Tom Hanks wasn’t afraid to share how some of his least popular movies were made during a recent chat with The New Yorkers.
The 66-year-old acting icon — who will soon be seen in Wes Anderson’s critically acclaimed comedy Asteroid City — shared some of the secrets of contemporary filmmaking during a chat with the publication’s editor, David Remnick, at Manhattan’s Symphony Space.
While Hanks has two Academy Awards to his credit and has starred in numerous critical and audience favorites, he’s also had several flops that scored devastating reviews among his prolific output.
During the chat, he chose not to single out one of his most hated movies, though he spoke before The blast in 2021 on one of the worst, 1990’s Brian DePalma failed The Bonfire Of The Vanities, which also starred Bruce Willis and Melanie Griffith.
After comparing that film to Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece Saving Private Ryan, Remnick asked Hanks if he had any idea which of his films would be great, or at least succeed at the box office, and which would be commercial or artistic failures.
Worst of the worst: Tom Hanks, 66, spoke about making some of his worst movies during a recent chat with The New Yorker’s David Remnick, though he didn’t bother to name specific movies; seen in January in NYC
Stinker: Hanks, however, had previously singled out Brian DePalma’s 1990 flop The Bonfire Of The Vanities as one of his worst efforts; seen in the movie starring Melanie Griffith
‘No. There’s no way to tell because the process is so slow. And so specific,” Hanks explained. “You can only have faith and hope – and what is greater than faith and hope? You have to entrust the entire process to employees who you hope will work at the absolute top further down the line.’
But Remnick also pointed out that in Hank’s new novel The Making Of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, he satirized the idea of someone “hating” a movie.
The actor explained that he had done a lot of bad movies, but it was hard to know if that would be terrible before they were completed.
“OK, let’s admit this: we’ve all seen movies we hate,” he replied. “I’ve been in movies that I hate. You’ve seen some of my movies and you hate them.’
He diplomatically left out all possible entries, although The Bonfire Of The Vanities is a popular choice.
He’s also made poorly received films over the past decade, including 2017’s The Circle, based on Dave Eggers’ novel of the same name, which received a mix of scathing and disinterested reviews.
Hanks thrillers starring Ron Howard from Dan Brown’s novels – The Da Vinci Code (2006), Angels & Demons (2009) and Inferno (2016) – were all poorly reviewed, and Hanks’ hapless haircut was even widely criticized.
In fact, Hanks showed he’s not infallible behind the camera, as 2011’s Larry Crowne, which he directed and starred with Julia Roberts, only got a poor 29 percent rating from top critics polled by Rotten tomatoes.
In the air: ‘That’s impossible to say [what will fail]because the process is so slow. And so specific,” Hanks explained. “You can only have faith and hope.” His 2017 film The Circle is considered one of his worst recent films; seen with Patton Oswalt in the movie
No turning back: He described multiple steps to making a bad movie, the first of which is signing up. ‘Your fate is sealed. You’re going to star in that movie’; seen in The Da Vinci Code, one of his worst-rated pictures
Hanks went on to explain to Remnick that there are “five points of the Rubicon” that are crossed before a movie is made, and they make it difficult to know in advance if it will fail.
The first is simply agreeing to star in the movie.
‘Your fate is sealed. You’re going to be in that movie,’ he said.
“The second Rubicon is when you see the movie you made,” he continued. “It works and it’s the movie you wanted to make, or it doesn’t work and it’s not the movie you wanted to make.”
The third Rubicon is public and critical reception, which he says the actor had little influence on.
“Someone will say, ‘I hated it.’ Other people may say, “I think it’s brilliant.” Somewhere between the two is what the movie actually is,” he said.
The fourth Rubicon is how well the movie does at the box office.
“If it doesn’t make money, your career will be destroyed faster than you’d like,” Hanks warned. ‘That’s just a fact. That’s the business.’
And the fifth Rubicon is “time,” and how it can affect a movie’s reception over the years.
He noted that Frank Capra’s 1946 classic It’s A Wonderful Life – starring Jimmy Stewart, an actor to whom Hanks is often compared – initially received poor reviews and was largely forgotten after being put in the vault due to conflict of rights issues. became a classic and perennial Christmas favorite after it entered the public domain in 1974 and began airing regularly on network television.
Hanks said his directorial debut That Thing You Do (1996), which he also wrote and played a supporting role in, was one of those films that initially failed but was saved by time.
“I loved making that movie. I loved writing it, I loved being there. I love all the people in it,” he gushed.
But ‘when it came out, it was completely rejected by the first wave of vox populi. It didn’t do good business. It stuck around for a while, was seen as kind of a strange, sort of quasi rip-off of nine other different movies and a nice little walk down memory lane.”
However, time has been much kinder to that film than some of its other failures.
The Verdict: Another step is seeing the movie and learning whether or not you like your job; pictured with Julia Roberts and Rami Malek in his disappointing feature film Larry Crowne (2011)
Then the audience and critics decide if they like the movie. The fourth step is the box office, which can sink even a good movie; seen in February in LA
Give it some breathing room: after all, time is the last factor. Movies are forgotten or revived, such as It’s A Wonderful Life, which went largely unseen until the 1970s; pictured with Roberts in Larry Crowne
Now the exact same publications that rejected it in their first review called it “Tom Hanks’ cult classic, ‘That Thing You Do!'” So now it’s a cult classic. What was the difference between those two things? The answer is time,” he said.
Elsewhere in the chat, Hanks dug into the difference between being directed by Nora Ephron, who he said preferred extensive rehearsals and a “journalistic” way of writing dialogue, and his longtime collaborator Steven Spielberg, whose he said he never rehearses.
He gave a humorous antidote to filming the storming of the beaches in Normandy for the World War II movie, and joked about how in a scene where they had to jump off their boat to make their way through the water to shore, an employee trudge, revealed he couldn’t swim.
He joked that it was a good thing they weren’t rehearsing.