The Advice Tom Hanks Gave That Thing You Do Actors After Showing Up Late

Tom Hanks holding up a Wonders record in That Thing You Do.

To honor Oscar-nominated songwriter Adam Schlesinger who tragically passed from COVID-19 complications, the cast of That Thing You Do has been giving interviews lately. Much of the talk has centered around how incredible the song “That Thing You Do” is and what an absolute treasure Schlesinger was to work with, but some great behind the scenes tidbits have emerged including a story about Tom Hanks giving a dad lecture to the young cast members.

The story itself was told during an interview with Rolling Stone. Apparently, the actors all showed up late on the same day. In response, Tom Hanks took them all in the same trailer and gave them some fatherly wisdom. Here’s the always delightful Steve Zahn and his version…

I always remember this. We all showed up late. We got called into one of our trailers, and Tom was so nice. He sat us down and said, ‘That’s the last time that’ll ever happen.’… What he meant was: That was the last time that will ever happen in your career. I’m giving you some advice. Show up. Know your shit. Be cool Don’t be a jerk, all those things. He was really dad.

I’m sure there are plenty of other people in Hollywood who would do the same thing, but you can just hear that well-intentioned but stern lecture in Tom Hanks’ voice. He always seems like a man who doesn’t shy away from hard truths but has the people skills required to say them in a reassuring way that’ll get through. In some ways, he gave a similar lecture when he was honored at the Golden Globes earlier this year and implored his fellow actors to show up on time.

Later in the interview, the actors further hammered home the same point and told some additional stories. Apparently they were trying to film a scene and the crowd of extras was being too loud and started chanting Hanks’ name. So, he went out there, did the Forrest Gump wave in character and got everyone to quiet down. Tom Everett Scott also told a similar story about fan interactions…

He led by example. I’d see him interact with fans. If someone wanted him to list all the versions of shrimp he could cook from Forrest Gump, he’d do it. He’d play along. He knew fans love that stuff.

That Thing You Do has remained well-liked and frequently discussed since its initial release, but the movie has re-entered the public consciousness in a big way since Adam Schlesinger’s tragic death. The cast is participating in a watch party tonight to raise money for charity and will be taking fan questions. It should be a great time, and if you can’t make that, I highly suggest pulling out your own copy of That Thing You Do and firing it up. It’s one of my favorite movies ever made, and it somehow gets even more fun and watchable with every single viewing.

Mack Rawden
Editor In Chief

Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.