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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Tom Hanks; Cast of "Lucky Guy" Talk About What it Was Like To Be Part of Nora Ephron's Last Work
Aired March 21, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Look out, Broadway. Here comes Tom Hanks, Hollywood's number one leading man, on the great white way for the first time ever.
TOM HANKS, ACTOR, "LUCKY GUY": I don't think you can be an actor and not want to, at some point, be on Broadway.
MORGAN: How is he feeling on the verge of his big Broadway debut?
HANKS: It's the hardest, most fun work you can imagine.
MORGAN: Tom Hanks with the all-star cast of "Lucky Guy."
HANKS: Can we get back to talking about me, please?
MORGAN: Tonight, they spill his secrets.
What is the worst thing you can tell me about Tom Hanks? You do kiss Tom Hanks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Several times.
MORGAN: Is he a good kisser?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MORGAN: How good?
MORGAN: And he answers the question I just had to ask.
How many times have you been properly in love in your life?
Tom Hanks remembers Nora Ephron, the writer of "Sleepless in Seattle" and "When Harry Met Sally," bringing her final play to life.
HANKS: Nora is one of the most amazing people in the world.
MORGAN: Tom Hanks, truly a lucky guy. This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE.
That was a good start.
HANKS: I love it. My god. That's scary. Yes, yes, what? I'm here. You woke me up.
MORGAN: You have not done a play since 1981.
HANKS: The last official play I did was in 1981 in Hayward, California. I was a guest artist for my alma mater, Chabot Junior College, and we are a -- I don't call it community college. It's a junior college back there. Instead of a community. And we did "Charlie's Aunt," it was directed by an old teacher of mine named Herb Kennedy. And I think we sold out 1500 seats every night.
MORGAN: So on a scale of 1 to 100 --
MORGAN: How nervous are you right now?
A few days before the opening night --
HANKS: I knew it.
MORGAN: -- and you haven't had to come on critics or an audience in a play.
MORGAN: For a very long time.
HANKS: It isn't like --
MORGAN: Thirty-two years.
HANKS: True. Yes. But it's a life of brick bat (INAUDIBLE), you know, what it is. I would say nervousness is not nearly the term -- well, what do you call it when you wake up at 5:00 in the morning with your eyes wide open, thinking, do I have the lines in scene 110 down? Do I --
When Nora comes out on the bed, am I supposed to come -- that's where the nerves hit me, about 5:00 in the morning.
MORGAN: Why are you taking what some perceive to be a gamble? You don't need to do this. You're a huge movie star. You could roll out two great films a year, keep your status as King Tom of Hollywood.
HANKS: You haven't been on my PR camp lately, have you? You haven't been part of that.
We haven't exactly knocked them all dead. Well, primarily it's just the great pleasure and the joy of doing it. It's the best -- look, it is the greatest -- second best job in the world next to being a muckraking tabloid journalist. But I understand that to be the best job in the world. But I'll leave that to you.
The -- I have always wanted to -- I don't think you can be an actor and not want to at some point be on Broadway and challenge those waters, but also, Nora and I talked about this play going back a number of years, and I felt as though I had never seen anything like this tabloid version of the history of the tabloid press, and so I must say, you got to -- you got to move a lot of boulders in order to be able to take the eight months out of your life in order to do it, but, you know, my kids are gone, you know. My wife is working. You know, not that much is expected of me so off we go.
MORGAN: Mike McAlary, the character you play, is a kind of notorious yet in many ways brilliant tabloid reporter from the '80s and '90s. He died tragically young age 41 from cancer.
HANKS: Spoiler alert.
MORGAN: That's how it ends, folks. You've had lots of experience with the tabloids. How did you find playing a tabloid journalist?
HANKS: Well, the key about this is that this was when -- forgive me for saying it, but this is when tabloids really mattered. They don't -- I mean, I'm sorry. The Internet and the immediacy of everything that goes on in the ether Web has completely supplanted that but in the '80s when McAlary wanted to have the loudest and the largest voice, if he -- if he really hit the button with his story that day, it carried weight for at least 24 hours, if not 72 hours, until he wrote his next column.
So there is a specific part of Nora's play in which he delineates between the facts and the story, that the facts are great and the facts are interesting, but they're not nearly as important as the story that you put out there. And I have been on the side of things where the facts were not what the story really was. All you can do is, you know, shake your head off and understand that at least in the next news cycle, somebody else will step in a bear trap and take the attention away from you.
