Tom Hanks earned his first Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of a gay man with HIV who is discriminated against at work in Jonathan Demme’s 1993 legal drama “Philadelphia.”
Now, more than three decades later, Hanks claims that neither he nor any other straight actor could play the film’s central openly gay role. Not that Hanks thinks the shift in Hollywood’s attitude is a bad thing.
“Let’s discuss whether a straight man today could accomplish what I accomplished in “Philadelphia.” “No, and rightfully so,” Hanks told The New York Times Magazine recently.
“‘Philadelphia’s’ theme was not to be terrified. The fact that I played a gay man was one of the reasons no one was terrified of the film. Since then, we’ve come a long way, and I doubt anyone would accept a straight man playing a gay man.”
“It’s not a crime, it’s not a boohoo,” Hanks remarked, “that in the modern arena of realism, we’re going to want more of a picture.” “Do I appear to be a preacher?” “Please accept my apologies if I have caused you any inconvenience.”
A review of the drama stated, “Hanks makes it all hang together in a performance that beautifully mixes resolve, humour, perseverance, grit, energy, and extraordinary clearheadedness.
” Whatever flaws the film’s depiction of a difficult subject may have, Hanks maintains a profound human connection with the audience.”
Next up for Hanks is Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” in which he plays Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s shrewd manager.
With the picture, which had its global premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, the actor has received some of the most divided reviews of his career.
Many critics have been perplexed by Hanks’ over-the-top accent as Parker.