Tom Hanks Cast Himself in This Steven Spielberg Movie

The Huge Image

  • The Spielberg-Hanks partnership shines in
    Catch Me If You Can
    , showcasing Spielberg’s artistry & Hanks’ versatility.
  • Hanks surprisingly wasn’t initially thought-about for the position in
    Catch Me If You Can
    however took a danger that paid off.
  • Tom Hanks’ portrayal of FBI Agent Carl Hanratty in
    Catch Me If You Can
    showcases a departure from his regular roles.

The artistic partnership between Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks is among the most profitable collaborations within the movie trade. Having made 5 movies collectively, Spielberg and Hanks complement one another completely, as each symbolize the idealistic values of American cinema and its respective film stars, with the director as the preeminent blockbuster auteur and the actor as America’s lovable dad. They are also producing partners, co-producing the beloved HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers. Anytime Spielberg has a mission lined up, one may count on Hanks to be one in every of his first calls throughout casting. Surprisingly sufficient, Hanks was not initially thought-about to play FBI Agent Carl Hanratty in Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can. Every part modified as soon as Hanks, the megastar that he’s, proverbially solid himself within the film.

Catch Me If You Can

Barely 17 but, Frank is a talented forger who has handed as a health care provider, lawyer and pilot. FBI agent Carl turns into obsessive about monitoring down the con man, who solely revels within the pursuit.

Launch Date
December 25, 2002

141 Minutes

‘Catch Me If You Can’ is The Final Steven Spielberg Movie

Roughly taken as a right upon launch, Catch Me If You Can has now been reclaimed as one in every of Spielberg’s best films of the second half of his storied career. The movie, based mostly on the lifetime of profession con artist Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), is the truest demonstration of Spielberg as an artist. On the skin, the movie is a light-hearted romp centered round a cat-and-mouse chase between a suave trickster and a stodgy regulation enforcement agent. To its credit score, Catch Me If You Can is endlessly rewatchable, as it’s arguably Spielberg at his funniest. Beneath the wondrous innocence of the movie and Abagnale’s life is an unshakable melancholy. The movie echoes Spielberg’s recurring themes of growing up. Frank cons his means by means of life as a result of he doesn’t need to face the realities of maturity, and Spielberg’s resistance to rising up was a criticism thrown at him for many years. Like many Spielberg protagonists, Frank’s aimlessness is attributed to his unsatisfactory relationship together with his father, Frank Abagnale Sr. (Christopher Walken). Being raised by a con artist himself, Frank Jr.’s lack of transparency together with his father drives him to run away.

The B-side of Catch Me If You Can follows Carl Hanratty (Hanks), the FBI Agent heading the investigation of a sequence of fraud scams by Frank. Carl is all the time proper on Frank’s tail, however the adolescent manages to evade arrest. Frank pivots from impersonating a Pan Am pilot to a Secret Service agent, after which a health care provider. The one fixed is that he’s probably the most suave and charismatic man within the room. In different phrases, Frank Abagnale was a well-suited position for Leonardo DiCaprio, nonetheless the most well liked identify in Hollywood five years removed from Titanic. Hanks’ Carl Hanratty is the antithesis of charming. Due to his sophisticated backstory and troubled household life, the viewer’s sympathy lies with Frank. When he begins his scheme of forging Pan Am’s payroll checks, we relate to him as a noble anti-hero–a modern-day Robin Hood. Nobody desires to see Carl, a stick-in-the-mud who treats his job like menial labor, catch Frank. How might Hanks, America’s Dad and the epitome of friendliness, painting such a curmudgeon? Hanks eagerly accepted this unconventional half, even when he by no means acquired a suggestion.

