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The career of Tom Hanks has seemed to consistently unravel like a tapestry of acting brilliance, and for several decades now, he’s stood at the peak of the cinema world as a champion of the screen. With so many varied and nuances roles, Hanks has eternally written himself into the annals of film history where his iconic status will remain untouched.
Going back to his early playful roles in the likes of Big to his earth-shattering intensity in Philadelphia and his charming effortlessness in Forrest Gump, it’s often appeared that there is no role that Hanks is incapable of performing, such is the extent of his talents. And each role is delivered with nuance and authenticity that consistently blows audiences away.
Even beyond his actual profession, Hanks seemed to have carved his name into the very fabric of American culture with his “everyman” personality and his interest in quirky hobbies like collecting typewriters. But it’s the acting that has afforded Hanks his widespread fame and popularity, and given the performances, it’s easy to see why.
While Hanks is one of those stars who has likely influenced so many that have come after him, he also has his own personal inspirations and one told of the actor who has influenced him more than any other. The actor he named is one of the all-time big players in Hollywood, having starred in several beloved masterpieces.
“Robert Duvall,” Hanks revealed in an interview with Film Comment. “Though he’s not particularly a chameleon, it took me a long time to recognize him from one movie to another. He’s not unique looking—doesn’t put a hump in his back or do much more than walk a little different.”
Duvall, like Hanks himself, is something of a silver-screen legend and possesses the very same acting brilliance as his successor. The actor’s versatility made him one of the most celebrated in Hollywood, and he has featured in some of the most acclaimed movies of all time, including Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, and To Kill a Mockingbird.
“This man keeps entire movies together, as in The Godfather pictures,” Hanks continued. “As Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird, he stood behind a door and communicated something worse than your worst nightmares. He made you feel sorry for him, too. To me, this is a film actor: a man who conveys so much without saying anything.”
The love that Tom Hanks has for Robert Duvall clearly runs deep and true. Check out Duvall in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now to see why.
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The one actor who influenced Tom Hanks more than any other