Tom Hanks may be a beloved screen icon, but that doesn’t mean he’s alone in blockbusters.
The Oscar winner revealed during a panel discussion at The New Yorker live with editor-in-chief David Remnick also “hating” some of his films.
“OK, let’s face it: we’ve all seen movies we hate. I’ve been in some movies that I hate,” Hanks said. “You’ve seen some of my movies and you hate them.”
The “Sleepless in Seattle” star explained: “Here are the five points of the Rubicon that everyone who makes movies crosses: The first Rubicon you cross is saying yes to the movie. Your fate is sealed. You will be in that movie. The second Rubicon is when you actually see the movie you’ve made. Either 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.”
He continued: “This has nothing to do with Rubicon No. 3, the critical reaction to it – which is a version of the vox populi. Someone will say, “I hated it.” Other people may say, “I think that’s brilliant.” Somewhere between the two is what the film is actually about. The Fourth Rubicon is the film’s commercial performance. Because, if he doesn’t make any money, your career will be toast sooner than you’d like. That’s just the fact. This is the job. The fifth Rubicon is time.
Hanks reflected on his directorial debut “That Thing You Do!”, which he also wrote and starred in. Though the film underperformed at the box office, it later became a cult classic.
“Where that movie comes twenty years after the fact. What happens when people look at it, maybe by accident. And a great example of that is “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which was made (in 1946) and disappeared for most of, I’m about to say, twenty years, locked up in a rights issue. It wasn’t even seen as a commercial success at the time. Enough people liked it, so it was nominated for Best Picture,” Hanks said. “For me, it happened in a movie I wrote and directed called ‘That Thing You Do!’ I loved making that movie. I loved writing it, I loved being with it. I love all the people in it. When it came out, it was completely dismissed by the first wave of vox populi. It didn’t do big business.
The “Asteroid City” actor added, “It’s been around for a while, it’s been seen as kind of weird, sort of like a rip-off from nine other different movies and quite a walk down memory lane. Now the exact same publications that dismissed it in their initial review called it ‘Tom Hanks’ cult classic, “That Thing You Do!”’ So now it’s a cult classic. What was the difference between these two things? The answer is time.”
However, Hanks admitted that “there’s no telling” whether or not a film will do well in the production process since cinema is “so slow and so specific.”
“You have to hand the whole process over to collaborators who you hope are working at the top of their game further down the line,” Hanks summed up. “You can only have faith and hope – and what is greater than faith and hope?”