Tom Hanks Talks The ‘Casual Slaughter’ That Is Movie-Making And How Many Good Films He’s Made

Tom Hanks has been in some iconic films for over four decades, with he best Hanks movies including A League of Their Own, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Big and more. He’s also directed and penned movies like That Thing You Do! and Larry Crowne. This impressive resume shows me that being on both sides of the camera gives you a well-rounded perspective on what making a movie is like. The 66-year-old actor recently spoke about the “casual slaughter” that comes with making a movie and how many good films he’s made.

We’ve seen Tom Hanks as a phenomenal actor, screenwriter and director. Now, he’s mastering his writing talent with his first novel, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece. This Oscar-winner told People that he wrote this book based on his own personal experiences of the “casual slaughter” of movie-making. 

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. I hope the book captures as much of ‘the accidental judgements and casual slaughter’ that go into a motion pictures dictum to hold ‘a mirror up to nature’ that I have witnessed (and caused) since I joined the Screen Actors Guild.

As gruesome as this may sound, making a masterpiece is no easy task. Writing a book must be hard work too, and as Hanks mentioned, he hopes the book can highlight the challenges of filmmaking. Hanks' book, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, spans several decades showing how American culture has changed since World War II. We see scenes that take place in 1947 of a soldier returning home from the war to his five-year-old nephew who looks up to to him. In 1970, that same nephew drew comic books and used his uncle as the inspiration for one of his characters. In the present day, that comic book becomes a superhero movie adaptation with a mix of unique characters putting it together. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was another example of art becoming reality if Hanks' book ends up being adapted into a film someday.

If you recall the time Tom Hanks recreated his entire film career in eight minutes, you can see that he’s played a number of diverse characters, whether he’s a romantic lead, a toy, a washed-up baseball coach, a WWII hero, etc. The Philadelphia actor continued talking about how he’s made a few good movies in his career and is still amazed by the filmmaking process of it all. 

No one knows how a movie is made — though everyone thinks they do. 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.

Tom Hanks didn't tell People exactly which movies he’s referring to, but we can get an idea with a little detective work. Last year on an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, the talented actor said that based on the personal experiences he had working on his films, he ranked Cloud Atlas, A League of Their Own, and Cast Away as his favorites. The Forrest Gump star has never been one to be afraid to voice movies in his career he wasn’t happy with. 

For example, he called The Da Vinci Code and other Robert Langdon films “hooey” and more of a commercial enterprise. Hanks also felt that The Bonfire of the Vanities, one of his worst movies, flopped, because it didn’t do a good job translating to the big screen. Being an actor helps you formulate opinions on what makes a good movie and what ideas are better off being shelved. His new novel will likely give us a view of what he believes needs to go into a movie to make it a masterpiece. 

The Big star may acknowledge that making movies involves “casual slaughter” from time to time, but also finds the process very rewarding. The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece will hit the shelves on May 9, 2023. Until then, you can keep up with CinemaBlend’s new movie releases so you’ll be the first to know the next project Tom Hanks will take part in.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.