Tom Hanks has won two Oscars, been nominated for three more, and starred in many of the most iconic films of the past four decades while working with Hollywood’s biggest directors. But that doesn’t mean he’s immune to getting starstruck. While few actors have reached the heights of fame that Hanks has, one who could certainly give him a run for his money is Paul Newman. And Hanks has always been well aware of that, even when the two men were working together.
In a new appearance on the “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard” podcast, Hanks recalled his time on set with Newman while filming Sam Mendes’ “Road to Perdition.” When asked if he ever had imposter syndrome while working with the “Cool Hand Luke” star, Hanks answered bluntly: “Absolutely.”
“I made one movie with Mr. Paul Newman,” Hanks said. “It took a bit for me to make peace with that fact: I’m in a movie with Paul Newman.”
It appears that Newman, who was entering his fifth decade of movie stardom at the time, was well aware of the effect that he had on people. Once he realized how nervous Hanks and their co-stars Daniel Craig and Jude Law were, he did his best to put everyone at ease.
“He just comes in and he’s the lowest-maintenance guy you’ve ever come across and easy to talk to,” Hanks said. “He did [the scene] and there was a moment of silence. Then, he looked at us all and he said, ‘The first day you feel kind of self-conscious, don’t ya?’ And everybody was released from any sort of bondage of honor that we were feeling. That was the guy.”
Hanks can take pride in the fact that they made a pretty great movie together, but he also walked away from the experience of working with Newman with a practical tip that still helps the actor look his best on camera.
“You know what I learned from Paul Newman and use it to this day? First thing in the makeup trailer — your face in a bucket of ice water,” he said.