Tom Hanks reveals shock at being invited to dinner with the Queen

June 27, 2011

Tom Hanks is related to one of America's most famous Presidents but the double Oscar-winning star was still wowed by the Queen.

The actor, who can trace his roots on his mother's side back to Abraham Lincoln, was one of the privileged guests at the dinner thrown by the Queen to celebrate President Barack Obama's recent visit to Britain.

But the 54-year-old insists he was baffled by being invited to Buckingham Palace.

Hanks said: "I couldn't figure out what I was doing there."It was magnificent, an honour in every way, shape and form to be there for the President's dinner.

"We had a few moments with the Queen and that's something we'll remember for the rest of our life."

It sounds as though Hanks has become a real royal fan because he is also looking forward to the visit to the US of newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton.

And the star of big-screen successes such as Cast Away, Saving Private Ryan and Toy Story reckons the States will be hit by Wills and Kate mania.

He said: "Like seven million other people in Los Angeles, we will try to meet them.

"I have a feeling they'll have to have whatever their affair is in the Los Angeles Coliseum because everyone on planet Earth will want to get invited to whatever it is they will be attending."

Hanks talked to the Sunday Mail when he was in London for the launch of his latest movie, Larry Crowne.

This romantic comedy has been a big obsession for Hanks. He produced, directed and co-wrote the film apart from starring in the title role as a good guy who loses his job.

It is the final straw for Larry because he is divorced and has a mortgage that he can no longer afford.

So he goes to college to get qualifications that might result in a decent job.

But as the mature student attends classes, he develops an unexpected new life, gets a bunch of new friends and falls for his teacher, played by Julia Roberts.

Although Hanks has never been floored by the indignity of being sacked like Larry, the star reveals he has suffered the shock of having a film pulled.

He said: "I thought I was doing the movie because the producers told me I was doing it, the director said I was doing it and the studio told me I was doing it.

"So I went off and had a meeting on the movie. The next day my agent calls me up and says, 'What happened? Because you're not doing the movie any more'.

"I don't know what went wrong. Was I too tall? Did I offend somebody? No one ever says anything  they don't explain."So that has happened to me but I've never had the rug pulled from under me like Larry."

Teasingly, Hanks refuses to reveal precisely which film he is talking about or even at which stage in his career this rejection happened.

But he said: "It was not as early as you'd think. And you'll never know what movie it was  but it didn't do that well."

Just like Larry, the younger Hanks came across teachers who were inspirational and one or two for whom he had a teenage infatuation.

He said: "I had a great American History teacher who was just so clear in the way he taught. I was lucky enough to have a couple of those teachers where the class was like a conversation.

"But I never had a Julia Roberts - let's make that clear."I had some cuties who I had crushes on, without a doubt. But it would be embarrassing to say who I had a crush on.

"All I will tell you is that it was at junior college, she was married, she had a new baby and she was one of the cutest, most adorable women I've ever seen - and everybody in the class was in love with her."

Despite all his success - Hanks won Academy Awards in consecutive years for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump and is the world's top-grossing movie star - he still gets a touch of nerves when he starts work on a film.

He said: "I toss and turn and then get up early on the first day of a movie.

"Sometimes I'm standing outside the house waiting for the car to come and pick me up and then I hop in and I'm gab, gab, gab all the way.

"The first day of a movie is almost a waste because everybody is trying to find out where everything is.

"You always have a very easy scene to shoot so everybody can get the bugs out because the self-consciousness is huge."It's not really until the third day of making a movie that everybody settles down and relaxes into their roles and jobs."

One of Hanks' jobs on the film was directing his wife, actress Rita Wilson, who plays a bank employee who refuses to give Larry the loan he needs.

When Rita was considering what kind of look her character should have, Hanks suggested that she should go for "something wild".

He said: "I kept getting these text photos from her as she was trying on different wigs. I saw a red one and a black one but when she put on the blonde one she looked exactly like her niece. So I said, 'That's it - find yourself a real tight power suit to wear, with the high heels that go clack, clack, clack on the floor'."

Apart from sharing the screen, Hanks and his wife are also sharing the role of grandparents. His son Colin and his wife Samantha Bryant had a daughter, Olivia Jane, in February.

And Hanks admits he loves being a grandad. He said: "It's marvellous, better than TV. We don't even need the thing on when we are over there or she is coming to see us.

"My wife was home looking after her by herself yesterday and I am insanely jealous because I didn't get time alone with her."

Although he had so many different roles to fulfil on Larry Crowne, one of the trickiest things Hanks had to do was master riding a scooter. Lack of cash means his character has to get rid of his car and buy a cheap moped.

But before his scooter scenes could be shot for the film, the star had to get a licence.

Hanks said: "It's one thing to pass a written test - which is diabolical - but then you have to run the course, go around in a circle and go through the cones."

When it came to doing the practical part of his test, Hanks discovered that stardom has its plus points.

He said: "This guy was just so overjoyed to have me as his test pupil that he didn't pay any attention to how bad I did."

But now the star has become a big scooter fan.

He said: "I still have my scooter and it's a great way to get around.

"A terrible thing to compare it to is riding a jet ski. On a jet ski, if you fall off, you hit water - it's not so bad.

"Do not let that happen on a scooter - you will not hit water."

By John Millar

Source : Sunday Mail