The book, the actor's second dive into fiction – he published a short-story collection in 2017 – has been described by the publisher as a “wildly ambitious” story about the making of a film.
The novel, which will be published by Penguin Random House (PRH) and is set to be released in both the UK and the US on May 9, 2023, is a piece of fiction based on the making of a star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film.
The novel spans 80 years, starting in 1947, and follows a troubled soldier returning from the war who becomes the muse for his comic-book-artist nephew, who creates a comic book about him that's adapted into a present-day superhero film.
Apart from the “troubled” soldier, characters include a young boy with an artistic gift, an inspired and eccentric director, a cocky actor on the rise, and a tireless production assistant.
Hanks, who is also a producer, said: “Movie making is very hard work over a very long period of time that consists of so many moments of joy slapped up against an equal number of feelings of self-loathing. It is the greatest job in the world and the most confounding of labours that I know of.”
Quoting from Hamlet, he continued: “I hope the book captures as much of ‘the accidental judgements and casual slaughter’ that go into a motion picture’s dictum to hold ‘a mirror up to nature’ that I have witnessed (and caused) since I joined the Screen Actors Guild.”
Uncommon Type, the star's short-story collection, focused on his collection of vintage typewriters and sold 234,000 copies in the UK to date, according to PRH.
Uncommon Type had been panned by a fair few critics, including Alex Preston, reviewing for the Observer, who said: “Hanks’s stories… are forgettable, middle-of-the-road, and touched by the special banality of mere competence”.
Promoting the new book, Hanks also took a dig at his illustrious film career.
Hanks said he’s made just four “pretty good” movies in 30 years.
The actor, who has been a Hollywood leading man since the 1980s, has left fans scratching their heads over which of his long line of hit films he classes as “pretty good”, including Splash!, Big, and 1990s classics Forrest Gump, and Philadephia, for which he won Best Actor at the Oscars two years in a row.
He told People: “No one knows how a movie is made – though everyone thinks they do...
“I’ve made a ton of movies and four of them are pretty good, I think, and I’m still amazed at how films come together.”
The 66-year-old, who has also regularly worked with director Steven Spielberg, in films such as Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me if You Can, The Terminal, Bridge of Spies, and The Post, added: "From a flicker of an idea to the flickering image on-screen, the whole process is a miracle.”
While many of his films have received critical acclaim, some have not been well received.
These include Brian De Palma’s Tom Wolfe adaptation, The Bonfire of the Vanities, the Coen brothers’ remake of The Ladykillers, Ron Howard’s DaVinci Code films, and Robert Zemeckis’s recent live-action Pinocchio film.
His latest turn in Baz Lurhmann’s hit film Elvis has also been slammed by some critics as the weakest part of the film.