Tom Hanks

'Cast Away'

In the past, he’s fought wars (“Saving Private Ryan”), battled AIDS (“Philadelphia”) and gone to the moon (“Apollo 13”), but Tom Hanks’ greatest accomplishment may be carrying “Cast Away” to box office glory with only a ratty vollyball supporting him.

“The thought process was simple,” says Steve Starkey, one of the film’s producers about the film’s central drama. “Do you want to see to see this guy survive?”

Obviously audiences did, having shelled out nearly $120 million by early January.

But Starkey, who also produced “Forrest Gump,” says Hanks brought an additional dimension to what was a very physical role. He says audiences are interested in seeing whether Hanks’ character can “survive emotionally, (including) what happens when he comes home. It isn’t just about physical survival.”

But the physical demands for this role were grueling. After porking up, Hanks dropped approximately 55 pounds, which he accomplished by working out six days a week, burning up to 1,400 calories at a time.

Shooting for the film began in January 1999 in the Fiji islands and continued until April. Production shut down, at which time director Robert Zemeckis concentrated on “What Lies Beneath,” and then Hanks, Zemeckis, Wilson the volleyball and crew returned to Fiji in March 2000.

Such a hiatus might have strained cast and crew, but Starkey notes Hanks’ close working relationship with “Gump” collaborator Zemeckis kept things running smoothly.

“They (Zemeckis and Hanks) would have brief discussions on particular scenes. One would say, ‘We should do it like this,’ and the other would say, ‘Let’s do it like that.’ They have a shorthand based on their experience together.”

So nearly a year later, Hanks was forced back into survivor mode, much lighter on his feet.

“I can’t imagine anyone else in this role,” Starkey says. “I can’t think of another actor today who is as compelling as Tom. He brings a truthfulness to everything he does. You believe him in the roles that he chooses to do.”

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading