Reporter: Liam Bartlett
Producer: Julia Timms
Now, you’d have to agree, Tom Hanks is hardly a sex symbol. He's no Brad Pitt.
You never hear about him getting drunk and making a fool of himself, or having lurid love affairs, you never see him at all in the gossip mags. Even he admits he's a bit of a nerd. Yet, somehow, he's made an extraordinary career out of being very ordinary.
His movies have made billions, just the name "Tom Hanks" in big letters on the billboards can guarantee success. In fact, he's the biggest earner of them all.
Add a couple of Oscars and other assorted accolades, and who said nice guys don't come first.
For more info about the movie Angels and Demons check out the following website:
LIAM BARTLETT: It's a big night for Tom Hanks. We're in Tokyo at the premiere of his latest blockbuster. And Hollywood's Mr Nice Guy is working the line. He sticks to the script. Polite and charming, until he reaches me.
TOM HANKS: Liam, you are on the road again. On the red carpet. Pretty glamorous, isn't it?
LIAM BARTLETT: I don't know how you do it, really. You know, your face is everywhere, people are looking at your every move, photographers all around you. Got a fake sincerity up and down the line. I don't know how you do it.
TOM HANKS: The fake sincerity thing, I am a professional Liam. I think I fake my sincerity very well.
LIAM BARTLETT: And here's me thinking you liked me.
TOM HANKS: Well, no, you're a very pleasant guy. I got nothing against you. I don't know you all that well. You haven't pissed me off yet.
LIAM BARTLETT: So, there's still time?
TOM HANKS: Yeah, we'll wait, we'll wait, we've got years to go.
LIAM BARTLETT: You get the impression it'd be pretty hard to irritate Tom Hanks. He might be the biggest movie star on the planet but there are no airs or graces. He's a very, very rare star - funny, intelligent and absolutely squeaky clean. Now, there's gotta be some dirt somewhere.
TOM HANKS: No, I wish it was an image, I wish it was something I could drop but you ask me, I'll tell you the truth. I don't lie...
IAM BARTLETT: Well, help me out here.
TOM HANKS: OK, what do you need?
LIAM BARTLETT: Let's dig some dirt.
TOM HANKS: You need some dirt? OK, I floss my teeth, I have flossed my teeth every day for like the last seven years. Can you believe that?
LIAM BARTLETT: Yeah, that's not sounding scandalous.
TOM HANKS: Well no, it's not a scandal but what that means is I never flossed my teeth once for the previous 43 years or whatever it is. Um, I uh...
LIAM BARTLETT: You got nothing.
TOM HANKS: I got nothing.
LIAM BARTLETT: Scandal or no scandal, the fact is he's been extraordinarily successful. His movies have pulled in more than $4 billion at the box office and made him one of Hollywood's wealthiest actors.
LIAM BARTLETT: Put this rumour to rest if you will one way or the other but the word is that from your new movie 'Angels and Demons' you will be the highest-paid actor ever, some US$50 million which translates to what, about AU$70 million.
TOM HANKS: Is that true?
LIAM BARTLETT: Is it true?
TOM HANKS: It could be. I'm not saying it ain't.
LIAM BARTLETT: Well, I suppose it's the same question I'd ask a Wall Street banker. I mean is anyone worth that much?
TOM HANKS: No. No, they're not. I'm not. But at the same time, it's a frivolous business at the end of it, because it's all supply and demand. If it does well, then I make a nice tasty piece of cake, it's true, can't lie. Whether or not anybody deserves it, look, cops deserve that money, school teachers deserve that money. people who, you know, run food banks, they deserve that money. I'd like to think when I wake up in the morning I do my part in order to make the world a better place.
LIAM BARTLETT: Tom's world these days is very different to where he began. His parents divorced when he was just four years old. Tom and his five siblings had a chaotic childhood travelling from place to place as his dad and step-mother chased work. So, with all those brothers and sisters and step brothers and step sisters, you still had a fairly lonely childhood, did you?
