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Greyhound Sends Tom Hanks Back to War

Greyhound Sends Tom Hanks Back to War

(03/09/2020)

After playing one of the nicest men ever to appear on television, Tom Hanks will go back to war in GREYHOUND. The movie casts America's Best Friend as a veteran naval officer who has, despite his rank, never been to war, as he guides a fleet of American warships through treacherous waters during World War II. We've seen Hanks play a self-doubting pilot in SULLY, and an embattled sea captain, in CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (above), but GREYHOUND will offer the actor new challenges.

GREYHOUND has been a long time coming, and we're still waiting for the first trailer to arrive. In the meantime, however, we know quite a bit about the movie — and after we fill you in on the film's background and story, you'll understand why we can't wait to see it.

Producer, Star, and Screenwriter Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks in Clint Eastwood's Sully

[Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures


Tom Hanks is a multihyphenate talent who is adept at seemingly everything, from acting to producing, writing and directing. For GREYHOUND, Hanks wrote the screenplay in addition to producing and starring. It’s the first time Hanks has written a narrative feature since 2011’s LARRY CROWNE and the first feature he’s written but not directed. (Hanks co-wrote and narrated a short IMAX documentary about space in 2005, whose composer also did the music for GREYHOUND.)

The latest from Hanks is based on "The Good Shepherd," a novel by C.S. Forester, originally published in 1955. The plot sounds exactly like the meat of a great paperback page-turner. In 1942, not long after America's entry into World War II, Commander Ernst Krause is in charge of an armada of Allied ships crossing the North Atlantic as it is hotly pursued by a fleet of German U-boats. "Greyhound" is the code name for Krause's destroyer, the USS Keeling.

Hanks plays Krause, who battles his own insecurities while trying to lead the fleet and outmaneuver the enemy. It’s easy to transpose those self-doubts to Hanks as a filmmaker, especially when he’s the writer, producer and star, as he tries to get the film to hang together, cross the finish line, and be widely embraced by critics and audiences. Considering how compelling this sounds, those fears should probably be put to rest.

A Fresh Director

Greyhound Director Aaron Schneider's feature, Get Low

[Image Credit: Sony Pictures Classics]


For many years, Hanks was most closely associated with Hollywood heavyweights like Jonathan Demme, Robert Zemeckis, and Steven Spielberg. Over the last decade, he has started to work with a new wave of great filmmakers, like Marielle Heller, who directed him to his first Oscar nomination in 19 years in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, James Ponsoldt (THE CIRCLE), and now, for GREYHOUND, Aaron Schneider.

Schneider started out as a cinematographer on projects like '90s TV show "Murder One," and Morgan Freeman thriller KISS THE GIRLS. In 2004, he won an Oscar for his short film TWO SOLDIERS, and in 2011 he won an Independent Spirit Award for his debut feature, GET LOW, which was anchored by a wonderful Robert Duvall performance (seen above). GREYHOUND gives Schneider a chance to paint on a massive canvas, with one of the biggest stars in the world.

The Purity of a War Story

The Good Shepherd

[Image Credit: Penguin Books]


For GREYHOUND, he knew exactly what kind of story he wanted to tell. In an interview with Variety, Schneider said: "It was [author William] Faulkner who said that the pillars of story are love, pity, pride, compassion, honor and sacrifice, and a war story comes with all of the above. So right from the start, if you’re telling a war story, you’re starting with about the purest protagonist you can start with, someone who’s willing to sacrifice comfort, home, family, future for a greater good. In terms of a hero’s journey, it doesn’t get any purer than that."

The filmmaker also spoke to the resonance of GREYHOUND, which represents real people who went through the struggle of war. "You can be kind of a megaphone for someone else’s historic sacrifice," Schneider told Variety. "A great movie speaks to some really beautiful, universal truths, and it’s a privilege to bring a beautiful story into the world. But if at the same time, you’re bringing somebody’s personal story of sacrifice into the world, you get a chance to say, this isn’t just any old movie. There was a guy who did that. Or there were men like him who did that." Even if it's based on a yarn, thanks to Schneider and Hanks, GREYHOUND will still honor those that fought.

Hanks Goes Back to War

Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan

[Image Credit: Paramount Pictures]


GREYHOUND also gives us the chance to see Tom Hanks to back to war. Hanks delivered one of his most powerful and iconic performances in Steven Spielberg’s SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, in which he played a battle-hardened former teacher tasked with bringing a young soldier back from the WWII front lines in France. And while Hanks did not appear in the 2001 miniseries "Band of Brothers," he did co-create the series, and served as an episodic writer and director.

In the years since SAVING PRIVATE RYAN set the benchmark for what a war movie could be, advances in technology and adventurous storytelling have led to stunning new war movies. Christopher Nolan’s DUNKIRK focused on a single battle, through three different perspectives, while the World War I-set 1917 unfolds over what looks like a single, unbroken take in nearly real time. GREYHOUND sails into this new cinematic landscape, and we can't wait to see how this movie explores the courage and sacrifice of one of World War II's key naval encounters.

GREYHOUND is in movie theatres on June 12!



Want to know more about Hanks's Oscar-nominated role in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD?

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