Tom Hanks released his debut novel this week — “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece.” Hanks earned his A-list status starring in over 100 movies, receiving several acclaimed awards (including two Academy Awards) and charming the world with his humor and sincerity. Through inspiration from his own career, Hanks’ debut novel shares a glimpse into the unseen world of Hollywood.
Hanks’ novel has been received with mixed reviews, several of which criticized the actor’s writing and storytelling abilities.
But the “Forrest Gump” star is used to criticism, he claimed. And the process of crafting his novel gave Hanks a “release from the never-ending pressure” of making movies, reports the BBC.
Grinding out a film can be exhausting and there are times you “just run out of curiosity for the job,” Hanks explained to the BBC. “Sometimes you just have to have some other reason to spark your imagination.” For Hanks, writing a novel was just what he needed.
“I wrote in between films, I wrote wherever I was, I wrote on planes, I wrote at home, I wrote on vacation, I wrote in hotel rooms, I wrote on long weekends when I wasn’t working,” Hanks said of his novel, which he began writing in 2018, per the BBC.
What is Tom Hanks’ new novel about?
Hanks drew upon his own plethora of experiences in show business to paint a picture of what making a major movie looks life from behind the scenes.
According to the official synopsis, the novel is “a wildly ambitious story of the making of a colossal, star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film, and the humble comic book that inspired it all,” per CBS News.
The novel features all the hallmarks of the filmmaking business: an eccentric director, a challenging leading actor and behind-the-scenes workers, per NPR. All the characters and scenes in the novel are based on Hanks’ own experiences.
Hanks revealed how he relates to the novel.
“I have pulled every single one of those moments of behavior myself on a set. Not everybody is at their best every single day on a motion picture set,” Hanks told the BBC. “I’ve had tough days trying to be a professional when my life has been falling apart in more ways than one and the requirement for me that day is to be funny, charming and loving — and it’s the last way I feel.”
Criticisms of Hanks’ novel — and how he responded
Critics’ judgment of “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture” has been mixed.
The Sunday Times described the content in the novel as “Hanks mansplains movie-making,” and said the “writing is clunky throughout.”
The New York Times claimed the book “sags under a deluge of detail” while The Guardian said it “captures the humdrum of Hollywood but lacks his on-screen ability to breathe life into characters.”
But Hanks said he does not mind the criticism — he is used to it. He told the BBC that his “day job as a movie star” has given him the ability to “handle” any criticism.
He went on to express his distaste for cancel culture.
“I’m of the opinion that we’re all grown-ups here. Let’s have faith in our own sensibilities as opposed to having somebody decide what we may or may not be offended by,” said Hanks, per the BBC.
“Let me decide what I am offended by and what I’m not offended by. I would be against reading any book from any era that says ‘abridged due to modern sensitivities.’”
Hasn’t Tom Hanks already written a book?
Yes. Sort of.
Hanks tried his hand at writing with a short story collection in 2017 — “Uncommon Type.” All 17 of the stories within the book are loosely connected.
“Uncommon Type” received lukewarm reviews. The Independent compared reading the collections of short stories to “pulling teeth” and suggested Hanks “stick to his day job.”
When does Tom Hanks’ new novel come out?
“The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece” by Tom Hanks is currently available.