MORGAN: Your son Colin actually got to Broadway before you did.
HANKS: Yes, he did. Yes. My wife as well.
MORGAN: So I would imagine he's gone through his entire career with people saying hey, what tips has your dad given you about acting. Now he must be the one dishing you advice. HANKS: Colin was in "33 Variations" with Jane Fonda at the Eugene O'Neill Theater and yes, I -- when I was weighing doing this, I asked him the intangibles or actually the tangibles such as what time do you eat on a matinee day.
And quite frankly, if you have a performance at 8:00, you should have something light to eat about 5:00, no later than 5:15. But then also the routine of how you pace yourself out in order to be -- to be, you know, essentially ready to play every night at 8:00. And he was -- he had been through it. He was very -- he was very smart to his old man.
MORGAN: They say that stage acting is the most pure form of acting because you get out there, it's life, there's no chance to retake or edit. For you, you've acted in some of the great movies ever made. What does it take, do you think, to be a great actor?
HANKS: Studying it. Humphrey Bogart said it was concentration, which I can understand, because in all phases you can just suddenly notice something on the periphery and if you let that blow your concentration, then the film might be wasted which is bad, but you could go back and grab it again but in this case, the scene, the scene might be blown which is really bad.
So that, though, is only I think part of it. The other aspect of it I think is some degree of quite frankly heart. You have to have a -- and by heart I just don't mean the feelings. I think you have to have also the conditioning and the desire in order to, you know, get up and repeat it and not just repeat it, because it's not a -- it's not a verbatim thing that you're doing. It's a repeating of the emotional beats and making those connections between all of those emotional beats night after night.
MORGAN: Who are the -- who are greatest actors of your lifetime?
HANKS: The ones that I admire greatly were Jason Robards and Robert Duvall. Those were guys when I was young, when I was - -when I was -- before (INAUDIBLE) watching all the films and to some degree theater, I was on the cusp between the great legends like John Wayne and Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster but along was coming also Deniro and Al Pacino, and you know, guys like Chris Walken, but for me, I was intrigued by those guys who didn't look like -- you know, they they didn't look or they didn't sound like the movie stars were supposed to -- supposed to look.
MORGAN: I talked to your wife on this show a few months ago.
HANKS: Yes? Yes?
MORGAN: She was unfortunately very nice about you. She didn't shatter any myths. We have got a little clip to play actually.
MORGAN: Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: He's always been effortlessly charming, very funny, very self-aware, very how I imagine he would be, which is unusual.
RITA WILSON, TOM HANK'S WIFE: He really is that person. And the reason I had that dedication on the album is because I'll never forget, we were standing on the corner of 57th and Fifth in New York or 58th and Fifth, and we were holding hands, we were waiting for the traffic light to change, and he looked at me and he said, you know, I just want you to know that you never have to change anything about who you are in order to be with me.
And literally a wave of -- if love is a feeling or a cellular thing that happens to your body, it went through me and that's pretty much who he is and how he's been.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANKS: True, happened exactly like that.
I can tell you where. It was on Central Park South right at the -- right at the Sixth Avenue. And look, we've been married for 25 years and it seems like we've been married two and a half to me. It's blown by so quick. And we have -- we have two more kids and four of them all together and I tell you, every day is -- every day is fun. Every day is a blast with Rita Wilson. I mean --
MORGAN: Why is it -- why is it such a blast? There's a picture over here.
HANKS: There she is. That's right. That's when she was doing "Chicago." She has -- it is combination of social grace and life force that is not in the Hanks DNA.
If you're actually (INAUDIBLE). I mean, we have a degree of a mercilessness but she has a mirthfulness. Part of it is being, you know, she has a great Greek heritage, which a tightly knit family in which everybody gets to say any damn thing they want to about the other person at the table, but it's an inclusiveness. It's -- I won't say that it's nonjudgmental because sometimes the conversations are all about judging each other. But it's a -- it's a shared judgmentalness so that everybody gets to have a voice.
I must say that I -- you know, when I met Rita I thought oh, this is what it's supposed to be like when you're married to somebody. It's supposed to be this carefree and easy and oddly enough, weighty.
