Tom Hanks said Tuesday that Apple TV+ “saved the day” by releasing his new World War II movie during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the actor couldn’t say enough good things about Apple when he hit The Today Show to promo Greyhound, which debuts on Apple TV+ this Friday.
All the happy talk came a day after Hanks made headlines for calling Greyhound’s upcoming streaming debut an “absolute heartbreak.”
“I’m actually thrilled that Apple TV is making it possible for everybody to see it not only worldwide, as long as you have Apple television, but also the day after my 64th birthday,” Hanks said. “Thank you. Thank you very much. This is a magnificent gift that’s come to us because of Apple, because the COVID-19 did something heartbreaking to us all. They closed down the theaters. We don’t have the cinema.”
Hanks went on to laud Apple TV+ as “a benevolent streaming service in every way” and promised Greyhound will “look fantastic” when viewed in subscribers’ homes. He even called the $4.99 monthly subscription for Apple TV+ a “magnificent deal.”
Apple TV+ and Hollywood distribution
The effusive praise followed publication of an interview with Hanks in The Guardian. In that story, Hanks lamented Greyhound’s release on Apple TV+. He also cracked wise to the Guardian about the “cruel whipmasters at Apple” who had him record that interview in front of a blank white screen instead of a crowded bookshelf. (In the Today Show interview, Hanks talks in front of a bookshelf stocked with titles. He even reads a bit of a Dr. Seuss classic as the chat ends. “You can buy Green Eggs and Ham on Apple books, I’m sure,” Hanks said.)
Even though Hanks joked about bowing to his “Apple overlords” in the first interview, it seemed pretty clear what he was talking about. The heartbreaking part of the Greyhound release was the utter devastation wreaked by COVID-19 on cinemas around the world.
With theaters shuttered, Hollywood accelerated its experiments with streaming distribution models. Several blockbusters previously scheduled for theatrical release instead will debut on streaming services as film industry deals with the new normal. Apple TV+, although far behind established competitors like Netflix and upstarts like Disney+, continues to snap up hot properties and sign Hollywood creatives to development deals.
Tom Hanks and COVID-19
The Today Show chat started with a lot of talk about Hanks and his wife’s battle with COVID-19. They were the first big celebrities to come down with the disease. After recovering from the illness, they became outspoken advocates of employing common-sense methods to battle the disease. Hanks frequently talks up wearing masks, washing your hands, and maintaining a proper social distance.
The actor also waxed nostalgic about the lost cinematic experience due to the pandemic.
“There isn’t anybody that doesn’t like going to see a good movie with 800 other people and coming out with something in common,” he said, making an unintentional joke about a nightmare COVID-19 superspreader scenario. “Barring that, Apple television has saved the day for us. We had a magnificent movie that was not going to be seen.”
Apple paid a reported $70 million for the rights to Greyhound.
Greyhound is a WWII movie for our times
Hanks, who wrote the Greyhound screenplay based on C.S. Forester’s 1955 nautical novel The Good Shepherd, said the movie rings true during a pandemic.
“It’s 88 minutes of a thematic story that really does speak to what we’re all going through right now,” he said. “We didn’t know that at the time we made the film. We were just trying to make a lean, spare, new version of procedures and behaviors about how difficult it was to stay alive in the middle of the North Atlantic in 1942.”
“We are going to be able to fill up the screens and living rooms and the beanbag chairs of the world, all in one fell shot,” he said. “So we feel as though we were rescued at sea by a convoy with a big Apple logo with a bite taken out of it.”
You can watch the full video at the link below.
Source: The Today Show