Tom Hanks chats about movie missteps, directing and more

June 22, 2011

On an ill-advised adaptation
"I made one of the worst movies of all time, The Bonfire of the Vanities. And the only reason I can say I know what went wrong is because we went away from the book [by Tom Wolfe], we went away from what the story was. And as soon as you do that, you're no longer examining the theme that the story actually examines. And yet, if you go to parts of Europe, like in Germany, where the book didn't mean anything, and they just saw the movie ... they talk about it like it was ripped out of the headlines. They say to me, 'You made this powerful movie.'"

On a frustrating marketing campaign
"Charlie Wilson's War had no real presence when it opened up, because it was this odd movie. But as it played for three weeks, it started going into this interest phase. But because of the marketing calendar, budget-wise, at the studio [there was no more money to promote it]. It ran its three-week course of advertising. Did we leave millions of dollars on the table? The fact is that the movie is going to exist forever on DVD and cable."

On the hidden challenges of directing
"Tina Fey mentions this in her book Bossypants. You can have it say [in the script], 'And breakfast is served,' and then the characters are talking over breakfast. In your head, breakfast is an English muffin and a glass of juice. But the art director and prop people can turn that breakfast into flowers, with champagne in a bucket and Belgian waffles with powdered sugar. And it's like 'Guys, guys, that's too much.' And they're like, 'Doesn't it look pretty?' That's the kind of thing that you constantly have to be riding herd over."

On his first time at the Oscars
"The first time I was at the Academy Awards was '85 or '86. I thought my head was going to explode. It was like the first time I was at Disneyland. You can't believe it's there. But then the familiarity comes along, and that makes it a little less intimidating. But I'm an idiot. I always think, 'Can you believe this is happening? I can't believe I got a backstage pass to this thing. How did this come to pass?'"

Source : Star-Telegram