There’s a reason Tom Hanks isn’t often landing the role of the bad guy in movies — he doesn’t think he’s all that scary.
In a new profile for The New York Times, the two-time Oscar winner discusses how he chooses the roles he takes on and why he usually steers clear of the villains.
“Look, playing bad, I am not interested, ever,” he says. “I don’t want to see bad guys who are just bad, you know? Why are they bad?”
The 63-year-old actor also admits that his own hesitation isn’t the only roadblock to playing antagonists. During the interview, he hints that the dastardly roles are rarely offered to him.
“It’s because I never get them, because bad guys, by and large, require some degree of malevolence that I don’t think I can fake,” he states.
It’s true that he’s taken on some morally murky characters, like Michael Sullivan Sr., the mob hitman in “Road to Perdition” (2002) or Eamon Bailey, the privacy-invading tech CEO in “The Circle” (2017), or multiple underhanded baddies in “Cloud Atlas” (2012). But, at least in the last example, Hanks argues that was “under an awful lot of makeup.”
In September, ET chatted with Hanks at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he was on hand to promote his new film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, in which he plays the late kids show host, Fred Rogers. During the chat, Hanks discussed what attracts him to roles based on real-life people.
“What they had was a moment in which they were trying to achieve something that was of stellar importance,” he said. “Certainly Walt Disney, Charlie Wilson, when I played Charlie Wilson, and a number of other real people.”
Hanks also discussed how he sees his role in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” as a departure from familiar territory.
“I think Mr. Fred Rogers is the first person I’ve played that is not undergoing the great crisis of their business or their lives,” he continued. “Walt Disney wanted to get a movie made [in ‘Saving Mr. Banks’], Sully had to save 156 people, ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’, he wanted to go to bat with the Soviet Union. Mr. Rogers doesn’t want anything, except maybe for people to understand themselves and the world a little bit better, so that’s a different kind of gig.”
See more on Hanks below.