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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From Tom Hanks Movies

Updated June 24, 2021 4.8k votes 726 voters 49k views12 items

List RulesVote up the production stories that make you enjoy Tom Hanks's movies even more.

Tom Hanks is known for his huge film successes, including Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, Big, and A League of Their Own, as well as being beloved as "America's Dad." He's Hollywood's Everyman, capable of imbuing any role with his own personal charm, and seemingly impervious to the many trappings of fame (plus, his Tweets are as wholesome as can be). Regular folks who meet and work with him often remark on his kind, down-to-earth personality.

Throughout his film career, beginning in earnest with the 1984 film Splash, his colleagues in Hollywood have told stories of his extraordinary energy, joy, and kindness on set, as well as his professionalism and compassion toward all crew members. This list reveals some of the most intriguing, funny, and heartwarming stories about filming with Tom Hanks, a man dedicated to his craft and bringing compassion to every set. 

  • 1

    Tom Hanks Almost Died Of A Staph Infection While Filming 'Cast Away'

    During the production of Cast Away on the uninhabited island of Monuriki in Fiji, Tom Hanks scratched his leg, but thought the sore would heal on its own. When the swelling didn't go down, Hanks finally saw a doctor. His untreated leg had a staph infection, and according to the doctor, Hanks was in severe danger. Hanks recalled:

    I went to the doctor who took one look and said, "I have to put you in the hospital because we have to get this infection out of you before it poisons your blood and you die."

    Medical professionals were able to treat his staph infection, and Hanks went on to win a Golden Globe for best actor in 2001 for his role in the film. 

  • 2

    'Apollo 13' Stars Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon All Went To Space Camp

    To make his 1995 film Apollo 13 as authentic as possible, director Ron Howard sent lead actors Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon to Huntsville, AL, to attend NASA's space camp. They went through the same rigorous training as NASA astronauts, using flight simulators, analyzing moon rocks, eating astronaut food, studying the command and lunar landing modules, and even learning how to urinate in space.  

    The film is considered by NASA and retired astronauts to be the most authentic Hollywood depiction of a space mission. For Hanks, experiencing the intense training at NASA's space camp, along with studying the real Jim Lovell, helped him prepare for his role.

  • 3

    'Forrest Gump' Had Major Financial Troubles And Was Almost Shut Down Until Tom Hanks Paid For Additional Scenes

    Forrest Gump won six Oscars in 1994, earned Tom Hanks an Oscar for best actor, and was the second highest-grossing film of 1994, right behind Disney's The Lion King. Its financial difficulties and troubled production, however, almost shut down the film before any of us heard "Run, Forrest, run!"

    The movie's $55 million production budget was not enough to cover the costs of several of director Robert Zemeckis's ideas, and Paramount refused to allocate more. According to Cinema Blend, Paramount was only 48 hours away from shutting down the film altogether when Zemeckis insisted on additional scenes.

    Zemeckis believed the shots of Forrest running across the country were necessary to the storyline, and convinced Hanks to help him. The men reached an agreement with Paramount to pay for the additional scenes themselves in exchange for larger profit sharing. This agreement ended up being highly lucrative for both men: According to IndieWire, Hanks earned an estimated $65 million from the film due to those larger profit-sharing margins, and the added scenes did contribute in a key way to the overall film.

  • 4

    Tom Hanks Played With All The Dogs Who Portrayed Hooch Before Filming Began On 'Turner and Hooch'

    Tom Hanks played detective Scott Turner in the 1989 film Turner and Hooch, which featured a dog, Hooch, as Turner's sidekick. Hooch was a big role, and star Beasley the dog had several understudies to join him on set. To establish a rapport with all of the dogs, Hanks spent time playing and wrestling with the dogs before filming even began. Hanks explained to NPR:

    You know, when you make a movie with a dog, you have to work with the dog for weeks prior to shooting it. Otherwise, he won't take his eye off the trainer. So, I would go off and play with I think actually three dogs that portrayed... Hooch. It was a part too big for one dog.