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‘That Thing You Do!’ Twenty-One Years Later: The Gay Subplot That Never Made it Into Theaters

We've tried so hard to forget you, but it's just so hard to do.

tom hanks that thing you do lgbt


They just don’t make ’em like they used to. When “That Thing You Do!” waltzed into our hearts twenty-one years ago today, it heralded the arrival of Tom Hanks — screenwriter and director. A commercial and critical success, “That Thing You Do!” is the kind of low-budget runaway hit that major Hollywood studios just don’t make anymore. An addictively fun tale of one adorable boy band’s rise to fame, decorated with stylish 1960s period panache, the movie starred Hanks as the band’s kind-hearted manager, Mr. White. What many people don’t know, however, is that Mr. White originally had a hunky boyfriend (hilariously played by former NFL player Howie Long).

In a deleted scene included in the director’s cut, Mr. White finds drummer Guy (“La La Land” star Tom Everett Scott) stumbling drunkenly out of the convertible of an alluring waitress (played by Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson). As he delivers some good news, Mr. White waves to a man waiting in a tuxedo, who rolls his eyes. “Oh don’t look so sad, Lloyd. We’ll be fashionably late,” he calls. “That’s it, I’m off duty. Are you happy? I can’t just shirk these responsibilities, Lloyd.”

It’s subtle, but it’s clear what Hanks is hinting at, even if his performance is a little exaggeratedly fey. It’s not hard to see why the scene was cut; it doesn’t add much to the plot and Lloyd never appears again. Still, it’s nice to see Hanks continued his LGBT allyship post-“Philadelphia.” Coincidentally, Hanks’ “Philadelphia” director Jonathan Demme also makes a brief cameo in the film as a Hollywood director.

“That Thing You Do!” starred Hanks, Everett Scott, Steve Zahn, Liv Tyler, Ethan Embry, and Johnathon Schaech. It was written and directed by Hanks, who wrote the screenplay to maintain “creative sanity” during the long press tour for “Forrest Gump.” It was released by 20th Century Fox on October 4th, 1996.

Watch the scene below, and enjoy having “That Thing You Do!” stuck in your head all day:

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