Tom Hanks On Astronauts, IMAX's 'Apollo 13'

As a child, Tom Hanks dreamed of being an astronaut, playing zero-gravity games in his swimming pool. Now, he's playing the role of astronaut once again, in Apollo 13: The IMAX Experience, a mega-screen version of the 1995 hit film that Hanks starred in.

Director Ron Howard's Apollo 13 is being completely repurposed for 70mm IMAX exhibition — the first time such a transition has been done for a live-action 35 mm feature film. Apollo 13: The IMAX Experience opens in theaters on Sept. 20.

The movie starsTom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton and Ed Harris, and dramatizes the precarious 1971 mission of NASA's Apollo 13 shuttle using a combination of archival footage and special effects. Hanks spoke about his role in an interview with Good Morning America's Entertainment Correspondent Alex Cambert.

Below is transcript of the interview as it aired on Good Morning America.

TOM HANKS: (on his appearance on the large IMAX movie screen): The first thing you think is: is my head really that big? Because it is, it is a huge, huge head.

ALEX CAMBERT: Yeah, cause the screen is …

HANKS: Eight stories …

CAMBERT: … Eight stories high.

HANKS: Essentially, your teeth are the size of cars (laughs). You know, they're huge. That being said, you forget THAT very, very quickly and you get into just whatever emotional story that the movie is able to tell.

(movie clip: Apollo13: The IMAX Experience, sound "Houston, we have a problem")

HANKS: It's a very emotional experience that you have — watching this, this regular, like, story-telling movie up on IMAX. It's just different.

CAMBERT: Did you snag any souvenirs from the movie? I mean, did you keep, like, a space suit? Or, what do you have? Come on! 'Fess up! What'd you take?!

HANKS: Well, I still have the pressure suit. I still have the helmet. I still have a lot of the flight ...

CAMBERT: Where do you keep a pressure suit?! In the closet? I mean, like, 'Here's my Armani? my Boss?' ... My pressure suit?

HANKS: You never know when you might want to whip that thing out. It's to please the kids, you know.

CAMBERT: As a kid, did you want to go up there yourself?

HANKS: Sure. You bet. I used to — I would put a brick in the bottom of my pants and sit at the bottom of the pool breathing through a, breathing through a garden hose and kind of, like, float. And I would have these little plastic tools; take apart the pool ladder and put it back together again because I wanted to be doing a service in zero gravity of outer space and also hearing the (heavy breaths) through the garden hose because that was as close as I could get to the tactile feeling of being in space.

CAMBERT: Now, I heard, that you had — actually — astronaut DOLLS?!

HANKS: Yeah, Major Matt Mason. Yeah.

CAMBERT: What's he like?

HANKS: Major Matt?

CAMBERT: Yeah! Major Matt!

HANKS: Major Matt Mason was an astronaut. And he was bendable and pose-able.

CAMBERT: (pulling doll out of his jacket): I'm wondering if Major Matt looks anything like this ...

HANKS: (gasps) Oh my gosh!

CAMBERT: (holding up doll) This is a Major Matt Mason!

HANKS: (in unison) Major Matt Mason. There he is! Right there! Well, now, Okay. (handles doll) Yes. Because this would have — used to have been white. Now, you don't have the helmet. (jokes) What's the point? But you'll notice there: see, there he would be relatively pose-able and this is what would go on. And this is what would go on for — I would sit by the coffee table in my mom's living room, going like this (breathes deeply). I'd do that for hours and hours and hours. Was I sick or what?

CAMBERT: Yeah, a little bit.

HANKS (handing it back to CAMBERT): Major Matt Mason!

CAMBERT: Its yours!

HANKS: Oh, stop!

CAMBERT: Although, you dissed me with the 'NO HELMET!' thing, so maybe I should take it back …

HANKS (laughs): Well, no, that's alright.

CAMBERT: Now, I think I want it back...

HANKS: No, no, no.

CAMBERT: I want Major Matt back. (sarcastically at doll in HANKS's pocket) Yeah, that'll look nice. You'll talk to Major Matt. Should I ask him questions?

HANKS (talking to doll in his pocket): What do you think, Major Matt? (makes deep breathing noises)

CAMBERT: At the very end of our interview, I'd like to do something called: 'True And False.'

HANKS: Okay.

CAMBERT: Subject: 'Tom Hanks'. Are you ready?

HANKS: Yeah.

CAMBERT: True or false? You are a direct descendant of Nancy Hanks Lincoln — Abraham Lincoln's mother.

HANKS: True.

CAMBERT: That is true?!


CAMBERT: Mm. True or False?: because of your love of space you asked George Lucas if you could have a role in Star Wars: Episode 3, playing the part of Jar Jar Hanks.

HANKS (laughs):

CAMBERT: True or False?

HANKS: False. I'm sorry to say.

CAMBERT: True or False: Steven Spielberg refers to you as 'Old Faithful.'

HANKS: Uh, not to my face! (laughs)

CAMBERT: But it could be true?!

HANKS: It could be true!

CAMBERT: Well, Tom — it was great to see you again, man.

HANKS: Always a pleasure. Thank you very much. Thank you for Major Matt. And, oh — just one last thing. (holds up doll, breathes deeply)

CAMBERT: You're scaring me, now.

HANKS: (keeps holding up doll, breathes deeply)

CAMBERT: Bye-bye.

HANKS: (keeps holding up doll, breathes deeply)

CAMBERT: It's a two-hour show, Tom. Bye-bye. (off-camera laughter)