TOM HANKS: I discovered in a good way my preoccupation with, sort of, like, stories and art or whatever creativity you can call it when you're 8 or 9 or 10 years old was a good combat for loneliness. I developed a real great attachment for going to school. I liked school. Other kids will cut school, I thought school was kind of a great place. There was action there. I knew something was going down there that would generate some sort of a laugh or some sort of a routine or I would belong to something bigger than myself.
LIAM BARTLETT: The loner had found his talent - making people laugh. His early work was mostly forgettable, but then came a guest spot on 'Happy Days' starring Ron Howard, now one of Hollywood's top directors. When you first met Tom you were still Richie Cunningham?
RON HOWARD: Well, I was as a matter of fact. Tom had done this very flashy guest spot on the show and everybody had fallen in love with him and invited him to come to this one softball game. I remember sitting next to him and just saying "hello" and it wasn't more than, I think, 18 months or 2 years later that I was casting him in 'Splash'.
LIAM BARTLETT: And got him his first big break.
RON HOWARD: Yeah, he was going places because he's really a unique talent.
LIAM BARTLETT: It was the start of a long and productive partnership for Hanks and Howard. The unlikely looking duo went on to make 'Apollo 13'. And, the second-biggest grossing movie of all time - 'The Da Vinci Code' - and have just teamed up for a fourth time, for it's sequel 'Angels and Demons'. Tom says, he admits, he was a bit of a geek, a bit of a nerd. You had a reputation at one stage for being a bit of a nerd but you've got together over the years a huge number of awards and millions and millions of dollars. The nerds really have had their revenge haven't they?
RON HOWARD: Well, we found projects that we could do and I think that, look, that sort of fascination with detail is what makes a nerd.
LIAM BARTLETT: And that obsession for detail runs deep. Now we know you have a very unusual hobby - this collection of old typewriters.
TOM HANKS: O-oh, be careful now.
LIAM BARTLETT: We've found something reasonably rare in Australia that we'd like to add to your collection.
TOM HANKS: A typewriter.
LIAM BARTLETT: That's right - the world's most bankable star has a collection of more than 80 antique typewriters.
TOM HANKS: If this is just, you know, somebody's junky old portable that was taking up space in their closet, that's one thing. But if this is, if this is an actual heirloom, an object of art, a piece of historical importance...
LIAM BARTLETT: We hope you will like it.
TOM HANKS: ..you are going to intimidate me. Here we go, are we ready? Oh, dear lord! Now here, let me tell you about this typewriter. Now, you'll notice it's a Corona.
LIAM BARTLETT: But this is no ordinary Corona typewriter. It was owned by the legendary actor Richard Harris and dates back to 1912.
TOM HANKS: Get out!
LIAM BARTLETT: Yeah, yeah and when he died...
TOM HANKS: I don't deserve this.
LIAM BARTLETT: ..it went to his wife and his wife sold it, as it turned out, to a fellow in Australia and now we've brought it back here for you.
TOM HANKS: You guys should never have done this. You're wasting your... ..I don't deserve to own Richard Harris's coffee mug. much less his... ..and I can almost get the I can almost get the paper in. Well, let's try it out anyway. I've probably screwed it up somehow. Well, this is a treasure and I will treasure it forever.
LIAM BARTLETT: Well, I hope you like it.
TOM HANKS: So, thank you very much.
LIAM BARTLETT: His sedate hobby is a world away from his on-screen heroics. In his latest religious whodunit, Hanks's character Robert Langdon has just four hours to save the Vatican from destruction. It's very far fetched but typically, he doesn't take it too seriously. Yeah, but it's not accurate, is it?
TOM HANKS: The Robert Langdon series? Oh, they're a bunch of hooey. There's there's no amount of antimatter is gonna blow up Rome, you know, it's as simple as that.
LIAM BARTLETT: There's a scene of you, in the movie, of you in a pair of speedos. Now, I want to know, was that a body double?
TOM HANKS: No, that was absolutely me. I volunteered for my non-American swimming apparel. I wanted to look like one of those Australian lifeguards, you know.
LIAM BARTLETT: In the sluggers, yeah.
TOM HANKS: What are they called?
LIAM BARTLETT: Sluggers.
TOM HANKS: Sluggers? OK.
LIAM BARTLETT: Has Daniel Craig seen that yet and is he worried?
