“Cloud Atlas” got its start as an infamous box office flop and one of 2012’s most polarizing critical releases, but it has since garnered a passionate cult following and many fans consider it to be the Wachowski siblings’ unsung masterpiece. The sprawling science-fiction epic is based on David Mitchell’s 2004 novel of the same name and casts Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in multiple roles as characters become reincarnated throughout generations. Few cinephiles would call it one of Tom Hanks’ best films considering the Oscar winner has “Saving Private Ryan,” “Big,” “Toy Story,” and more classics under his belt, but Hanks does consider it one of his top-tier efforts.
During an appearance on The Ringer’s “Bill Simmons Podcast” (video embedded below), Hanks was asked to pick his three favorite Tom Hanks movies. The actor obliged, but with a slight tweak. “I would not do it according to the way the movies came out,” he said. “I’d do it the way of the personal experience I had while doing them.”
That’s where “Cloud Atlas” comes in. According to Hanks, the film is one of the most magical experiences he’s ever had in his decades-spanning acting career. The film was shot all around Germany and featured a massive ensemble cast that included Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant.
“We shot [‘Cloud Atlas’] on a hope and a dream and nothing but a circle of love,” Hanks said. “That was the first time I’d ever shot extensively in Germany and I was surrounded by history. But the work itself, we were part of this big, massive ensemble of fantastic people who were just trying to do the hardest, best work on a deep throw…that whole movie was such a deep throw that making it was magical.”
“Cloud Atlas” ranks behind two other Hanks classics. The actor listed “A League of Their Own” as his favorite film he’s ever made, mostly because he just got to play baseball all summer long during pre-production and shooting. Second on his list was “Cast Away,” the production of which ended up being an extensive vacation in Fiji.
“We just had bold adventures when making that movie” Hanks said. “We were out in the middle of the ocean trying to grab shots. We were out in Fiji and my whole family was with me. Nothing but adventures every single day.”
Watch Hanks break down his three favorite filmmaking experiences in the video below. The actor’s latest project, “Finch,” is now streaming on Apple TV+.