Tom Hanks: A "Lucky Guy" in more ways than one

(CBS News) His latest acting engagement has taken Tom Hanks down a very different road, which is why Rita Braver tracked him down for some Questions and Answers:


He's become one of America's best-liked and most enduring actors, starring in dozens of films, with Oscar-winning turns for Best actor in both "Forrest Gump" and "Philadelphia."

And now, at age 56, Tom Hanks is making his first appearance in a Broadway play.

Hanks is playing Mike McAalary, a real-life reporter and columnist who bounced around the rough-and-tumble world of New York's tabloid newspapers from the 1980s through his death in 1998. The play is called "Lucky Guy."

"He was incredibly lucky," Hanks said of McAlary. "He was also incredibly stupid. He was also incredibly reckless at times. He could be lazy. He could also be forceful. He could also be the hardest working guy in the newsroom."

Tom Hanks as reporter Mike McAlary, with Michael Gaston (background), Maura Tierney and Peter Scolari, in "Lucky Guy."
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The play is by Nora Ephron, who died just this past June. She had earlier written and directed two big hits with Hanks, "Sleepless in Seattle," and "You've Got Mail."

Still, Hanks was not enthusiastic when Ephron approached him with the idea of doing what was first going to be a movie about Mike McAlary.

"No, I hated it, and I hated the guy. I hated Mike McAlary," Hanks told Braver. "I said I had seen no reason to portray a tabloid journalist in any brand of light that is flattering. I think they're all jerks and I hate 'em all, 'cause they ruin my day."

But by 2011, when Ephron had turned the story into a play, he saw it differently.

"This was about the working life of journalists, which is quite frankly different," Hanks said. "And it was in her voice, and it was with her affection for the job that I had never seen before."

"As you worked on it and it was developed and all of that, did you have any idea that [Ephron] was sick?" Braver asked.

"Nope, no," he replied. "It was only after we lost her that the question became, 'Well, do we still go on?' And there was never a question. Of course we do."

Hanks says he was touched when Mike McAlary's widow brought their children on opening night.

And the play has brought Hanks a reunion with Peter Scolari, who plays one of the reporters -- and who was his co-star in the TV sit-com "Bosom Buddies," more than 30 years ago.

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