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Tom Hanks Addressed Those Doctor Who Rumors In A Way That Hilariously Proved It Wasn’t A Good Idea

Tom Hanks in Cloud Atlas
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Tom Hanks is a Hollywood institution, and given his wild recent transformations for roles like in Elvis, it’s hard to imagine a role he wouldn’t knock out of the park. (Hanks even recently spoke about being able to do what he wants.) With that said, the actor might’ve unintentionally driven home that he wasn’t a fit for BBC’s Doctor Who when he recently addressed the rumors that Peter Capaldi petitioned for him to play The Doctor during his tenure. 

It’s said that Peter Capaldi petitioned Doctor Who producers to bring in Tom Hanks to play an iteration of The Doctor. Josh Horowitz mentioned the rumor to Hanks when the latter was a guest on the Happy Sad Confused (opens in new tab) podcast, and while Hanks didn’t indicate whether he was aware of the rumor, he did make a convincing case that it was for the best that he wasn’t involved:

That would’ve been a blast, but that’s all, that’s all scheduling I guess. Can’t do every job. And honestly, me as Doctor Who – can you imagine? Can you imagine the outrage? I’m an American, and I’m gonna go over, and I’m gonna jump in that, you know, red telephone box, and you know, and either wear a scarf and whatever it is… So imagine the cry if I had played world-famous... I would’ve played one of the Daleks, maybe. I would’ve been inside one of those big salt and pepper shakers talking in that automated voice – with an English accent, by the way.

Even if you ignore the fact that Tom Hanks referred to The Doctor as “Doctor Who,” the Oscar-winning actor also completely messed up the most iconic mainstream piece of imagery of the franchise. The Doctor’s TARDIS is a blue police box, and not the “red telephone box” that Hanks imagined himself jumping into. It’s clear that Hanks isn’t the most well-versed in Doctor Who, though I’m sure he’d still give a performance that would knock fans' socks off all the same. 

Tom Hanks did know enough about Doctor Who to know that there would be quite a stir for him to step into the iconic role of The Doctor as an American. To date, no Doctor from the Doctor Who series has come from North America, and even notable actress Whoopi Goldberg was turned away after offering to play the role. It seems like at least one American actor is suggested as a replacement option every time the lead actor leaves the show, but we still haven’t had a casting happen yet. 

As a fan, I definitely much prefer the idea of Tom Hanks playing a villain in Doctor Who, similar to what Neil Patrick Harris is doing in the 60th anniversary special. Hell, I’m even down for the idea of a Dalek “Tom Hanks,” just for the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Let’s get a story where Daleks control the mind of Hanks, and try to use him to exterminate all humanity. Daleks are usually a lot more straightforward than that, but hey, maybe Russell T. Davies can switch some things up in his upcoming return as showrunner

Doctor Who has its centenary special (so named for the 100-year anniversary of the BBC) coming up in the fall, which will be the exit episode for current Doctor actress Jodie Whittaker. Gear up for her exit by binging her best episodes (or Whittaker’s personal favorite) with an HBO Max subscription, and get ready for all the fun on the way in 2023 and beyond. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.