When most fans think of Tom Hanks' body of work, they think of his heartwarming comedies or his powerful dramatic performances, with his reputation not always being associated with gripping genre films. His new film Finch does bring with it inherent terror and unsettling situations, given that it unfolds after a cataclysmic solar event, but the insular nature of the story and his character's quest to merely accomplish one important goal offers audiences a much more human interpretation of a disastrous event, in addition to delivering the expected elements of such a genre film. Finch starts streaming on Apple TV+ on November 5th.
"All these movies haunt you and demand things of you that you're not sure that you're going to be able to summon up," Hanks shared during a press event ComicBook attended. "The fact is that the movie itself, the screenplay as written, lacked a cynicism that I think a lot of other movies like this would have. Here's what it does not have: murderous zombies, blood-thirsty bikers from hell, renegade warriors that are going to rape all the women and eat all the children. There's a lot of stuff that ... The tropes, if I dare say so, or the commonalities that an awful lot of these movies have, is different. Finch never goes into a subterranean world and battles the Eloi."
He continued, "The crux of this movie, and as I've explained it to people, and everybody goes, 'What is the science fiction movie you're doing? What is it about? The end of the world? What, you're the last guy in the planet? Who wants to see that?' I said, 'Well, it's actually about a guy who is worried about the survival of his dog. And so he builds a robot so that the dog will be taken care of for the rest..." and they go, 'Oh, well, that's adorable.' So this is not an optimistic movie at all, but it does lack a cynicism, and I think cynicism is a default option. It's coin of the realm to say that, and we pay attention to the fact that society collapsed in the movie by way of some flashbacks. But after that, it takes onto itself, I think the reality is, is that the day is what you make of it."
"And luckily, or honestly, in the course of this movie, it starts with Finch not just surviving, but surviving for the specific purpose of making sure his dog is safe, and that's not a cynical undertaking," the actor confirmed. "He doesn't think, 'Oh, I'll be able to do this fine, because we all love each other.' There's not that brand of optimism of it all. It's going to be hard work and it's going to be a hard slog, but if you have lived a life, you realize, 'Well, with a little bit of luck and some effort, not being too disappointed when life kicks me in the teeth, we should be okay, we'll pull through.'"
In Finch, a man, a robot, and a dog form an unlikely family in a powerful and moving adventure of one man's quest to ensure that his beloved canine companion will be cared for after he's gone. Tom Hanks stars as Finch, a robotics engineer and one of the few survivors of a cataclysmic solar event that has left the world a wasteland. But Finch, who has been living in an underground bunker for a decade, has built a world of his own that he shares with his dog, Goodyear. He creates a robot, played by Caleb Landry Jones, to watch over Goodyear when he no longer can. As the trio embarks on a perilous journey into a desolate American West, Finch strives to show his creation, who names himself Jeff, the joy and wonder of what it means to be alive. Their road trip is paved with both challenges and humor, as it's as difficult for Finch to goad Jeff and Goodyear to get along as it is for him to manage the dangers of the new world.
While it might be Hanks' more dramatic work that earns him critical acclaim and recognition from awards organizations, he's a man of many talents, as he went on to detail that one of his biggest professional joys is the diversity of projects he takes part in.
"Well, I started off, my first job as an actor was in rotating repertory theater, which I think is the greatest job an actor can have because there is such a variety that is demanded of you," Hanks confessed. "You don't really have to make any choices. Years ago, in 1977, in Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, we did six plays a year. And there was a comedy, and there was a history, and a tragedy, and something contemporary, and something made up. So the job of the actor was to live up to the text, the expectations of what each individual play was. When you get into films and television, those are singular decisions that you make. The job is the job, the text is the text, and there has never been a circumstance where I've thought, 'Oh, it's time to do a comedy. Oh, it's time to get serious, or it's time to do something historical.' It's always about, what does the story examine by way of the theme that it's talking about? And then how do we get there? That's just fun."
He added, "But I think in every comedy I've done, there's been some serious moments, and in every serious movie I've done, there's been some comedic moments. That's the way life is. The great pleasure of this is you start all over from square one, as soon as you say yes to a movie, and nothing you've done prior to that matters a wit outside side of whatever sort of countenance that you're carrying along into the movie in the first place. The movie's the movie. In this, yeah, it's bleak in the extreme, and yet, man, there're scenes with that dog, and there're scenes with Jeff that, what can you say? They're pleasant to watch. I think they're pleasant because it's like they're recognizably human. Otherwise, you're just playing the same, drag beat over and over and over and over and over again."
Thanks to his talent and reputation, Hanks could understandably join virtually any project he so desired, as he would go on to detail what attracts him to projects after such a powerful legacy.
"Well, look, I'm an old man now, and it's hard to get out of bed sometimes at 5:45 or 5:15 in the morning, but you can't help but do it, because at the end of the day, this is just the greatest job in the world," Hanks recalled. "There's nothing that compares to it. But whatever the movie is, it has to reflect what I think my own sense of logic is. True behavior and true procedure. Anything can happen. The logic of a movie comes and goes, establishes itself. And if you are not going to adhere to rules of behavior, and if you're not going to obey the standards of protocols and procedures, well, I don't know what I, as an audience member, would have to hang onto."
Hanks pointed out, "Every movie that I have ever seen that I've loved has prompted the question in me, what would I do in that same circumstance? Whether it's The Godfather or Halloween. What would I do under these same circumstances? If I don't know what that is because there's no logic to it, or I don't understand what the procedure of it is, well, then I'm not invested in what's going on. This movie Finch, when it came along, from the first paragraph to the last, made all the sense in the world to me, provided that I was going to be on the same page. I thought it was about something very, very specific, which is this man has no choice but to do this every single day, otherwise his dog is not going to be taken care of. That is different, and that asks for different behavior, and that asks for a different procedure than he must survive, he must kill or be killed. He must eek out enough water, or food, or beat off the bad guys, or escape from peril."
"There are all those things there, but they're recognizable," Hanks confirmed. "I don't think it's episodic in a way that just says, 'Okay, now we need an action sequence.' All the sequences tie together. It's like a good shuffle of the cards, and going from a man alone, to a man and his dog, to a man, his dog, and his robot, to this man, this dog, and this robot on the road, to a man, his dog, and his robot on the road hoping to get to the conclusion before he passes on ... I just think that's such beautiful logic that we didn't even have to think about it. We just had to agree on that's what we were shooting for."
Finch starts streaming on Apple TV+ on November 5th.
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