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Tom Hanks found Clint Eastwood “intimidating” on Sully set

Tom Hanks said he was intimidated by Clint Eastwood on the set of 2016's Sully, who speaks to his actors in a 'really quiet soft voice.'

Tom Hanks in Sully

You would imagine that for an acting legend such as Tom Hanks, who has been working consistently since 1980, nothing could phase him and he couldn’t possibly get star-struck with other actors or directors. However, when he worked with director Clint Eastwood on the movie based on a true story – Sully – he described him as “intimidating.”

Sully is based on the true story of Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed a commercial plane on New York’s Hudson river after a bird strike. Speaking on the Graham Norton Show in 2016, Hanks said; “You certainly don’t want one of those Eastwood looks. He treats his actors like horses because when he did the ’60s series Rawhide, the director would shout ‘Action!’ and all the horses bolted.”

“So when he’s in charge he says in a really quiet soft voice, ‘All right, go ahead,’ and instead of shouting ‘Cut!’ he says ‘That’s enough of that.’ It’s intimidating as hell!” Hanks has of course worked with Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Paul Greengrass, the Wachowskis, Sam Mendes, Robert Zemeckis, Jonathan Demme, and Penny Marshall – among many other respected directors.

Eastwood wasn’t the only one who had exacting standards. The real life Chesley Sullenberger also had many notes to offer on how he was portrayed, according to Hanks; “I’ll just say this, I visited him and he said, ‘Nice to meet you, glad you were on time. Clint turned up and he was 20 minutes late.'”

He continued; “Then he pulled out this dog-eared, stapled and notated script that he had read. Post-its, stapled index cards all over it – I’m sure his wife had even written ‘No’ across it in lipstick! We went through every page and every moment, every beat had been commented on. He had opinions.”

Tom Hanks can currently be seen playing Colonel Tom Parker in Elvis, directed by Baz Luhrmann. Clint Eastwood is now over 90 years old, but he directed a movie – Cry Macho – as recently as 2021.

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