Tom Hanks says his film USS Greyhound – The Battle of the Atlantic can be a lesson for spectators on how to behave in the face of adversity.
Tom Hanks is heartbroken that his new war film is not being released in cinemas because of the pandemic, but he is hopeful that it can serve as a lesson to viewers on how to behave in the face of adversity, even if it’s a virus.
USS Greyhound – The Battle of the Atlantic, aired on Apple TV + from July 10, was written by Tom Hanks, who plays the role of a captain escorting a convoy of Allied ships in their crossing of the North Atlantic, foamed by German submarines during the Second World War. The film follows the novices making up the crew on this terrifying journey, faced with the dual responsibility of watching over the convoy and their own comrades.
“These guys on the ship … all they can do is what is expected of them, and hope that a mixture of providence and luck will get them through,” summed up l actor at a virtual press conference. “The Covid-19, nobody knows how long it will last, nobody knows who will die … no need to look very far to see the correlations and resemblances to the war years.”
Tom Hanks is paid to find out: in March, he became the first Hollywood star to get the new coronavirus, while he was in Australia to start making a film about Elvis Presley. The star can not help being outraged by comparing the simple gestures sufficient to protect themselves from the virus – keep their distance and wear a mask – with the German torpedoes and the icy ocean that the sailors of the time.
“If someone is not able to practice these basic things, they should be ashamed of themselves,” says Tom Hanks. “Don’t do the wimps. Go ahead, do your part of the job. It’s very, very simple.”
Passionate about history, Tom Hanks found inspiration for his screenplay in a novel by CS Forester, Shepherds on the sea (1955). It will have taken him seven years of work from the time he discovered a used copy. The original cover showed a gray, scruffy man in a wind-beaten uniform, Commander Ernie Krause, who he plays in Greyhound. Seeing this character, “I thought: this man is exhausted, this man has gone through hell,” recalls Tom Hanks.
For the filming of Greyhound, director Aaron Schneider had a set based on the building USS Kidd, the only American destroyer of the Second World War still existing today in its original configuration. For more authenticity, some interior scenes were filmed on board the warship, which survived an attack by suicide bombers in 1945 and is now moored in Louisiana, where it acts as a museum.
Unfortunately, viewers will not be able to enjoy all of these details on the big screen as the film will not be released in theaters. Because of the prolonged pandemic, especially in the United States, the producers decided not to wait, especially since dozens of other big budget films are in the starting blocks for this winter or the year next. Sony therefore preferred to sell Greyhound exclusively to Apple for its video on demand service.
“We are all heartbroken that this film will not be released in theaters,” said Tom Hanks, saying that we had to face the reality of the pandemic. “Just like (the commander) Ernie Krause in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, who wonders how he will survive and do his job, if he will survive, we are all in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, which is five times bigger than we expected. And we don’t know how, and if, we’re going to get out, and who’s going to be able to join us on the other side. ”