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Tom Hanks is diving into the world of motion pictures in his new novel.
In The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece (Knopf), the Academy Award winner writes about the process of bringing a motion picture from the page to the screen through a group of characters. The story first takes place in 1947 when a soldier returning from war meets his 5-year-old nephew and then disappears for 23 years. Fast forward to 1970 and the nephew, a comic book artist, reconnects with his uncle, even drawing a comic version of him as a World War II hero.
“Cut to the present day: A commercially successful director discovers the 1970 comic book and decides to turn it into a contemporary superhero movie. Cue the cast: We meet the film’s extremely difficult male star, his wonderful leading lady, the eccentric writer/director, the producer, the gofer production assistant, and everyone else on both sides of the camera,” the publisher describes of the novel.
Though the novel is a work of fiction, Hanks found inspiration from his experiences on his extensive resume of films including Splash.
To help bring his story to life, Hanks enlisted a myraid of stars to lend their voices to the audiobook production of the novel from Penguin Random House Audio including Peter Gerety, Natalie Morales, Ego Nwodim, Nasim Pedrad, Connor Ratliff, Holland Taylor and Rita Wilson (who is also Hanks’ wife).
Gerety will portray Kenny Sheprock, Morales as Ynez Gonzalez-Cruz, Nwodim as Al Mac-Teer Pedrad as Wren Lane, Ratliff as Ike Clipper and Taylor as Dace Mills.
Wilson will take on the role of Dr. Patrice Johnson, while Hanks will also narrate.
Additional parts are played by Frankie Corzo, Hillary Huber, David Lee Huynh, Sean Patrick Hopkins, JD Jackson, January Lavoy and Oliver Wyman.
The audiobook was produced and directed by Karen Dziekonski and edited by Lauren Klein. It was edited, mixed and mastered by Heather Scott and Ted Scott of 50 Nugget Wash Productions.
Below, The Hollywood Reporter shares a first listen of an audiobook excerpt narrated by Hanks and Taylor along with the accompanying text.
Oh, Dace! Let’s meet tonight for margaritas at El Cholo!
Al thought of the woman every single day, hoping, wishing, that every incoming call would be Dace needing her. Over the years that COVID-19 wreaked its wanton havoc, she pondered what Dace would have made of the lockdowns, closures, and cancellations that had stopped traffic on Fountain Avenue, shuttering the cinemas. Streaming services such as the Hawkeye and its competitors had become the arbiters of what films were financed, which movies were seen, and how the audience viewed them. Seeing movies at home turned out to be not that bad.
“Al-bania,” Dace would have said. “It’s the death of vaudeville writ large.” She’d learned what was what on Fountain Avenue.
Years before, Candace “Candy” Mills had been working for her widowed father at Mills Office Equipment in the city of Orange, California, her hometown. After the era of one-thousand-key adding machines, then the ten-key desk calculators, Amos Mills sold and serviced copiers and printers all over Orange, the county. Because of the income stream from toner cartridges alone, the shop was never idle nor broke. Printers and copiers jammed and froze up all the time, and when they did, Mills Office Equipment was there. Her father also had a sideline restoring old typewriters. In the back room there were vintage writing machines in various states of disrepair, and on the shelves were Royals, Underwoods, Remingtons, Hermes, Olivettis, all in working order. Occasionally, some got sold.
One day, Amos Mills was out on a call so his daughter was minding the store when a beat-up Ranchero—one of those half-car, half-pickup-truck vehicles, loaded down with all sorts of tools in the back—pulled into the metered slot in front of the shop. The driver, a lanky, skinny guy in worn work clothes, dirty with sawdust and dried putty, came through the door asking about the typewriters in the window and up on the shelves. Were they for sale? “For those in need,” Candy Mills told him.
“Any one of them better than the other?” the guy asked.
“Let me see your hands,” Candy said. He held his up. They were the gnarled and skinned hands of a man who worked with hammers and scrapers and putty knives for a living. “Spread your fingers.” He did. He had long fingers, like those of a pianist who could cover an entire octave with no strain. “You have long fingers. So …”
“So, I need a big typewriter.”
“You don’t need a typewriter at all.”
Computers and word processors had been getting cheaper by the week. “No one does, except maybe for addressing envelopes.”
“I’m looking for a mechanical muse. An inspirational tool.”
Candy looked out the window at the parked Ranchero, at the motley collection of tools, tarps, and hardware this guy was driving around with. “You going to just chuck it in the back with your power sander and saber saw?”
“No. I’ll wrap it up in fine linen and treat it gently. Depending on how much it sets me back.” He waved his long-fingered hand at the wall of typewriters. “What will one of these set me back?”
“Oh, those are all gems. Collector’s items. Rarities. As much as sixty bucks.”
He laughed. “I’ve been saving up for a new old typewriter.”
He went to the shelves and read off the brand names of some of the machines—none made earlier than 1961.
“Do I invest in a Voss? An Adler? This little cutie—the Hermes Rocket?”
“With those big mitts of yours? That Rocket will bring you to tears. Tell you what…”
Candy came out from behind the counter rolling a wheeled chair. She pushed it to a low table that had an HP printer on it, which she picked up and set on top of another nearby HP printer.
“Here’s paper. Grab that Remington Noiseless. Sit here and write on it. Take it on a test drive. Switch out machines until one sings your song. What’s your name and do you want a cup of horrible coffee?”
“Bill Johnson and yes. What should I call you?”
“Candy. Short for Candace.”
“No, it’s not. Still two syllables.”
Audio excerpted courtesy Penguin Random House Audio from THE MAKING OF ANOTHER MAJOR MOTION PICTURE MASTERPIECE by Tom Hanks, excerpt read by Tom Hanks and Holland Taylor.
The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece releases on May 9.
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