By Thomas Fredericksen
April 3, 2006 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Last week we published Tom Hanks And HBO - Tag Team Mormon Bashing in BIG LOVE in an effort to explore Mr. Hanks' recent movement towards leftist culture warrior.
Hanks has maintained an intentionally low profile regarding his political leanings - no Sean Penn or Alec Baldwin here. Similarly, Hanks' handlers have done a stellar job of packaging the star up to this point, so good a job in fact that his recent self-outing is still difficult to reconcile with his heretofore public image.
Follow The Money
Both Tom and his wife Rita Wilson have contributed a substantial amount of money to political candidates, only Democrat candidates.
According to Federal Election Commission [FEC] Hanks and Wilson, have been heavily involved Hollywood's efforts to subsidize the left.
Rita Wilson's Federally reportable contributions - Rita Wilson
Hanks' Federally reportable contributions - Tom Hanks
Totals - Rita Wilson - $34,500 & hubby Tom $17,000 to political campaigns where Federal reporting is mandated - $51,500 in combined contributions.
Even by Hollywood standards the above represents considerable financial support. By way of contrast, stridently left-leaning Barbara Streisand has contributed only about $38,000 over the same period, to essentially the same candidates.
Hanks has done a very good job of keeping this political activism under the radar.
Hanks has never hidden from the fact he is a Democrat, but he has previously been more comfortable working behind the scenes, rather than fronting for causes.
In 1993, he told the New York Times:
"I don't feel that anybody is influenced in any wayby the fact that a public figure on the show-business level embraces any sort of political cause."Hanks' choice of such vehicles as his HBO series "Big Love," and the upcoming anti-Catholic movie the "Da Vinci Code," proves that he either never, or that he no longer feels this way. In any regard he obviously now feels that Hollywood does indeed have a strong and visible effect on modern culture and in the shaping of public opinion.
The "why" is more difficult to ascertain, some speculate that it was the blossoming friendship between his wife - Rita Wilson - and that of Stephen Spielberg - Kate Capshaw, bringing the two husbands closer together.
Overtly political statements made by Hanks are hard to come by, but they do exist.
"...and [Spielberg] can't wait to see Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, a scathing attack on President Bush and his war on terrorism, which he predicts will make $100 million. Hanks echoes his enthusiasm: "I want Michael Moore to have my seven bucks for that movie." - USA Today
Perhaps one reason that Hanks has joined the leftist attack on traditional American culture, from the same USA Today interview:
"We're all in this together. We live in a land in which tolerance is our great strength, diversity is what our country is built on, and we all need to cut each other some slack. We have to respect what other people say, even if we disagree with it. I can do that much better as an actor or a producer. I'd much rather be able to carve that out of popular culture as opposed to becoming yet another cog in the polarized 24-hour wheel of news."
More To Come, A Publicist's Nightmare
For a couple of years there has been trouble a-brewing for Hanks' All-American image as a result of his efforts to bring Dan Brown's anti-Catholic screed, the Da Vinci Code to the screen, and that was well before "Big Love" was in the works.
The restrained criticism of Hanks over the anti-Mormon "Big Love" HBO series, it is nothing compared to what is in store for him when the Da Vinci Code debuts on May 19.
But there is more to come...Hanks and his Playtone Pictures partner Gary Goetzman have other offerings planned..."Charlie Wilson's War," a deal he entered into in 2005.
This film is based upon the book "Charlie Wilson's War," a lunatic work of fiction written by 60 Minutes producer George Crile who posits that it was Texas Democrat Representative Charlie Wilson who defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan, not Ronald Wilson Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and the Central Intelligence Agency.
The screenplay for Charlie Wilson's War is being done by "West Wing's" Aaron Sorkin, with Hanks cast in the starring role and lefty George Clooney's pal Julia Roberts [no surprise] as the love interest.
When novels with controversial themes get the Hollywood treatment only the naive bet that the screenplay will closely follow the book's theme - witness Tom Clancy's "Sum of all Fears" - but it stretches credulity to assume that Charlie Wilson - under Sorkin's deft blue inked pen - will be portrayed as an American flag lapel-pin wearing disciple of Ronald Reagan.
Whether or not Mr. Sorkin has retained the services of Mary Mapes as a fact checker for this film is undetermined as we go to press.
The other project Hanks has in the works is as yet untitled, centering on the life of Dean Reed [Dean Cyril Reed], a project he has been pursuing since at least 2001. Still residing in Germany, Egan Bloom, Reed's widow has granted permission for Hanks to create the project around the character.
Reed was a minor American singer and later a film maker who spent the last fifteen years of his life split between Argentina and East Germany. Deported from Argentina in 1966 for his political agitation, he settled in worker's paradise of East Germany where he continued to produce films that were quite popular in the Eastern Bloc.
Reed was an admirer of the Soviet Union, he approved of the Berlin Wall and supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He died in 1986, prior to the fall of the Wall.
Reed however lives on in the form of the "Dean Reed Peace Prize Essay Contest," which is open to all undergrads at [Ward Churchill's bully-pulpit] the University of Colorado at Boulder.
This year's topic is, "Information Overload: Finding Answers About Iraq," the prize a cool $1,000.
So there you have it...Mormon bashing - Big Love...Catholic bashing - Da Vinci Code...a Dan Rather retelling of the Cold War - Charlie Wilson's War and finally, in praise of Stalinists - the Dean Reed story.
All of this in the space of a few years.
Where has the Tom Hanks gone who brought us Big, Forest Gump and Saving Private Ryan?
He's gone for good, and along with him an icon who perished by his own hand.