It’s easy to feel like you know Tom Hanks. That’s how it is when you grow up watching someone on screen. Thanks to Tom (yes, we’re on a first name basis) we’ve all shouted “Run, Forrest, Run!” to a friend during PE class, learned how to play ‘Chopsticks’ ’cos of Big, and talked to a volleyball like he did in Castaway ’cos we were bored (okay, maybe the last one’s just us.) So when he burst into a conference room in Marina Bay Sands in June, smiling like he had just saved Private Ryan, it felt, for us at least, that an old friend was in town. And while the movie he’s here to promote is dead serious — Inferno, whose thematic backdrop is Dante’s epic poem Divine Comedy, is the third in a series of films based on Dan Brown’s novels about the always-in-danger puzzle-solver Professor Robert Langdon — the star, together with the movie’s director, Ron Howard, was breezy and charming, hanging with us like we were at a Sunday brunch.
I mean we even had a conversation.
Me: “If Inferno is Dante’s version of hell, what is hell to you?”
Tom: “You mean, outside of a press junket?” (Everyone laughs)
Me: “Yeah, or something like if you’re stuck on a plane with a crying baby…”
Tom: “That could be hellish. No, I think there’s hell on earth. Isolation, some brand of lack of freedom. Living under some kind of tyrant.”
And then, he was whisked away by his minder. But hey, we had a connection right? Which was why, we felt it was okay to ask him for a photo when we bumped into him and Ron Howard coming out of the loo. (In fact, Ron, an Oscar-winning director, offered to take the pic but we declined, but that’s a different story). And he obliged, you know, like what a friend would do.
OH TOM, YOU SO FUNNY!
Choice quotes from our round-table interview with Tom.
“This is nothing. I get in a car. Sit around and talk about movies all day long… Have free breakfast, you know. Someone will bring you a cup of tea anytime you ask for it… like right now. (His minder replies, “A cup of tea?! Coming right up!”) Great! See!”
- When asked about the hectic schedule of promoting Inferno.
“Well, Ron’s lost his hair…”
- On the evolution of his friendship with Ron, who he first worked with on Splash in 1984.
“Who’s going to do it? Can I say, ‘Why?!’ I’ve seen that movie. Let me guess what’s going to happen. A guy’s going to fall in love. They got six days. She has legs and then they turn back into a tail… How dare they tamper with a classic?”
- When told that there’s going to be a remake of Splash.