MORGAN: How many times have you been properly in love in your life?
HANKS: Once. With Rita.
MORGAN: Just once.
HANKS: Well, look, as a young man, and one -- parapathetically, you know, my family was a diffused one in which it seemed as though everybody could just kind of like pack up and leave when things got a little tough.
Which is not exactly the concept of long-lasting love. I mean I didn't suffer any brand of abuse or anything like that. We were scattered but -- and we were -- we were tight in our way. But look, I'm not -- it's no joke. And it's naive to say that it took me until I met my wife Rita, until I figured out that oh, that's how wonderful it is in order to make the permanent connection.
MORGAN: Is there a secret? I mean, you're in an industry that is riddled with marriage breakups, remarriage and so on. You have avoided that.
HANKS: And well, quite frankly, that's your job to cover them, Piers.
Let's -- you know, let's not take away your bread and butter. You know what, we get that all the time but I have to tell you, all my friends have been married for years. I -- you know, I don't -- I understand that, I get that. But I think that if you went to Davenport, Iowa, or the suburbs of Dallas, I think every other 50 percent of the marriages fail. I don't think it's part and parcel to --
MORGAN: Is there a secret, though?
HANKS: I think finding the right person. You know that. And I would say, you know, and taking care of each other. I must say there are sometimes when without a doubt, you know, my wife has put everything aside and made sure that I was OK, and I'm amazed to say that on a number of occasions, I have had the wisdom to do the same for her. So, you know, it's all a big learning process and I think you have to be willing to learn and alter yourself.
MORGAN: I heard she came to see you for the first time.
HANKS: She was at the -- she was at he matinee --
Yes, well, she was at the matinee a couple of Saturdays. Our first Saturday matinee, as a matter of fact. And I was not petrified but I was aware.
MORGAN: Do you -- I mean, do you turn it on for your wife, performance-wise?
HANKS: No. Because if you do that, then the balance is going to be a little wacky. Instead you got to make sure that all of your receptors are turned down a little bit so you can get back to that kind of baseline that is required. She said well, maybe I'll come by before the show. No, no, no, no. Not before the show, babe. Not before the show.
MORGAN: Let's take a quick break. We're going to start bringing out your cast members, your colleagues.
HANKS: Very good.
MORGAN: And we're going to start with Peter Scolari who plays Michael Davie, who's a journalist friend/rival in the play. Emmy Award winner. I'm hoping because you did "Bosom Buddies" decades ago that he knows where all the Tom Hanks bodies are buried.
HANKS: Well, I'll tell you where his are. How about that.
MORGAN: It's going to be a great thing right after the break.
HANKS: From Saudi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANKS: You have to admit, this is a great apartment.
PETER SCOLARI, ACTOR, "LUCKY GUY": Yes, but I'm dressed like a woman.
HANKS: It's cheap.
SCOLARI: Yes, but I'm dressed like a woman.
HANKS: We will constantly be surrounded by beautiful girls.
SCOLARI: It is nice and airy, isn't it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So gentlemen -- we've joined by Peter Scolari, your great friend of more than 35 years. And of course you starred together in "Bosom Buddies." And we thought it'd be a nice thing given you keep bringing up my tabloid muckraking.
HANKS: That's right.
MORGAN: We have to bring up your cross-dressing past.
HANKS: So nothing goes away.
MORGAN: And the obvious question for both of you, are you still wearing women's clothes?
HANKS: Only to appear taller. That's all. The heels do make you a little taller.
SCOLARI: You mean right now?
HANKS: Now those -- those are for the pilot. You know, we had Bob Tortoricci was our costumer for the actual series, not the pilot. He put us in very -- he was always -- he'd come into our dressing room, say, Tom, I think we're going to start you out in fuchsia.
SCOLARI: Very serious.
HANKS: Very serious. Very serious.
SCOLARI: Yes, holding up fabric.
HANKS: Yes. Yes. Can we just -- can you just put on this wrap?
SCOLARI: But you know what, we were told, I'm sure you'll recall, the drag element, that's just going to be for the pilot. That's just going to be -- we're going to get the series sold that way, and then you guys can go on and be hip, clever young guys.
HANKS: All the ladies, Holland and Wendy and Thelma --
SCOLARI: And Donna.
HANKS: Donna, they were all down on the other end of the stage. We had dressing rooms right next to the makeup room. And right across the hall from each other.
