kids, so I’d get four meals a week. 

By Anupama Chopra

Source : PuneMirror