While everyone is hoping for a speedy recovery for Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson from the coronavirus, fans can take a first look at his next film, the World War II drama Greyhound, which is scheduled to be released this summer. Inspired by actual events from the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II, Tom plays a first-time captain who leads a convoy of Ally ships carrying thousands of soldiers across the treacherous waters of the “Black Pit” to the front lines of the war. With no air cover protection for five days, the captain and his convoy must battle the surrounding enemy Nazi U-boats in order to give the allies a chance to win the war.
The film is directed by Andrew Schneider (Two Soldiers, Get Low, Into the Storm) with a script written by Tom. It’s obvious that the second world war is a topic of fascination for him. He, of course, starred in Steven Spielberg’s 1998 film Saving Private Ryan, but in addition to that, in 2001 he was deeply involved with HBO’s drama series Band of Brothers, where he had a brief role as a British officer, wrote and directed episodes and served as executive producer. That show told the story of Easy Company of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and their mission in Europe. It was accompanied by the documentary We Stand Alone Together, an on-camera oral history of Easy Company as told by the veterans themselves. Tom served as executive producer. Flash forward to 2010 and the HBO miniseries companion piece to Band of Brothers, The Pacific, which focused this time on the Marines during World War II — Tom again served as executive producer.
In looking back at Saving Private Ryan and the dramatization of World War II, Tom related to NBC’s Tom Brokaw, “What Steven wanted to do from the get-go was to use all of his magic, and all of the tools that existed in cinema as of 1997, and make a war movie that was going to break every one of the tropes, visually and cinematically, that all war movies had.” He added that the trick was to avoid telling a story that entered the area of the mythological rather than being firmly grounded. “If we ever forget that it was a bunch of individuals that went over there,” he said, “and they all had names like Ernie and Buck and Robert — that’s when we’ve done a bad job of being citizens of the world, I think.”
Greyhound is scheduled to be released to theaters on June 12.