A deep dive into Tom Hanks’ ship versus U-boat drama ON: AP­PLE TV+

Empire (Australasia) - - SPOILER SPECIAL -


Chris Hewitt: It wouldn’t be a sur­prise if Tom Hanks, Grey­hound’s screen­writer, had sim­ply called him Com­man­der Hanks as a place­holder, and then for­got­ten to change it. In a film that de­ter­minedly doesn’t let us glimpse into char­ac­ters’ in­ner lives, Com­man­der Krause re­mains a fa­mil­iar fig­ure to the au­di­ence, pre­cisely be­cause of our knowl­edge of the types of char­ac­ters Hanks plays. He is, in many ways, a fu­sion of Hanks he­roes past — all that’s miss­ing is a comedic melt­down and a boo­gie-woo­gie ses­sion on a gi­ant key­board.

Aaron Schneider: Krause is a first-time com­man­der. We feel like we might know a lit­tle bit about him, be­cause he is played by Tom Hanks, who is Amer­ica’s Cap­tain him­self.

Stephen Gra­ham: The crew are a bit dis­il­lu­sioned by Krause and think he’s not mak­ing the right de­ci­sions. He has a lot of knowl­edge, but he has no ex­pe­ri­ence. He’s never done it be­fore. He has to keep this fa­cade and this bravado to try and, to use a foot­ball anal­ogy, not lose the dress­ing room.


Ian Freer: Grey­hound starts with a 20-minute en­gage­ment be­tween Krause’s ship and a Ger­man U-boat as the com­man­der seeks to pro­tect his con­voy. You are thrown into the heat of the ac­tion right next to Krause on the bridge, with lit­tle warn­ing or con­text.

Aaron Schneider: The whole first act of the film is pretty much made up of one de­tailed ex­plo­ration of one tac­ti­cal dilemma and pur­suit. There’s a lot of ed­u­ca­tion for the au­di­ence go­ing on in that scene. It was very chal­leng­ing. Whereas other movies are turn­ing on clas­si­cal forms of drama — be­trayal, love, hate, pride — this movie is tak­ing a very hy­per-spe­cific en­vi­ron­ment and try­ing to mine it for thrilling drama. It’s like death by a thou­sand cuts. You’ve got to make the la­bo­ri­ous de­tails of a dif­fi­cult job dra­matic and then make them weigh on one char­ac­ter.


Aaron Schneider: The di­a­logue is al­most com­pletely made up of naval jar­gon. It started in the screen­play. It was re­ally ballsy of Tom. When I read it I was think­ing about that scene in Close En­coun­ters Of The Third

Kind in the flight con­trol room, where ev­ery­one’s gath­ered around a radar screen. Most of that di­a­logue is pe­riph­eral. It’s there to set the mood and the feel of the en­vi­ron­ment, but the drama is play­ing out underneath all that. Grey­hound is like that: the di­a­logue is the set­ting, not the story.

Stephen Gra­ham: We had some mil­i­tary ad­vi­sors on board and Tom is a walk­ing en­cy­clopae­dia. I im­mersed my­self in it, but right now I couldn’t tell you any of it. But while I’m there, I’m into it!


There is not a deleted scene in the Aaron Schneider: movie. From the very be­gin­ning Tom called this the per­fect 90-minute movie and we shot a 90-page script. It leaves peo­ple to wonder where the rest of the movie is.

I’ve got news for ev­ery­body: this is it.


Chris Hewitt: One of the more suc­cess­ful el­e­ments of Grey­hound comes in the way Com­man­der Krause and his con­voy are taunted through­out the film by a dis­em­bod­ied voice from a Ger­man U-boat com­man­der known as Grey Wolf. Voiced by Thomas Kretschman­n, Grey Wolf’s teases and taunts are cru­cial in un­der­min­ing the con­fi­dence of Krause and his men, and in giv­ing the un­seen Ger­man forces, which poke and prod at the de­fences of the con­voy, a true sense of men­ace.

Aaron Schneider: This came from the book [C.S. Forester’s The Good Shep­herd]. Ships had a ra­dio fre­quency known as TBS — “talk be­tween ships” — and this was some­thing the Ger­mans could find like a po­lice scan­ner to lis­ten in on [the en­emy’s] strat­egy. And once you found it, you could use it to glean their tac­ti­cal ma­noeu­vres and take ad­van­tage of it or, in this case, use it for psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare.


Ian Freer: The re­la­tion­ship with his stew­ard Cleve­land (Rob Morgan) is per­haps the most mean­ing­ful in Krause’s on-board ex­is­tence. When Cleve­land is killed in ac­tion, it leaves Krause dis­ori­en­tated. Later, he mis­tak­enly calls Pitts (Craig Tate), an­other Black stew­ard, Cleve­land, in­stantly real­is­ing his mis­take.

Aaron Schneider: Hope­fully, that’s not mis­in­ter­preted.

I un­der­stand why it might turn a few heads in today’s world. The beat is de­signed to be an ex­pres­sion of his ex­haus­tion. He ob­vi­ously had a very unique and mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ship with this man charged with look­ing af­ter his well-be­ing.

The scene has ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with any­thing other than the fact that Krause was count­ing on Cleve­land to be there, he sud­denly looked up and re­mem­bered he wasn’t.


Ian Freer: As Grey­hound nears its des­ti­na­tion, the Bri­tish ad­mi­ralty call Krause in­form­ing him they are tak­ing over the con­voy, or­der­ing him to re­port to Lon­don­derry. Af­ter all he has been through, Krause’s dis­ap­point­ment to not fin­ish his mis­sion is pal­pa­ble but his frus­tra­tion is as­suaged when he is greeted by the cheer­ing men of a pass­ing ship.

Aaron Schneider: We are deal­ing with re­ally sub­tle move­ments in tone and drama and the char­ac­ter’s state of mind. You get the feel­ing that there’s a sense of loss that he did not get over the fin­ish line. When he comes out of the pi­lot­house, Tom and I talked about play­ing that beat as, “Was it enough?” Then you hear the cheer­ing off-screen. Krause walks to the rail­ing and re­alises that for these men on their way over to fight to rid the world of evil, it was enough. And that’s Krause’s re­ward: the peo­ple he pro­tected.

Here: Com­man­der Krause (Tom Hanks) leads his con­voy through U-boat­pa­trolled wa­ters.

Ac­tion sta­tions! The Grey­hound pre­pares to en­gage with the en­emy.

Above left: A Ger­man U-boat emerges. Be­low left: Cleve­land (Rob Morgan), Krause’s stew­ard, early in the film. Right: Krause nears the end of his jour­ney.

Left to right: Stephen Gra­ham’s Char­lie Cole; Hanks with Aaron Schneider on set.

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