Tom Hanks Explains Why He Doesn’t Watch His Old Movies

His newest film, "Sully," is set for release today.

ByABC News
September 9, 2016, 10:47 AM

— -- Tom Hanks, one of the world's biggest stars, is proud of his work, but doesn't spend time watching his past movies, which include the hits "Big," "Philadelphia," "Forrest Gump," and "Castaway."

“No, no I don’t. I think that’s a horrible mistake,” Hanks told ABC News. “Because you never learn what to do. You only sort of learn what not to do. The thing about looking at the old movies is that they don’t change.”

The two-time Oscar winner stars in a new movie set for release today. “Sully” tells the story of the incredible moments when airline pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger safely landed a plane full of passengers on New York’s Hudson River. Hanks recalled meeting Sullenberger just weeks after that dramatic landing.

“I met him at the Academy Awards which was five, six weeks after the event,” Hanks, 60, told Peter Travers.

PHOTO: Tom Hanks and Peter Travers at the ABC Headquarters in New York, Sept. 6, 2016.
Tom Hanks and Peter Travers at the ABC Headquarters in New York, Sept. 6, 2016.

“And you said, 'I gotta play you?'” joked Travers.

“I actually said, ‘How you handling this?'” recalled Hanks. “I never would’ve thought the chance would come along to be able to play him.”

Download the all new "Popcorn with Peter Travers" podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music and Stitcher.

That chance came when director Clint Eastwood chose Hanks for the role. Critics are already touting another Oscar-worthy performance. But Hanks admitted it was a challenge to get the role just right after speaking to Sullenberger in more detail about what happened that day.

“He said essentially his body and his muscle memory and the pressure of his ears sensed the rate of descent,” said Hanks. “It sensed the angle of flight. It sensed the air speed. None of this stuff required him to look at a gauge or a number or an instrument panel to say what was going on. He saw it. And he felt it. And there was a moment when he realized, 'This plane is not going to make it back to LaGuardia [airport]. We are not going to be able to land at Teterboro (airport). And there’s no way we’re making it to Newark.”

You can see Tom Hanks in his newest role today. “Sully” is in theaters everywhere.

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