Tom Hanks’ tale of two cap­tains...........................

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS -

TOM Hanks has built a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the hard­est-work­ing ac­tors in Hol­ly­wood. Dressed en­tirely in black, his hair is cut short, with only a few strands of grey along his neck giv­ing away his age – he’s 57 years old.

Hanks looks at many fac­tors – the writ­ing, in­ter­est by the stu­dio, what di­rec­tor or other ac­tors are in­volved – when de­cid­ing what film to do next. He’s not picky, but Hanks doesn’t want to put his time and en­ergy into a project that may never get made.

‘‘You don’t go to the har­bour and get on a boat that’s not go­ing out to sea,’’ Hanks says.

That anal­ogy might have been spawned by all of the wa­ter work he did while film­ing Cap­tain Phillips. The film is based on the true story of the at­tack in 2009 on a cargo ship by a group of So­mali pi­rates, the first such as­sault on an Amer­i­can ship in two cen­turies.

As Hanks has done in so many films – from Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan toCast Away – he takes on the role of a man who seems to be liv­ing an or­di­nary life but is pushed to do amaz­ing things be­cause of out­side cir­cum­stances.

Di­rec­tor Paul Green­grass says no one is bet­ter at play­ing ‘‘the or­di­nary man’’ than Hanks.

‘‘He’s not play­ing some su­per­hero. He’s not play­ing some guy with spe­cial pow­ers. He’s just a reg­u­lar guy. Tom Hanks is the great­est ac­tor for play­ing the ev­ery­man,’’ Green­grass says.

‘‘Tom proves yet again – al­though it re­ally didn’t need prov­ing again – that he’s one of the great, great Amer­i­can ac­tors of all time be­cause he em­bod­ies the best of us.’’

Cap­tain Phillips is Hanks’ lat­est role based on a real char­ac­ter af­ter Apollo 13 and Char­lie Wil­son’s War. In the com­ing Sav­ing Mr Banks he plays Walt Dis­ney.

Al­though both of his up­com­ing roles are re­al­ity based, Hanks’ ap­proach to each was dif­fer­ent.

‘‘Phillips is alive and Walt Dis­ney is dead,’’ Hanks says.

‘‘Phillips is a con­crete source of ev­ery­thing: what he thought, what he did, what he’s like, what the job is like.

‘‘With Walt Dis­ney, we are deal­ing with some de­gree of iconog­ra­phy.

‘‘In one, I’m play­ing a his­toric fig­ure in a very spe­cific set­ting in which the scenes are specif­i­cally con­structed. With Richard Phillips, we are try­ing to cap­ture the essence of what was go­ing on in his head.’’

He calls his por­trayal of Dis­ney ‘‘a clas­si­cal ren­der­ing’’ com­pared to his ‘‘emo­tional ren­der­ing’’ of Phillips.

Hanks sat down with Phillips twice – along with read­ing his book – to size up the man.

What struck him the most was the sense of hu­mour Phillips has. Hanks is con­vinced that it was the one fac­tor that helped Phillips sur­vive the or­deal.

‘‘He’s a very happy-go-lucky guy. I would de­scribe him as al­most jolly.

‘‘He’s funny, be­mused by ev­ery­thing,’’ Hanks says.

‘‘But when he’s on the ship it’s all deadly se­ri­ous.

‘‘His wife even told me that she doesn’t visit him any­more when he’s on ship be­cause he’s all busi­ness.

‘‘We tend to think mer­chant mariners are go­ing to be cigar-chomp­ing guys, but Rich is an ac­com­plished pro­fes­sional.

‘‘He earned this job, which is a bitch of a job.’’

Cap­tain Phillips opens to­day.

Cap­tain Phillips star Tom Hanks

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