Half-watching Friday Night with Jonathan Ross earlier while trying to get on with something else, I sat up and paid attention after Tom Hanks had been on for about a minute. Film-wise, I can take or leave pretty much everything he’s done since Dragnet, but, holy cow, he’s a great chat show guest. A proper, bona fide Hollywood star, but with a quick wit and a willingness to talk about something other than the product, just like Jimmy Stewart and all the greats who twinkled so merrily on Parkinson back in the 1970s. The bit about supporting Aston Villa was a particular delight, with Hanks explaining that he was stuck in a hotel room with the scores coming up one day and just decided that he liked the name, then going on to make up a splendidly-daft fake opponent for the Villa, the name of which escapes me. Get thee to iPlayer or catch the repeat tomorrow and see for yourself. He’s great.

7 thoughts on “

  1. Just watching this now. More grown-ups on telly, please. Having said that, though, I thought Colin Farrell was very good on Ross last year; open, funny and charming. It’s all about the attitude, really. And actually not being a dull but photogenic git or gitess.

  2. Despite being deeply unenthralled by films, I’ve always liked Tom Hanks. He has always seemed to understand the concept that givers in the industry can receive so much more back, unlike a lot of the plastic, sullen celebs that gatecrash the A-list.

    Apart from The Damned United, the only film I’ve seen advertised on tv that has made me tempted to break my 13-year cinema boycott was that Hanks one where he played an immigrant trapped by law in an airport arrivals lounge. Didn’t go see it, and can’t remember the name of it. But I did like Big and Sleepless In Seattle.

  3. We were saying exactly the same thing Louis, proper Hollywood A list in the best sense of the world. It clearly shows that Hanks is very bright, takes an interest in the world around him and obviously works hard for his continued success. I like him and his films, they appeal in a predictable, reliable kind of way. But there’s nothing wrong with that! Reliable, high quality entertainment has always been the bedrock of the industry.
    And you can’t go wrong with a man who collects typewriters.

    Mentioning James Stewart, do you recall Kevin Spacey’s (another great guest) impression of him? Very funny.

    I lament the disappearance of the longer chat show, because guests like these have more to give than a 15 minute slot allows.

  4. >that Hanks one where he played an immigrant trapped by law in an airport arrivals lounge.<

    Which KLM thought was a good in-flight movie last time I flew to the US.

  5. Yes, his intelligence shone through. I think everyone has at least one friend with a droll, surreal dad – someone who just comes out with gems while mending the lawnmower – and that’s the vibe I got from Hanks on this show.

    Apart from his brightness, I think the key is that he’s just about the richest man in Hollywood, having always taken a risk on a greater percentage rather than an upfront fee. As he tends to accept only roles in things that fly, he’s bunced up beyond belief, and so has the Perrinesque freedom to say what the hell he likes. You can see the rabbit-in-headlights stare on a lot of them: “Did I mention the film enough? Can I mention it again?”. Hanks says “Yeah, that’s the film. Let’s talk about something else”. The only way he could top it is by bringing out his banjo, a la George Segal, or an accordion, just like Jimmy Stewart.

    No, OP, I’ve not seen Kevin Spacey’s impersonation of Stewart, but I remember seeing him as a guest on something and being pleasantly surprised by his lightness of manner and obvious intelligence. Has anyone in Hollywood got more integrity than Kevin Spacey?

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