Well, here’s something you don’t see often during Q&As with actors promoting their new movies! Tom Hanks, star of Clint Eastwood’s excellent new drama Sully, stopped his own Q&A at the Telluride Film Festival this morning to heap lavish praise on someone else’s movie. The unexpected plug for La La Land was sure to upset Warner Bros, distributor of Sully, Hanks quipped in his inimitable joking manner.
The two-time Oscar winner had been in the first Telluride audience yesterday afternoon to see the new Lionsgate/Summit musical from Damien Chazelle. After Eastwood spoke during the Sully event this morning about wanting to do original kinds of movies, Hanks interjected his praise for La La, another Telluride film fighting for attention.
Said Hanks, “I like to think we approach movies the same way we approach being members of the audience in that you just want to see something you have never seen before. It’s funny. Who saw La La Land yesterday?” Many answered in the affirmative by their applause.
“When you see something that is brand new, that you can’t imagine, and you think ‘well thank God this landed’, because I think a movie like La La Land would be anethema to studios. Number one, it is a musical and no one knows the songs.”
After joking that Warner Bros. brass would be thrilled with his plugging another movie, Hanks continued his praise for La La: “This is not a movie that falls into some sort of trend. I think it is going to be a test of the broader national audience, because it has none of the things that major studios want. Pre-Awareness is a big thing they want, which is why a lot of remakes are going on. (La La) is not a sequel, nobody knows who the characters are…But if the audience doesn’t go and embrace something as wonderful as this then we are all doomed.”
He continued: “We all understand the business aspects of it. It’s cruel and it’s backbreaking and take-no-prisoners. But there’s always that chance where the audience sees something that is brand new, that they never expected, and embraces it, and celebrates it. We might be in the luxurious position that we can say we don’t have to pay attention to the trends, but there are other people whose parking spaces with their names on them are paid to follow these trends. I don’t take anything away from them and there are some good movies that come out of that. But we all go to the cinema for the same thing, that is to be transported to someplace we have never been before.”
Eastwood then piped in saying he had not yet seen the picture to which Hanks was referring but wondered how many “turndowns” they got before someone financed it. The fact is that Chazelle couldn’t get La La Land made for years and finally wrote Whiplash, an easier concept to sell and a less risky investment, in order to get the kind of calling card he needed for his dream musical.
At any rate Lionsgate has great quotes from none other than Tom Hanks for their La La Land ads now. Maybe Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone can return the favor for Sully.