"Seriously, it's not true. Are you a guy that needs to be liked?" Smith asked.
"Well, I think in my younger days, I probably did. That's not necessary now!" he laughed.
"No, you don't need to be liked now?"
"No, no, no. You know, I am who I am, and I think I have a good nature, by and large. But if someone takes advantage of that good nature, well then, you know, I'm not that nice a guy."
"Do you get mad?"
"Yeah, sure. Yeah, if you get, absolutely, get mad and either work it out or write 'em off, you know? And look, one of the things you'd have to learn, there's people out there that you should write off, there are.
"I think 80 percent of the population are really great, caring people who will help you and tell you the truth. That's just the way it is. And I think 20 percent of the population are crooks and liars," he laughed. "It's just a fact. Am I wrong? What's that? That's about the math. I think that's what it is. So the truth is, the secret is, find out who the crooks and liars are."
"And stay away from them - that's how you stay so nice, you stay away from them?" Smith asked.
"I think so," Hanks said.
The people he chooses to spend time with now: His wife of 23 years - and "Larry Crowne" co-star - Rita Wilson, and his four kids (two from a previous marriage).
"I think I'm lucky that I had kids as spread out as much as I did, 'cause my son, my oldest, was born when i was 21. And my youngest is 15 now. He was born when I was 40, you know?"
What kind of dad is Hanks? "I am ... oblivious. I'm 'oblivious dad' to so much that goes on," he said. "Look, I want my kids to laugh every day, and if they're not doing it themselves, I'll try to make 'em do it. In some ways, I think that I'm an idiot who's never there when they need me, but other times, I think that I can ask the right questions and cut through a lot of nonsense and get down to just, you know, the bare essence of what their trajectory is going to be."
"Do you have that guilt that you're not there when they need you?" Smith asked.
"No, I don't, because I made a specific point to either apologize to the older kids for when I wasn't around, or specifically, to go after my kids and probably be around them more of than they want to."
At the moment, Hanks' newest baby is an aging, unemployed, scooter-riding optimist named Larry.
And if audiences find it even half as much fun as he did making it, Tom Hanks will have won again.
"I want to have a good time myself. I don't want to dread going to work no matter what the gig is," he said. "I think, selfishly, I will make sure that I have a good time, how about that? And if they don't, well - you know, tough beans."