Tom Hanks Requested to Play Carl Hanratty in ‘Catch Me If You Can’

In 2002, for the discharge of Catch Me If You Can, Steven Spielberg sat down with Roger Ebert. Within the interview, the director revealed that, whereas DiCaprio had been eyed as the best candidate to play Frank Abagnale, Hankswas not concerned through the movie’s early improvement. Hanks coincidentally got here throughout the script by Jeff Nathanson and took an curiosity. Understanding that Spielberg and co-producer Walter Parkes have been connected, Hanks, in accordance with Spielberg, requested Parkes, “Can I be on this film? Do you assume Steven would let me play the FBI agent? I actually know who this man is.” Hanks then ominously requested permission from Spielberg to “horn in” to the movie. The cryptic request was a coded means of asking if his presence would overshadow DiCaprio, who was bidding for credibility as a prestigious actor. When he acquired a name from Hanks asking if he might star alongside him, DiCaprio was elated. “Tom invited himself into the project in such a humble, stunning means,” Spielberg instructed Ebert.

Spielberg directing Catch Me If You Can, like how most Hollywood tales unfold, was a results of luck of circumstance. Whereas Spielberg’s lately established studio, DreamWorks, owned the rights to Abagnale’s e-book, Gore Verbinski was signed on to direct. As soon as manufacturing was delayed to adjust to the lengthy production of DiCaprio’s other project, Gangs of New York, Verbinski dropped out. One of many authentic casting decisions that caught with Catch following Verbinski’s departure was James Gandolfini, the original choice for Carl Hanratty. Ultimately, Spielberg dedicated to directing the movie himself, and Gandolfini dropped out because of scheduling conflicts brought on by The Sopranos.

How Tom Hanks’ Function in ‘Catch Me If You Can’ Differs From His Earlier Work

Tom Hanks in Catch Me If You Can
Picture through DreamWorks 

On paper, Tom Hanks in 2002 was not a first-rate candidate to play Carl Hanratty, a comparatively thankless position. In comparison with his roles because the valiant WWII captain in Saving Private Ryan, the lovably hapless, Charlie Chaplin-esque estranged immigrant in The Terminal, or the Chilly Warfare-era lawyer negotiating the discharge of a CIA agent in Bridge of Spies, this Spielberg movie requires an alteration in his display persona. By way of Spielberg’s tender route and DiCaprio’s easy grandeur, the viewers by no means associates Frank Abagnale’s crimes with nefariousness. Contextually talking, Carl isn’t a regulation enforcement officer upholding the regulation, he’s a bully badgering this lonely and disillusioned younger man discovering his means in life. Regardless of the inherent drawbacks to 1’s stardom, Hanks refused to coast on his laurels. He wanted riskier elements that subverted his avuncular picture as he aged into his 50s and 60s. In the identical 12 months as Catch Me If You Can, Hanks performed a Prohibition-era mob enforcer in Road to Perdition. Taking part in Carl Hanratty allowed Hanks to deploy a definite accent, a Boston one on this case. Anybody who has seen his peculiar flip as Colonel Tom Parker in Elvis can verify that Hanks likes to mess around with accents today.

This isn’t to recommend that Tom Hanks performed the foundation of all evil in Catch Me If You Can. Moderately, the actor became inconspicuous for the first time. Steven Spielberg cited Hanks’ work as his first position the place he has “made a meal of anonymity… He does not steal any scenes; he is not attempting to out-act anyone. He is simply attempting to play this pencil pusher whose personal FBI brokers do not consider all this effort is definitely worth the hassle he is going by means of.” Although he does not get to woo stunning ladies or bask in a lifetime of luxuries below a faux id like DiCaprio’s Frank Abagnale, Hanks flavors his unassuming position with humanism. We study that, just like Frank, Carl is lonely, working within the workplace on Christmas Eve. He subconsciously identifies Frank as a surrogate son. With this character improvement, Catch Me If You Can evolves from a rollicking con artist comedy to a Spielbergian melodrama in regards to the eager for household. This could’ve been tough to execute with out Tom Hanks, and his braveness to solid himself within the movie.

Catch Me If You Can is accessible to look at on Paramount+ within the U.S.

Watch on Paramount+

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