Tom Hanks: Splash helped boost Disney

Tom Hanks thinks Splash helped change Disney’s reputation of being a “B enterprise”.

The 59-year-old actor’s breakthrough on the big screen came in the form of hopeless romantic Allen Bauer in the 1984 movie, directed by Ron Howard. The pair met when Tom was invited to guest star on sitcom Happy Days, the show that made Ron famous, and it was this cameo that triggered the beginning of a big career.

“They had some role on Happy Days and I went down and did that – it was just a one-shot thing,” he told filmmaker Steven Spielberg during a BuzzFeed discussion. “But Ron Howard had left Happy Days the year before because he wanted to go off and direct films. And the guys who were the head writers of Happy Days, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, they wrote Splash.

“Splash was Ron and Brian Grazer’s second film, and it was this low-budget movie that was shooting on Disney. And at that time, the Disney studios were kind of like this B enterprise. No one was really doing any work over there. Walt Disney was long dead and they were doing things like Gus, the field goal–kicking mule, and The Boatniks and stuff like that.”

Tom was excited to meet Ron and Brian, describing them as just average guys. To add to the thrill, the filmmaker duo asked Tom to do a tape test at Disney with furniture from classic movie Old Yeller in the background. Up until that moment the thespian had only played “goofy sidekicks” in front of the camera, so to land the lead in Splash was an honour.

During Steven and Tom’s chat, the famous director brought up their projects together; Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal. The pair have teamed up again for upcoming feature Bridge of Spies but ahead of its release, they reminisced on previous ventures.

“I read it just as an example of (screenwriter) Jeff Nathanson’s work and I knew you guys were gonna make it and I knew it was (Leonardo DiCaprio’s) movie,” Tom noted about Catch Me If You Can. “I said (to my agent), ‘Has the FBI guy been cast?’ ‘No. It’s early stages.’ And what I saw in it was, first of all, I get to play somebody my own age, which was great.”

– Cover Media

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