After I left Capitol Hill, I had the great fortune of working as an arts-and-entertainment writer at the Washington Times. The gig included the unfairly fun duty of writing weekly movie reviews and, occasionally, interviewing the “talent,” as directors, actors, and writers are referred to in Hollywood-publicist lingo.We always liked Hanks. Good to know he's aware of what's up. We'd like to watch his films in peace, without the annoying subtext we have with other actors. “We’re here to de-program you”?
No doubt a highlight of those six years was the 45 minutes I got to spend in the company of Tom Hanks and the writer-director brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, who were in Washington, D.C., to promote The Ladykillers, a not-terrible, but uncharacteristically flat remake of the 1955 Ealing Studios classic. (It paled in comparison to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Coens’ audacious reinvention of The Odyssey.)
Hanks’ pious center-left politics are well-known, and he promptly ribbed me mercilessly about the Times’ connection to the cult led by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. “Have you seen the reverend?” Hanks joshed. “Does he levitate in the lobby?” Hanks recalled the time he saw an ad for the Unification Church on the side of a bus in his hometown of Oakland, Calif. “If you’re really the new incarnation of Christ, would you need to take out advertisements?!”
After informing me that I would not be leaving the hotel suite--“We’re here to de-program you”--Hanks finally let up. The Coens laughed uproariously throughout (as, truthfully, did I).
Yes, indeed, we are.