The many talents of Tom Hanks are endless. Tom Hanks movies benefit enormously from the myriad skills of one of the best actors on the planet today. However, you probably don’t associate him with the best musicals of all time.
Hanks isn’t the most musically gifted star out there, but that hasn’t stopped him from dabbling in music for some of his best movies. After all, the piano scene is the most memorable moment from Big.
But in 2016, Hanks delivered a jaw-dropping musical number to open a movie you’ve almost certainly never seen. It’s fair to say it isn’t one of the best Tom Hanks movies, but its musical joy has to be experienced.
A Hologram for the King is a strange little drama, in which Hanks plays an American businessman who travels to Saudi Arabia in order to make a presentation to the king. It earned less than $10m at the box office, despite a budget that was reportedly three times that figure. Yikes.
The movie opens, though, with a dream sequence in which Hanks performs a spirited rendition of the Talking Heads’ ’80s hit Once in a Lifetime. It features pink explosions, animated interludes, and a choreographed dance segment.
Even now you’ve seen it, you can’t believe it, right? That is indeed a double Oscar-winner channelling a very shouty version of David Byrne and making it rain with an animated stack of cash. It’s very special indeed.
OK, so A Hologram for the King is not one of Hanks’ best drama movies. It’s odd – not in a good way – and feels strangely inconsequential. But there’s no forgetting that explosive musical number, even if it seems to have been mistakenly edited in from a different film.
For more on Hanks, read our A Man Called Otto interview with director Marc Forster. You can also find out why Shaquille O’Neal rejected one of the best Tom Hanks movies and learn about how Tom Hanks debuted in a horror movie you haven’t seen.