Tom Hanks saddles up for first western, Entertainment News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

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LOS ANGELES • It has taken Hollywood star Tom Hanks more than 35 years to make his first western, so when he finally got on a horse and into a shoot-out, he wanted to make sure the movie had something special to say.

Hanks, known for playing nice guys, stars in News Of The World, out in American movie theatres tomorrow.

He joked that he likes to think of the film as “The Mandalorian, without lightsabers”.

“There’s no reason to make a western just because you get to wear comfortable clothes and a hat. It has to be about something bigger than just the genre,” Hanks, 64, said.

Set after the United States Civil War, the film follows Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks) as he travels across a divided America reading the news in small towns.

He meets a traumatised girl, played by newcomer Helena Zengel, who was taken by the Native American Kiowa tribe years ago and decides to deliver her back to her surviving relatives.

For Hanks and director Paul Greengrass, News Of The World is about the power of healing after fractious events.

“It felt to me such a contemporary story – the world bitterly divided, (the) post-Civil War landscape, the desperate desire for healing but not knowing what the road to healing looks like,” said Greengrass, who has previously worked with Hanks on the 2013 movie Captain Phillips.

Although the filming of News Of The World took place more than a year ago, the story takes place against a background of the epidemics of cholera and meningitis that hit the US in the late 19th century.

Hanks said the eerily prescient arrival of the film this week during the long coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath of divisive US elections last month reflects the power of movie-making.

“Here we are, we made a movie that takes place in 1870 and it speaks to 2020. Ain’t that the movies in a nutshell?” he said.

“That you can see a film that is about people riding horses and it’s like, ‘Wow. That’s really speaking about what it’s like today.'”

Meanwhile, Hanks said on the Today talk show that he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, look forward to taking the Covid-19 vaccine, but they will do so after “everybody who truly needs to get it”.

Hanks and Wilson, also 64, were among the first celebrities to announce in March that they had tested positive for the coronavirus while he was filming in Australia.

The Forrest Gump (1994) star told Today host Savannah Guthrie: “It was a tough 10 days, but I think what’s much more important is the second half of the Covid-19 formula, that we didn’t give it to anybody.”

He added that he and Wilson are still wearing face masks as part of precautions.


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