Tom Hanks has never played a “bad character.” He’s definitely not a villain. Instead, he’s Forrest Gump, Toy Story’s Woody, and most recently, Mister Fred Rogers. Everyone loves Tom Hanks. He recently revealed why he doesn’t play bad guys, and his reason might just make you love him even more.
A Look At His Career
Tom Hanks is one of the most prolific actors of the modern era. His movies from the 1990s defined the decade, and he hasn’t slowed down since. Now in his 60s, Hanks continues to be a favorite actor for many movie fans. He’s currently stealing hearts portraying Mister Fred Rogers in the biopic, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Hanks will most likely be nominated for the Academy Award, once again, for his impeccable performance.
Hanks isn’t a stranger to incredible acting credits. He grabbed viewers’ attention with the 1989 fantasy comedy, Big. Hanks’ clever, funny performance cemented his place in Hollywood. In 1992, he played a baseball manager in the iconic sports film, A League of Their Own.
In 1993, Hanks started melting hearts as a romantic lead in Sleepless in Seattle. Hanks was endearing and fans were delighted to see him star again with Meg Ryan in the 1998 romantic comedy, You’ve Got Mail. Women around the world wanted to find someone like Hanks, and we don’t blame them.
But the ‘90s and early 2000s brought some of Hanks’ best dramatic roles, including Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, and Cast Away. Meanwhile, he has made children smile as Woody in Toy Story. More recently, he impressed critics with his roles in Captain Phillips, Bridge of Spies, The Post, and now A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
There isn’t a role Hanks can’t play, but there are roles he won’t play. The family man actor refuses to play a villain, but why?
Always The Good Guy
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Hanks explained why he never plays bad guys. He said, “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.” Even though Hanks is an actor and it’s his job to “play pretend,” he can’t pretend to be evil. It’s not in his DNA.
He added, “I recognized in myself a long time ago that I don’t instill fear in anybody. Now, that’s different than being nice, you know? I think I have a cache of mystery. But it’s not one of malevolence.”
Hanks can’t play a character who wants to destroy someone’s life for no reason. He doesn’t understand the motivation behind those actions. Instead, he prefers nonfiction material about real people who had positive motivations. They might be complicated but in a more realistic way.
Hanks explained that he favors film roles that tell a character’s extraordinary act based on reality, like Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood or Chesley Sullenberger in Sully. He loves movies about optimism. Of course, there could be drama and heartache, but the stories still present a belief in humankind.
Charming An Audience
Even though he doesn’t play bad characters, Hanks learned early on in his career that he has the charm to captivate an audience. He commented, “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.”
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