Tom Hanks’ ‘Cast Away’ Co-Star Wilson Sold for a Wild Amount of Money

Looking back now, it’s probably wild for some Tom Hanks fans to realize how much of a comedy star the actor was. For years early on, he was known almost exclusively for getting laughs. With the exception of his first film role — a forgotten slasher flick called He Knows You’re Alone — Hanks spent his first several years in the business in comedic roles. Then in 2000’s Cast Away, he made audiences emotional over a volleyball. Thankfully, Wilson’s real-life fate is much more lucrative than what happens in that hit movie.

Tom Hanks washed up on the beach of an island in 'Cast Away'
Tom Hanks | 20th Century Fox

Wilson is 1 of Tom Hanks’ most famous co-stars

Cast Away stars Hanks as Chuck Noland, a FedEx employee who winds up stranded on a deserted island after a company plane crashes. His only company are the many packages that wash ashore. And while some of the items Chuck finds are useful, perhaps the most vital turns out to be a Wilson brand volleyball. After Chuck injures himself, he grabs the ball in a fit of rage and throws it, leaving a bloody handprint.

As the isolation of his circumstances sets in, Chuck ultimately turns that bloody stain into a face for Wilson. In order to stave off loneliness, he begins talking to Wilson as if it is his closest friend. After four years on the island, Chuck gets more than a little attached to Wilson. And one of the most heart-wrenching moments of Cast Away — for which Hanks received an Oscar nomination — comes when Wilson is lost at sea during Chuck’s escape from the island.

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The iconic volleyball was auctioned off for a huge sum

In the film, that’s the last audiences see of Wilson. But in real life, the volleyball became an iconic bit of movie memorabilia. After all, it’s not often a piece of sporting equipment plays a key dramatic role in a major Hollywood release. And according to the BBC, the Wilson volleyball used in Cast Away sold at auction for $308,000. Considering the item’s tattered appearance, its sale price is even more impressive.

Prop House, the auction house behind the sale, said the volleyball was “heavily distressed with paint applied to create a worn, dirtied appearance.” Moreover, the dark brown and red face remains intact, with the top torn open and replaced with tobacco stalks. In Cast Away, Hanks’ character gives Wilson this makeover to simulate hair and make his friend seem more human. Here’s hoping Chuck can rest in peace knowing Wilson went to a good home.

Tom Hanks considers ‘Cast Away’ among his best movies

Given how much of its runtime Hanks spends alone (or with Wilson), Cast Away is definitely one of the actor’s most memorable movies. And in an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast, he included it among his three favorite moviemaking experiences.

“We had just bold adventures when we were making that movie. [On Cast Away,] we were out in the middle of the ocean just trying to grab shots. We were off in Fiji on two different occasions… There was nothing but adventures every single day, every single night.”

In addition, Hanks included another classic from his filmography, 1992’s A League of Their Own, in his top three. And he gave a nod to Cloud Atlas, the wildly ambitious and commercially disappointing 2012 sci-fi film from directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski.

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