Tom Hanks has a lot to answer for.
On his hit podcast “Dead Eyes”, host Connor Ratliff has been searching for the answer to a question that’s been dogging him for years: Why did Tom Hanks fire him from a bit part in the HBO series “Band of Brothers”?
All he knows is that someone suggested to him Hanks thought he had “dead eyes” and so replaced him with another actor.
Over the course of the podcast, Ratliff has spoken to everyone from Rian Johnson, Seth Rogen, Jon Hamm, D’Arcy Carden, Aparna Nancherla, Judd Apatow and even Colin Hanks, but now, finally, he’s going to the man himself.
“I was fully prepared for this to never happen, but I am thrilled that it has,” said Ratliff told Deadline. “I think for listeners who have been following along, it will be a very satisfying experience. And for new listeners, it’s a Tom Hanks episode, so what’s not to like? We want it to feel as if you’re just there in the room with me and Tom. I have been a fan ever since I heard him scream the line ‘I am not a fish’ in ‘Splash’, and doing this podcast has only made me a bigger fan, even before he agreed to be a guest.”
In the March 10 episode, Hanks insisted that “not a single moment of this rings a bell,” but apologized anyway, saying Ratliff’s recollection is “a bone-chilling story.”
“Let me first take full responsibility for doing this to you. This was without a doubt the act of the director, and that was me,” Hanks said, adding it was “one of those very, very subtle sort of decisions that aims the story in the direction you want it to go.”
“I was aghast. I was … I actually got chilled. My heart rate skyrocketed and I said, I did … I did what? I did what?” Hanks said of hearing the podcast from his own son, Colin Hanks. “In the inner sanctum of whatever this casting session was on ‘Band of Brothers’ … I’m sure I said, ‘I don’t know man, that guy’s got dead eyes.’ I could’ve said, ‘He’s got too blond of hair; he’s too tall and I can’t have the aide be taller than Captain Winters.” I could’ve said, “He’s too short and slight … I could’ve said any of these things, and they would have been true and they would’ve been the opinion.”
Hanks continued, “Whoever communicated to you what was said, in the inner sanctum, with such authenticity, should have their kneecaps broken, because that is … That is not allowed. It’s not quotable there. It’s off the record.”
Looking at an old headshot of Ratliff, Hanks exclaimed, “These are not dead eyes. Can I just say that right now from this 8×10 black and white.”