Among an actor’s many responsibilities when a new film is revealed are press junkets. Promotions from the A-listers is always opportunistic for free publicity (also known as ‘PR’).
The newest addition to the Oscar-favorite fray is the Mister Rogers biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The man behind this marvelous-looking film is the great Tom Hanks. He sat down with The New York Times and revealed something that has always been a question to fans.
Aren’t you always a hero on the set?
Think about it: Woody in Toy Story to Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code. From Captain Miller (Saving Private Ryan) to Jim Lovell (Apollo 13), the hero in Forrest Gump and the beloved Jimmy Dugan (A League of Their Own).
It doesn’t matter. Beginning with the lovely sitcom Bosom Buddies, Tom Hanks has always been the popular protagonist…and we love him for it.
Hanks, 63, has a rep to protect. He purposely has very little “villain” accolades to his portfolio. There’s a reason for that, as he tells The New York Times.
“I recognized in myself a long time ago that I don’t instill fear in anybody,” Hanks, who stars as Mister Rogers in the new movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” said Hanks. “Now, that’s different than being nice, you know? I think I have a cache of mystery. But it’s not one of malevolence.”
Sure, people may want him to play a baddie but the Hollywood elite know those offers would come back null and void.
“It’s because I never get them, because bad guys, by and large, require some degree of malevolence that I don’t think I can fake.”
And who says “Nice guys finish last”? Tom Hanks is always a good guy in movies because he just is a nice guy. He can’t fake it. He probably could act like it, but we would all see through that visage.
Most recently, he tried. In 2002, Hanks starred as Michael Sullivan in Road to Perdition. Even as an assassin, there was a complete glimpse at a family man as he tries to protect his son from the life he lives.
Instead of being the evil ne’er-do-well in his films, Hanks is always positioned as the good guy because he just is…
“Let’s not call this a dark side, but: I realize, and I used over and over again, the ability to seduce a room, seduce a group of people, and that it started off when I was very young as a self-defense mechanism but then turned into a manipulative kind of thing, because I didn’t realize that I was as good at it as I was.
And part of that is I am not malevolent. I’m not mysterious. You’re not going to get a huge amount of anger out of me or anything like that. I’m not coming in to dominate a room, but I am coming in to seduce it somehow,” he said.
So, the next time someone offers up that aphorism about nice guys, just think about Tom Hanks. Sometimes–not always–nice guys go for the Gold and win (like Hanks may do during the Oscars next year for playing the perennial nice guy, Fred Rogers).