TOM HANKS: Man oh man, you know. I made, I worked with Danny Craig back when he was just Danny Craig. I don't want to embarrass him but you know, the work out regiment once you take on that gig, your life becomes the work out. You realise that don't you? Like, if there's another Langdon movie, I only have between now and the moment we're having that to avoid exercise cause as soon as I go on the clock guess where I am? I'm back in the pool, I'm back in that speedo trying to look like a slugger.
LIAM BARTLETT: Unlike so many Hollywood stars Tom's never really enjoyed the spotlight. When the camera stops rolling he spends every minute with his family - his four kids and wife of 22 years actress Rita Wilson who he starred alongside in 'Sleepless in Seattle'.
TOM HANKS: Rita Wilson is the most fantastic creature on the planet, it's simple as that. We've made, most of the, you know, mistakes that anybody can make but at the same time we've, we're always in it for the right... there's no secret to this other than marrying the right person. That's it. That's the only thing that is required.
LIAM BARTLETT: You once said that Rita saved your life. What do you mean by that?
TOM HANKS: Well, she gave me a type of social grace I didn't understand. My family is a fractured one. Rita, comes from... she's Greek, she comes from a family that has a lot of heritage, a family that is used to seeing each other all the time, that really can't live without sighting up to each other every now and then and saying "Howdy doo". I didn't realise that that was an option. I didn't realise that that was something that you could like make happen until I married Rita Wilson.
LIAM BARTLETT: That's a love story in itself, better than any of your scripts.
TOM HANKS: Oh it is, it is, Why are there no movies about 21-year-old marriages, you know? It's always about, it's the same old thing, it's about falling in love, falling, it's always like, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, you know, boy gets girl but, it's the happily ever after is always ever after.
LIAM BARTLETT: There's something very decent and proper about Tom Hanks. He's an actor with a social conscience. He was one of President Obama's most high-profile supporters and looked so at ease at the Inauguration Ceremony, many wondered if a political career was beckoning. You'll run eventually won't you? TOM HANKS: No way, never in a million years.
LIAM BARTLETT: Come on, it's the ultimate trifecta - Reagan, Schwarzenegger, Hanks.
TOM HANKS: See, here's the thing - Ronald Reagan, they stopped giving him jobs. I'm not a political animal but I am a... I pay attention to the cultural zeitgeist that's going on and politics is a big part of it. Particularly when, hey man, your country is at war, you know and it is for eight years and there's so much important stuff that's going on. I pay attention to it but I don't try to influence any more than my own opinions.
LIAM BARTLETT: Fans will be relieved to hear that Tom is sticking to acting. But his days of playing the fresh-faced big kid are firmly behind him. Next thing, you know, you're 52.
TOM HANKS: Yeah, in a good way, you know wink of an eye, alright. I'm not even reminded of how old you are until you see those clips from a long time ago. You say, "Who's that kid?" Oh, that's me. Son of a gun.
LIAM BARTLETT: There is, of course, one role where Tom never ages, where any imperfection can be erased in a second. Tom's back for the third part of the 'Toy Story' juggernaut next year. What's Woody been doing for the past 10 years? TOM HANKS: Professional responsibility tells me that I should keep it as cryptic as possible. So I would say that... let's just say that...
LIAM BARTLETT: Oh, come on.
TOM HANKS: Let's say that there's... Are the toys going to be sent to the attic or not? Let's leave it at that. How about that?
LIAM BARTLETT: But you like kids movies, don't you?
OM HANKS: Well, I like movies that everybody can relate to, you know? When the dad and the mum can appreciate it on one level and everybody else can see it on their own level as well, I think that's what all the great films have been able to do.
LIAM BARTLETT: See mister nice guy, we've come full circle.
TOM HANKS: I can't help it.
LIAM BARTLETT: So, you leave me with no dirt, there's no scandal, nothing.
TOM HANKS: Well, wait till you get the type-written letter that I'm gonna send to you. It's gonna be, it's gonna have foul language and it's gonna have confessions on paper that I will not give you on video but you'll get it all, you'll get it all.
LIAM BARTLETT: I can hardly wait.