LOS ANGELES: Winning two Best Actor Oscars, a slew of other awards and being cherished as one of America’s best-loved actors over the past three decades would seem to be enough validation for most Hollywood stars. But not Tom Hanks. Reporter Wendy Dimpleman caught up with Tom at his favorite La Cienaga sushi stop, where he shared his dream for another, more permanent form of immortality.
by Wendy Dimpleman
MR. HANKS: My publicist should really be saying this, but honestly, I think I’m really a great candidate for completing Mt. Rushmore. There’s an unfinished niche on Lincoln’s right, and it’s always been a really unbalanced sculpture. Three heads on one side, a single one on the other. It’s lopsided. Hello?! Any art professor will tell you that.
WENDY: Okay. But why you?
MR. HANKS: Any pundit or critic who hasn’t been spelunking the last 20 years will tell you — Tom Hanks is not just a famous actor. He’s become an American icon. Hey, I don’t want to just sit here blowing my own horn like a jerk, so let me just say what Margaret Bolmsturk, film critic for the Ardmore Gazetteer says (reading) — “After three decades of groundbreaking hits — as actor, producer, director and even grip when the chips were down — Tom Hanks has metastasized beyond Hollywood. He’s our Frank Capra/Yankee Doodle everyman shuffling down Main Street under the July 4th fireworks of our pride as the world’s indispensable nation. Yes, Tom Hanks is really Big now — a full-fledged American icon. And I just love him!” … Not my words.
WENDY: Okay. But you don’t think a postage stamp would be enough?
MR. HANKS: (sigh) No. Postage stamps are disposable, and not very durable even with collectors in climate-controlled cases. Not even as durable as celluloid, or even digital. Did you know digital archives have to be transferred and backed up every so many years or they turn to mush? I don’t care how hi-tech you want to get, you can’t beat the Stone Age for the long term.
WENDY: Okay. But some would say that Mt. Rushmore is for real American heroes, not… fake American heroes. I mean, I love acting, but it’s not real — it’s fake, right?
MR. HANKS: … (sigh) Did you see me DIE in Saving Private Ryan? That wasn’t “fakery,” missy — that was deep-core method acting with fifteen-plus years of kundalini yoga and a little Scientology behind it. I lowered my heart rate to 30 BEATS PER MINUTE, draining the blood out of my whole head until I passed out. No makeup, no CGI. And thank God the continuity girl noticed that I wasn’t breathing very well, or at all, after the wrap, and called the medics, or… I was in harm’s way on that set! But I did it out of love. For Private Ryan. And all Americans of the Greatest Generation.
WENDY: Okay. Thank you for your service. So which haircut would you prefer on the sculpture? Like in Castaway, Forrest Gump, or… maybe Apollo 13?
MR. HANKS: Good question, really good question. Hmm, guess it would have to be a sort of a hybrid, reflecting all those and some more — but not Castaway. No, I’d be right next to Lincoln and he has a beard. Any art critic would tell you, compositionally, that just wouldn’t work. I actually prefer Jefferson’s look the best — clean-shaven, kind of dreamy, but serious.
WENDY: Okay. Thanks for —
MR. HANKS: It would take some money, of course, so please everybody go to TomHanksMountRushmore-dot-com, sign my petition to congress, and I’m offering matching donations for the GoFundMe campaign through Memorial Day.