Tom Hanks book: what does Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece reveal about Hollywood actor?

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The Cast Away and Forrest Gump star says the novel acted as 'a release from the never-ending pressure' of making movies

Tom Hanks has spoken out on the reaction to his debut novel The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece which landed in stores on Tuesday (9 May). The Hollywood actor hit out at critics of the book, describing some of its reviews as "unfair".

The two-time Oscar winner swapped the green screen for a typewriter to provide his fans and audiences with an all-access ticket to experience the art behind filmmaking - all of which is inspired by his own illustrious career, which boasts major roles in the likes of Cast Away (2000), Forrest Gump (1994), Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Big (1988).

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According to the synopsis, the 448-page novel is based on a "wildly ambitious story of the making of a colossal, star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film, and the humble comic book that inspired it all.”

This is not Hanks' first venture into writing, however, with his collection of short stories called Uncommon Type published in 2017. It has sold more than 234,00 copies in the United Kingdom alone.

What has Tom Hanks said about The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece?

Speaking to the BBC, Hanks explained: "Sometimes you just have to have some other reason to spark your imagination. I wrote in between films, I wrote wherever I was, I wrote on planes, I wrote at home, I wrote on vacation, I wrote in hotel rooms, I wrote on long weekends when I wasn't working."

"I have pulled every single one of those moments of behaviour myself on a set, not everybody is at their best every single day on a motion picture set. I've had tough days trying to be a professional when my life has been falling apart in more ways than one and the requirement for me that day is to be funny, charming and loving - and it's the last way I feel."

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In the book, he refers to the actors who he describes as "cry-babies, psychological train wrecks, on-the-wagon alcoholics, off-the-wagon addicts... and more than a couple of feuds between the Talent" but refused to name any names. It covers a range of topics that have surrounded the movie industry over the years, including sexual harassment.

What have critics said about Tom Hanks' debut novel?

Tom Hanks said he can handle the negative reviews of his debut novel The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece - Credit: GettyTom Hanks said he can handle the negative reviews of his debut novel The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece - Credit: Getty
Tom Hanks said he can handle the negative reviews of his debut novel The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece - Credit: Getty | Getty

Despite the good intentions behind the book, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece has not been received well by critics.

David Sexton from The Sunday Times gave a damning verdict on Hanks' new novel, describing its premise as "Hanks mansplains movie-making". He added that the "writing is clunky throughout".

The Observer's Tim Adams also said: "[The book] captures the humdrum of Hollywood but lacks his on-screen ability to breathe life into characters."

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Meanwhile The New York Times writer Alexandra Jacobs slammed the fictional book for "sagging under a deluge of detail".

Overall, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece has received 3.9 out of 5 on Goodreads and 3 out of 4 on BookMarks Reviews.

What has Tom Hanks said about the criticism?

Regarding the criticism, Hanks told the BBC that he felt the reaction to his debut novel was "unfair" but understands that it will "live and die based on its own ability to entertain and enlighten an audience". He has been left unfazed by the negativity and says his day job as a movie star means he "can handle any criticism" and that he has become "stronger when it comes down to really being torn apart".

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