T.Hanks For The Biopics: Tom Hanks Loves to Play Real People


Tom Hanks is one of the most famous people in Hollywood and won multiple awards and is beloved by pretty much everyone. But he’s really been hiding under the clothing of a ton of other REAL people. He has 3 biopics coming up, 7 times he’s been in movies about real people, and then 5 more times his characters were based on real people for a total of 15 people who have the pleasure of getting portrayed by Tom Hanks. Is Tom Hanks a great actor? Or some crazy shape shifter trying to take on the form of other people. You decide.


In The Garden of Beasts.  Tom’s rumored to be playing William Dodd, an American historian, author and diplomat. A liberal Democrat, he served as the United States Ambassador to Germany from 1933 to 1937 during the Nazi era.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. He will be playing Fred Rodgers aka Mr. Rodgers, one of the most famous people in pop culture history and the host of Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.

Untitled Elvis Presley Biopic. He may be playing Colonel Tom Parker in an upcoming biopic about Elvis Presley.



Charlie Wilson in Charlie Wilson’s War.  In this Hanks plays Charlie Wilson, the title character, Wilson was a U.S. Congressman whose efforts led to Operation Cyclone, a program to organize and support the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet–Afghan War. This movie could have been called “Charlie Wilson’s Lunch” and Hanks would have signed up just to play a real person.

Jim Lovell in Apollo 13. In this ensemble film Hanks plays the lead roll of Jim Lovell, whose book the film was based on. Lovell was an astronaut apart of the United State’s third moon landing that dealt with an on-board explosion where they lost most of the oxygen supply and electric power. Houston we have another biopic.

James B. Donovan in Bridge of Spies. The film tells the story of lawyer James B. Donovan ANOTHER real life person who Tom Hanks was best fit to portray in a movie. Donavan was entrusted with negotiating the release of Francis Gary Powers—a U.S. Air Force pilot whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960—in exchange for Rudolf Abel, a convicted Soviet KGB spy held under the custody of the United States, whom he represented at trial. He told Spielberg they needed to make up for Saving Private Ryan not being based on a real person.

Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. In this pro Disney Propaganda piece, Tom Hanks puts on a thing mustache and plays Walt Disney. The movie is about Marry Poppins author PL Travers meeting with Disney as he attempts to get the movie rights to her book. The movie makes it seem like they were friends and everyone left happy when in reality Disney barely interacted with her and she hated the movie. You know this one was bullshit because Hanks didn’t throw in ANY Disney anti-semitism.

Captain Richard Phillips in Captain Phillips. This movie is about the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking in which merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage by pirates and who played Captain Phillips? YOU GUESSED IT! Tom Hanks! He stared the real Captain Phillips in the eyes and said “I’m The Captain Phillips Now”.

Chesley Sullenberger in Sully.  Another time Hanks played a real life person who was also the movie’s title, Hanks played the famous pilot Chelsey Sullenberger who landed a plane in the Hudson river. Who else liked the Denzel version better in Flight?

Ben Bradlee in The Post.  Tom Hanks plays the executive editor of the Washington Post in a film about journalists trying to print the classified Pentagon papers in 1971. Sorry for anyone who was hoping this would be a biopic about the New York Post writers who have to come up with punny headlines each day,

BASED ON A TRUE STORY / Different Name

A League of Their Own Jimmy Dugan. In the movie, Tom Hanks plays “Jimmy Dugan” but this character was actually based on real life ballplayer Jimmie Fox who coached the Rockford Peaches after a 20 year baseball career where he was the second person to his 500 home runs after Babe Ruth. When Geena Davis broke down on the set one day Hanks famously said “There’s no crying in biopics!”

Catch Me if You Can – Joseph Shea. In this movie Leonardo DiCaprio played Frank Abagnale, a real person with a book but in the movie Hanks plays FBI agent Carl Hannity. Even though there isn’t a real person with this name, Abagnale said the character is actually based on the very real agent Joseph Shea who Abagnale really was friends with for 30 years after. Now think of all the real people Leo has played in movies and this could almost be seen as some passing of the biopic torch.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri in The Terminal.  The film is about an Eastern European man who becomes stuck in New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport terminal when he is denied entry into the United States and at the same time cannot return to his native country because of a military coup. Now in reality, the man’s name was Mehran Karimi Nasseri and he spent 18 years in a Paris airport but it’s the same concept and another real person Tom Hanks chose to play.

Geoffrey Bowers in Philadelphia – Character Name – Andrew Beckett. Tom Hanks played Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the movie about a lawyer who sues his old law firm after getting HIV and his sexuality is outed. Andrew Beckett was actually based on Geoffrey Bowers, whose family had many interviews with the film’s writers and producers and even sued because of how similar scenes in the movie were to his real life without them getting any credit or compensation. Tom Hanks wanted to play a real person so badly in this one it’s like he didn’t care who got screwed over.

James Dallas Egbert III in Mazes and Monsters.  Now in Tom Hanks FIRST EVER leading role in a movie, he played someone based on a real person. This made for TV movie is based on the disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III from Michigan State University in 1979. The version is a highly fictionalized version of the events but Hanks started off his career playing a real person and it seems like he got some sick blood lust for more real people after.


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