Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are two highly respected icons in the world of film. Over the years, Spielberg and Hanks have developed strong working relationships and deep mutual respect. Their respective collaborations are often seen as the mastery of storytelling and the epitome of cinematic excellence.
Some of the best movies were born from their enigmatic partnerships and could par with notable pairs like DiCaprio-Scorsese and Depp-Burton. The movie, Saving Private Ryan is often regarded as their best work so far; however, according to Spielberg, it wasn’t the film that convinced him of the star’s caliber.
Steven Spielberg caught the eyes of Tom Hanks in a forgotten 80’s show
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have delivered some wonderful films over the years. When Spielberg cast Hanks in his 1998 war movie, Hanks had already established himself as a notable star at the time. So, it’s certain that Spielberg must have realized the actor way before their first hit.
Spielberg, who saw Hanks’ versatility and acting brilliance early on, formally witnessed his charms on a forgotten ’80s sitcom Bosom Buddies. “I was a big fan of Tom in Bosom Buddies,” Spielberg told FlavourMag.
“He also did a movie in Israel that I liked a lot [Every Time We Say Goodbye] and then Volunteers with Rita Wilson. So I was really acquainted with his work before we did The Money Pit [on which Spielberg was exec producer].”
Bosom Buddies is an American sitcom that originally aired from 1980 to 1982. Created by Chris Thompson and starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari, it tells of story of two best friends who find themselves in a crisis when their apartment building is converted into a woman-only residence.
Bosom Buddies was Tom Hanks’ breakthrough where the actor could showcase his comedic talent. While the series garnered a dedicated fan base, it was unfortunately canceled after two seasons due to modest ratings.
Steven Spielberg recognized Tom Hanks’s natural talent
It turns out that Spielberg was one of the dedicated fans of the show and who already making his name as one of the best directors through Jaws and Close Encounter of the Third Kind during that time.
It was Bosom Buddies that first alerted his attention to Tom Hanks’s craving down his path to becoming the future leading star of cinema. Spielberg further says that when he saw Hanks on the show, he was struck by his ability to make acting seem completely natural and raw.
“The first thing I noticed about Tom is that I never caught him acting. He said the lines as if there was no script, there was no director, no lights and he was just talking to me.”
When Hanks delivered his line, Spielberg felt there was no script or instructions from the director; he saw Hanks having a genuine conversation, unaware that he was on a film set.
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks partner up for more historical ventures
Surprisingly after noticing Hanks in the sitcom, Spielberg went to make their first movie with Hanks ‘serving as an executive producer for The Money Pit in 1986 and Joe Versus the Volcano in 1990.
Spielberg and Hanks then created several notable movies that particularly focused on historical and wartime themes, like Saving Private Ryan, which stars Tom Hanks as Captain Miller, who leads the mission to bring back Pirate James Francis Ryan during WWII. Later they teamed up in the popular Miniseries Band of Brothers in 2001.
In 2002’s Catch Me If You Can, which tells the story of Frank Abagnale, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, Hanks plays the character of the FBI agent, Carl Hanratty. The Terminal in 2004 was another significant work. Following, 2015’s historical drama based on the events of the Cold War was captured in Bridge of Spies, with Hanks in the lead role of James B. Donovan.
Their final collaboration was seen in 2017 at The Post, where Hanks played the role of Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington Post. The actor and director received critical acclaim and numerous awards for most of their joint ventures, solidifying them as one of the most successful director-actor partnerships in Hollywood.