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Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks’ experiences in Hollywood are the inspiration for his charming novel, “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece” (Knopf), about the adventures that go into the creation of a film.
Read an excerpt below.
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One night on location, after another long, hard, yet average day of shooting, over YouGo FroYo, Bill told me, “Journalists—the lazy ones anyway—always try to explain how movies are made, as though there’s a secret formula that we’ve patented, or procedures that are listed like a flight plan for a voyage to the moon and back. How did you come up with the girl in the brown polka-dot dress who could whistle so loud? When did you first imagine that last, indelible image of those blackbirds on the TV aerial, and where did you find trained blackbirds? Why, they ask, did this film succeed when this other film went flat? Why did you make Bonkers A-Go-Go instead of Moochie Spills the Beans? That’s when I look at my watch and say, ‘Hot damn! I’m late for that marketing meeting’ and bolt the interview. Those people look at the Northern Lights as having been designed. If they saw how we movie-orphans do our job, they’d be bored silly and very disappointed.”
I never got bored. Disappointment? While hanging around for the making of a motion picture? A fig!
There is always a good conversation to be had on a movie set, around the Production Office, and during the Postproduction process because most of moviemaking is spent waiting. The question How’d you get started in this racket? prompts hours of very personal, improbable stories, each saga worth a book of its own.
When I said this to Al, the subject came up about writing a book to explain the making of movies through my time on the movie. I was going to bear witness to so much of the creativity, friction, surface tension, and balls-out fun on the project, what if I were to write about it all and, well, publish a book? Would her boss be enraged by that idea? Chuck me off the set?
“Oh, Cowboy,” she said. “Why do you think you are here?”
Excerpted from “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece” by Tom Hanks. Copyright © 2023 by Tom Hanks. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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