Tom Hanks: The 1 Character He Played That He Would Want With Him On a Desert Island

Savannah Guthrie on Today this week asked the veteran actor an interesting question this week: If he were stuck on a desert island, which of the many roles he has played would he want with him?

Would it be Sam from Sleepless in Seattle, or perhaps Forrest Gump, or Woody from Toy Story, Chuck Noland from Cast Away, or even Fred Rogers from A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood?

Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks | DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

The question made Hanks think about an answer for a brief moment, but he eventually chose one of his iconic roles from his nearly 40-year career.

Find out which character Hanks chose and his reason why.

Tom Hanks chose
Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

On Today last week, Guthrie was back following her long absence due to retinal surgery after her son accidentally threw a toy train at her eye.

She kicked off her week back with a pre-taped interview she had had with the legendary actor, discussing his legacy and career. The morning show host asked him, towards the end of the conversation, a series of what she called “lightning round” questions.

“What would you tell your younger self as an actor?” she asked. Hanks said, “Calm down.”

She followed up with “What would your epitaph say?” The Forrest Gump star, after making it clear that the word “nice” should not be found anywhere on his tombstone, replied, “He was fantastic!”

Later on, Guthrie asked Hanks, “You’re stranded on a deserted island. Which character that you’ve played would you want with you?”

Hanks hemmed and hawed before blurting out, “Sully! He can fix anything! How about that? Very pragmatic, he probably knows everything, that deep voice would drive you nuts after a while, but, how about him?”

Hanks has a point

Sully Sullenberger famously landed a US Airways plane in 2009 after both of its engines were disabled by a bird strike of geese. Sullenberger remarkably landed the plane on the Hudson River off Manhattan. All 155 passengers survived the forced water landing.

Fun fact: Sullenberger actually got back his luggage after the near-catastrophic event. Although not all passengers had the same luck.

“The karmic version of this story is that the only people who didn’t get their belongings back were the ones who tried to take it out in the river with them, and other passengers said, ‘Throw that away!'” Sullenberger recollected.

Hanks received the Cecil B. DeMille Award last week

The 63-year-old shared with Guthrie his feelings on receiving the prestigious award, named for its first recipient Cecil B. DeMille, director of films including The King of Kings and The Ten Commandments.

According to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the award acknowledges an actor’s “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” 

“There’s an undeniable power that you just have to say, ‘Hey, I did work that was good enough that ended up touching people on a very personal level,’” Hanks reflected.

“Because I think we all remember what we were going through — what our circumstances [were] —  was it sort of like what we needed at the time when we saw films that actually made us feel better about who we are,” Hanks added.

Read more: What Tom Hanks Thinks of Being Known as the Nice Guy