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“There’s a lot of reasons people do this for a living,” Tom Hanks began, speaking about industry harassment at The Hollywood Reporter‘s Actor Roundtable. “Making a movie is a life experience that can create an awful lot of joy. You can meet the person you fall in love with, you can laugh your heads off, you can make the best friend you’ve ever had, you can work with one of your heroes. That’s the good stuff that can happen on a movie,” said the actor.
“The bad stuff can happen on a movie as well,” he continued. “There’s some people that go into this business because they got off on having power. We produced a project in which someone said, ‘There’s an element of harassment that’s going on here.’ And as soon as we heard, you’ve got to jump right in. You talk to everyone, the guilds and you find out what happened.”
In addition to being a two-time Oscar winner (Philadelphia, Forest Gump), Hanks has earned numerous Emmy awards for his role as an executive producer, leading the production company Playtone.
Hanks added: “There can be that type of predatory aspect on a set because you think, ‘Well, we’re in the circus and we’re on the road, so therefore, do the rules really apply? They don’t really apply.’ There’s the other aspect of it is that, ‘Come try to get this job from me. You want me to give you a job? Come on. Come. Come prove to me that you want this job.’ That’s a sin, and that’s against the law and that is a degree of harassment and predatory behavior that goes against an assumed code of ethics.”
Hanks changed the tone of the discussion by transitioning to his latest role in Steven Spielberg’s The Post, which co-stars Meryl Streep.
“I was competing with Jason Robards in The Post because he played Ben Bradlee, and so was I. As Ben Bradlee, I mean, he owns that role from All the President’s Men. I was actually given permission to forget about [Robards’s performance] by Ben Bradlee himself,” Hanks told the Roundtable.
The full Actor Roundtable also features James Franco, John Boyega, Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell and Willem Dafoe, and airs on SundanceTV, Sunday, Jan. 28. Tune in to THR.com/roundtables for more roundtables featuring talent from the year’s top films.
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