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Tom Hanks' debut novel explores how Hollywood makes its movies

Tom Hanks
Austin Hargrave
Tom Hanks, 67, has acted in more than 80 films, worked as a film producer, writer and voice artist, and been an American cultural icon for the past four decades. Now Hanks has written his first novel, about something he knows extremely well: the art, science and business of Hollywood movie-making. (cover art courtesy Penguin Random House; Tom Hanks 2017 photo by Austin Hargrave.)

Tom Hall's guest today is Tom Hanks.
You know who he is, of course, because he’s a movie star.
You know his work over a performing career that has spanned 46 years. You know that he has made dozens of iconic films, and that he has won a gazillion awards.

And today, we’re not going to talk about any of that.

We’re going to talk instead about his first novel, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece. It was published in May. It follows a collection of Tom Hanks' short stories called Uncommon Type: Some Stories, which came out in 2017.

Hanks' new novel is about a fictional writer-director who transforms a 1970 comic book into a modern-day super-hero movie. It's a fascinating look behind the camera at the legions of people who are involved in the process of creating a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. And it’s a bright explication of the simple observation offered up by Hanks’ protagonist when he says, “Making movies is more fun than fun.”

Tom Hanks is a gifted writer, and this novel is funny, poignant, insightful, and, most of all, loving. It’s an homage to movie-making and movie makers.

Two things to keep in mind about the next hour. Tom is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, which along with members of the Writers Guild of America, is on strike. We are not going to talk about his movies while he and his union are striking. The other thing is that our conversation was pre-recorded in late July, so we can’t take any calls or online comments.

Tom Hanks joins us on Zoom from Greece.

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