Acclaimed actor Tom Hanks, at 60, has become a bona fide author. His book, Uncommon Type: Some Stories will consist of 17 stories.
In an era when even young actresses such as Lily Collins are churning out memoirs, Hanks has opted to create a short fiction collection. Given his illustrious career in Hollywood, in which he transitioned from award-winning actor to director and producer (among the programs he has produced is the Emmy-Award-winning HBO miniseries Band of Brothers), the book project has aroused Hollywood insiders’ and fans’ curiosity.
The Forrest Gump actor has stated he worked on the book for a period of two years, and typewriters always figured in the stories. Seventeen stories were birthed during the times Hanks made movies in Berlin, New York, Budapest, and Atlanta.
He recounted that he would always write. The Toy Story 4 actor would write during press tours, while on vacation, while riding planes, at home, or in his office.
The Oscar winner impressed Alfred A Knopf’s editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta with a story published in The New Yorker, an amusing little piece called Allan Bean Plus Four. Although The New Yorker, in past years, has published fiction by celebrities, the actor’s story was easy to miss.
Insights about relationships often fill up the fiction page of the publication. For his part, Tom Hank told tales about interesting characters going to the moon (without landing on it) and back.
Write About What You Know
It is worth recalling that Hanks was a member of the cast of Apollo 13, a docudrama in which Tom was joined by respected actors like Kevin Bacon and Ed Harris. The movie was adjudged Best Picture by the Academy Awards group in 1995. It would seem that the knowledge Tom gained in the production of said film played a part in his foray into writing.
Interestingly, in Tom’s upcoming collection of stories, there is a character — an immigrant — arriving in New York City after his life was shattered by his country’s civil war. It appears to be a case of art imitating life, except that many immigrants are currently denied entry to the U.S.
It is not the first time that an actor took on the difficult task of writing a book. Another acclaimed actor, Ethan Hawke, wrote novels. The Hottest State was Hawke’s debut entry into fiction, and it was followed by two more inspiring novels: Ash Wednesday and Rules for a Knight.
Ethan’s earlier novels were autobiographical, and many were able to relate to the books. Making the leap from acting to writing may not be for everyone, but celebrities like Ethan show how splendidly it can be done. As for Tom Hanks, the book-reading public may give the verdict when Some Stories hits bookstores on October 24.