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Tom Hanks: Hudson river pilot Sully 'had opinions' on portrayal in Eastwood film

Published 24/11/2016

Tom Hanks discusses his new film, Sully: Miracle On The Hudson, on The Graham Norton Show, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.
Tom Hanks discusses his new film, Sully: Miracle On The Hudson, on The Graham Norton Show, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.

The pilot who safely landed a passenger plane on New York's Hudson River was "very particular" on how Tom Hanks would portray him in a Hollywood movie about the dramatic incident, the actor has revealed.

Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger saved the lives of all 155 people on board US Airways flight 1549 after he was forced to land on water following a bird strike in 2009.

His story is now the subject of the film Sully: Miracle On The Hudson, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Hanks in the lead role.

Speaking on The Graham Norton Show, Hanks said: "Sully was very particular about how we portrayed the procedure and the emotions.

"I visited him and he said, 'Nice to meet you. Glad you were on time. Clint turned up and he was 20 minutes late'.

"Then he pulled out this dog-eared, stapled and notated script that he had read. Post-its, stapled index cards all over it - I'm sure his wife had even written 'no' across it in lipstick.

"We went through every page and every moment, every beat had been commented on. He had opinions."

Hanks said he was intimidated by Eastwood during the making of the film because of the director's softly spoken approach.

"He treats his actors like horses because when he did the '60s series Rawhide, the director would shout 'action' and all the horses bolted.

"So when he's in charge, he says in a really quiet soft voice 'all right, go ahead', and instead of shouting 'cut', he says 'that's enough of that'.

"It's intimidating as hell."

Asked what he thought about filmmaker Michael Moore's suggestion that he should run for president in 2020, Hanks said: "I'm not qualified to be the president of the Three Stooges' fan club."

The Forrest Gump actor was joined on the BBC One chat show by fellow actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gemma Arterton, as well as British Olympian Mo Farah and pop singer Olly Murs.

Gordon-Levitt, who stars as Edward Snowden in his latest movie Snowden, said he would like to see the NSA whistleblower pardoned by Barack Obama.

"Ultimately, what he did was a great service to his country and the world. Whether Obama will do it remains to be seen.

"I would love to see him pardon Snowden, especially in the current climate - it would give a strong message that we do not want to live under an authoritarian government."

:: The Graham Norton Show airs on BBC One on Friday at 10.35pm.

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