Tom Hanks Talks U.S. Response To COVID-19, ‘Greyhound’ Release On Apple TV+

Tom Hanks didn’t name names, but decried the U.S. response to COVID-19 during a 10-minute appearance on Today on Tuesday. (Watch video clips below.)

“There’s a darkness on the edge of town here, folks,” he said. “Let’s not confuse the fact. It’s killing people. … You can say, ‘Well, traffic accidents kill a lot of people too.’ But traffic accidents happen because a lot of drivers aren’t doing their part. They’re not using their turn signals. They’re driving too fast, they’re not paying attention.”

Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-March, a development that drove home the ubiquity of the virus at a time when it seemed like an abstraction. While the couple recovered and don’t have lingering effects, Hanks said the state of affairs in the U.S. is not especially encouraging, though he did not go after individual political leaders or institutions. Rather, he described the letdown as societal.

“The idea of doing one’s part should be so simple,” he said. “It’s such a small thing. … It’s a mystery to me how somehow that has been wiped out of what should be ingrained in us all.”

The actor, who turns 64 on Thursday, has been promoting Greyhound, the World War II submarine movie he wrote and stars in, which will premiere Friday on Apple TV+. (Sony, which had initially planned a June release for the film, struck a deal in May to move it to Apple.) Asked about the experience of opening a movie online rather than movie theaters, Hanks winked at Apple as a “benevolent streaming service” but then made a sincere case for streaming. “It’s going to be available. It’s going to be viewable,” he said. “Otherwise, we would have languished in a vault.”

The WWII era depicted in the film offers lessons for today, Hanks said. “There was a sensibility then that permeated society, which was: ‘Do your part,’” Hanks said. “There was a tiny bit of stuff that you could do to aid the effort.” During the war, “They didn’t know when it was going to come to an end, and we don’t know what’s going to happen with COVID-19.”

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