Tom Hanks's first book was a collection of stories, all of which featured typewriters; his first novel is about the making of a Marvel-like movie.Credit…Daniel Dorsa for The New York Times THE MAKING OF ANOTHER MAJOR MOTION PICTURE MASTERPIECE , by Tom Hanks. Illustrated by R. Sikoryak. Sidelined by the pandemic, some actors fired up ceramics or sang fragments of “ Imagine .” Tom Hanks, one of the most prominent to contract an early case of Covid , bounced back by making a run at the Great American Novel. Alas, it is more Forrest Gump trotting from coast to coast than Sully landing on the Hudson . Titled “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” the book arrives at a crossroads for Hollywood. The Writers Guild of America went on strike this past week, seeking pay increases in an age of streaming and protections from that thundering Godzilla, artificial intelligence . The consequent halt of film and TV production deprives not only audiences, but also the vast number of workers required to get stories onscreen: extras, editors, costume and lighting designers, makeup artists, caterers, drivers, gofers, key grips. “Masterpiece” is a loving homage to those workers, a true insiderly ensemble piece in the vein of “ The Player ” (written by Michael Tolkin in 1988, directed by Robert Altman in 1992), or Quentin Tarantino's eventually self-novelized “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Minus the murder and gore, of course — this is Tom Hanks. The novel also acknowledges a fading time when leading actors, even avatars of Everyman decency like the author, were royalty: their work shown not in living rooms but red-velvet-swagged “palaces.” It's framed by one of the outlying courtiers of the industry: a fictional former freelance journalist and reviewer named Joe Shaw. Now teaching creative writing at a minor Montana college, he has been granted access to the set of “Knightshade: The Lathe of Firefall” — a movie based on a comic from a Marvel-like company — along with the Gay Talese-like superpower of narrative omniscience. He recedes after a foreword, like John Ray […]
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