Tom Hanks Worries He ‘Didn’t Go Far Enough’ as an Actor in ‘Big Hit’ Movies: ‘I Wrestle with Authenticity’

"I didn't go to the place that I could have gone," Hanks said, adding he won't watch most of his films.
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: Tom Hanks attends the "A Man Called Otto" VIP access photocall at the Corinthia hotel on December 16, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images )
Tom Hanks
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Tom Hanks may only count on one hand the movies of his that he considers “pretty good,” but the two-time Oscar winner is opening up about suffering from doubts over his acting ability.

The “Man Called Otto” actor admitted to having “self-doubt that is pure neurosis” over the “authenticity” of his roles in the “big hits” of his career.

“I wrestle with authenticity,” Hanks said during “The Great Creators with Guy Raz” podcast (via People). “I wrestle with the difference between lying for a living as an actor and lying to myself as a human being.”

Hanks does not watch a majority of his former films because he can see “the falsehood in them. I see the loss. I see that one time, ‘Oh, man, I missed that opportunity.'”

Hanks continued, “And it’s not because, at the moment, I chose not to — it’s because, after it was done, I realized I didn’t go far enough. I didn’t go to the place that I could have gone. Then I asked myself, well, why? Was it because I was satisfied with what I had? Was it because I wasn’t up enough on the text? Was it because I didn’t have enough of those ideas in my pocket? Or you know, was it because I was late that day and we had to rush the shot and instead of six passes, we only got two passes at it? That’s where the self-doubt creeps in.”

In fact, Hanks noted he cannot relate to any of his past characters on a personal level.

“I’m not like any of these guys. I don’t have the wherewithal or the stick-to-it-iveness,” Hanks shared. “But there’s a number of things I reacted to immediately.”

Hanks cited “Forrest Gump” as one of the few films he knows he gave his all for, one which landed him an Academy Award for Best Actor.

“We all sat together for weeks with [director Robert Zemeckis], and Bob was saying, ‘Well, what do we make of that?'” Hanks said of the pre-production preparation, including researching the original novel by Winston Groom. “We started at the beginning of the script and we all talked about everything. Even scenes we’re not in, and what it meant to the text. That doesn’t mean your own lines. You must know the text, because the text is the interpretation of the theme, and the theme is why you’re all there in the first place.”

Hanks added about his approach to all films, “The question I ask myself is, ‘Is the theme of this movie worthy of the time and effort and examination of it to draw people into it, become involved?'”

The “Elvis” actor previously said that after almost 30 years in Hollywood, he believes he’s only been in four “pretty good” films.

“No one knows how a movie is made — though everyone thinks they do,” Hanks told People. “I’ve made a ton of movies (and four of them are pretty good, I think) and I’m still amazed at how films come together. From a flicker of an idea to the flickering image onscreen, the whole process is a miracle.”

Hanks added, “Movie-making is very hard work over a very long period of time that consists of so many moments of joy slapped up against an equal number of feelings of self-loathing. It is the greatest job in the world and the most confounding of labors that I know of.”

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