A deep dive into Tom Hanks’ ship versus U-boat drama ON: APPLE TV+
1 COMMANDER KRAUSE
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.
2 THE FIRST SKIRMISH
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.
3 NAVAL GAZING
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!
4 92 MINUTES
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.
5 GREY WOLF
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.
7 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?
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.