Tom Hanks Opens Up About One of the Biggest Flops of His Career

by Allison Hambrick

Iconic actor Tom Hanks is certified box office gold. If he’s cast in a film, it’s guaranteed to be a hit. However, this wasn’t always the case. After the releases of Big and Splash, Hanks was on Hollywood’s radar, but he hadn’t reached the height of his fame yet.

In fact, the Forrest Gump star didn’t yet have the reputation to withstand a flop. As a result, he was hesitant to take on the role of a Wall Street bond trader in The Bonfire of the Vanities.

“When we were making it, that movie was huge,” Hanks revealed in an interview. “We couldn’t make a move anywhere in New York City. Everybody was talking about it. Everybody was miscast, me particularly. … Brian De Palma deals with iconography more than filmmaking. He is the most uncompromising filmmaker — both in a good way and a bad way — that you’ll ever come across. This is the guy who made Scarface. So his take on it was just one of those things.”

Tom Hanks Weighs In on Poor Casting

The Bonfire of the Vanities was based on the satirical novel of the same name by Tom Wolfe. Hanks believes that the success of the novel actually hindered that of the film. Adapting such an overnight hit is already difficult, but poor casting decisions doomed the production from the start. Hanks himself said he was miscast as Sherman McCoy, a self-proclaimed “Master of the Universe” on Wall Street whose life falls apart after he’s involved in a hit-and-run. While McCoy is a villainous figure, Hanks is known for his likability.

“You can’t take a book like Tom Wolfe’s that has changed the way people talk and think and change it into a palatable movie, or alter the thrust of what the source material is talking about. It may not translate in a way that is going to work.”

As a result, the film became a punchline for years to come. Bonfire of the Vanities was a synonym for a disappointing movie failure. Thankfully, Hanks somehow survived the debacle unscathed. The actor is, of course, an icon, America’s dad. What could have been a career-ender is only a footnote in his career.

Tom Hanks Welcomes Paul Rudd into SNL Five-Timers Club

Among his many accolades, Hanks belongs to one of the most exclusive clubs in the comedy industry. He famously joined the “Five-Timers Club” in 1990. This club is reserved for those who have hosted Saturday Night Live five or more times. Since then, a number of other actors have joined including John Goodman, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, and Melissa McCarthy.

Earlier this month, Paul Rudd hosted for his fifth time. Sadly, due to the Omicron variant, the audience was not at full capacity. Additionally, most of the cast did not participate in the broadcast–only Kenan Thompson and Michael Che participated. Hanks, however, returned alongside Fey to induct Rudd into the club.

While the show was unusual, Hanks stepped in to help Rudd, a pretty classy move from a national treasure.