SCOLARI: So we could get in and out of the wigs --
HANKS: Right. And so we'd be -- you know, we'd be laying -- we'd be leaning in each other's doorway, you know, with our pantyhose on and our foundation garments.
SCOLARI: With the fake bosoms.
HANKS: Bosoms, and we say -- saying, I don't know, man, I was out playing catch with my son the other day. We were comparing notes.
SCOLARI: Always trying to be as --
HANKS: On life. Yes.
MORGAN: I really want to get into the real Tom Hanks. What is the worst thing you can tell me about Tom Hanks?
SCOLARI: He can't hit. Can't hit a baseball.
You can -- you can toss it up in front of him as though he were in preschool, and beautiful swing.
MORGAN: I mean, I always imagined and hoped that behind the scenes, his halo would slip and he's a complete piece of work. A demanding diva.
HANKS: Do we?
MORGAN: A demanding diva.
HANKS: We don't just talk like actors, you know, comparing things. You know, there were other guys on the Paramount lot, let's say, where we shot that were living the higher life than we were if you --
SCOLARI: We weren't boring guys.
HANKS: No, no, no. We were fascinating. But we weren't troublemakers. And --
SCOLARI: Not troublemakers although there was an incident at the top of the San Diego freeway back in 1982.
HANKS: Easy now. Let's just say state troopers were involved.
Well, one cop turned to the other one at one point and said hey, hey, Bill, you know who we have here?
HANKS: These are the "Bosom Buddies."
SCOLARI: Hey, you got the "Bosom Buddies."
MORGAN: What have you been doing to attract --
HANKS: He was speeding is what he was doing.
SCOLARI: I was speeding and being subjected to a field sobriety test.
HANKS: So we had been to a party to celebrate essentially the end of the "Bosom Buddies" empire or as we liked to call it, the canon of all 39 episodes, and so the good cop, while he's out doing this on the 405, the good cop says to me, so you guys been to a party? And I said yes, in fact, Officer, we have. It was the wrap party for our TV show.
SCOLARI: And you haven't been drinking or anything.
HANKS: I had a couple --
SCOLARI: Oh, hell yes.
HANKS: Well, I wasn't driving. I had had a couple of beers.
SCOLARI: I was driving.
HANKS: Oh, geez. We don't need to get into this. So we don't want those poor police officers to get in trouble.
MORGAN: Has he -- has he changed, in reality, over the years? I mean, he seems such a nice guy.
SCOLARI: Well, you know, now that we're -- here we are rehearsing, there's nor mo nothing more intimately, honestly, than -- right across the street than rehearsing for the live theater, and then being on the Broadway stage together. And it's incredible, it's an incredible experience because we performed, you know, decades ago with -- conjuring the illusion with a live audience we were doing live theater.
HANKS: Yes, we do. We were (INAUDIBLE).
SCOLARI: But we weren't. We weren't.
HANKS: And he's done quite a bit of Broadway so he's --
SCOLARI: Quite a bit.
HANKS: He's a veteran.
MORGAN: Tom described the theater as tightrope walkers with no net. There's no mercy.
SCOLARI: Tightrope walkers with no underwear.
And no net.
HANKS: I must say, the -- there's something about the faith that the audience has. In TV they got in for free, no lie. The audience is really. And here, you know, these people are investing no small amount of money in order to get in as well as their time. So I think they are charitable in -- they will give us I think about three and a half minutes to prove that the money has been well spent.
MORGAN: Have you been surprised by his performances back on a stage like this?
SCOLARI: Not surprised but very -- I have to kind of pull it together because I really do -- I get moved as a friend, not merely as a fellow actor and, you know, we're in early scenes together, suddenly, quickly, there's a lot of courage for any actor, and I don't care who it is, and this guy, he's -- he's tearing --
HANKS: We exchange a lot of secret squeezes and --
SCOLARI: Part of it is, yes, we're still here. Can you believe it, Peter? We're here. We're still here.
HANKS: Stage --
SCOLARI: Yes, thank you. Very good. Here's my Ovaltine.
MORGAN: You told the "New York Times" that you're a bit nervous but one of the key messages in the play is from your character Mike. He tells his son who is about to go flip in a pool, "When you do these things you can't be nervous. If you think about what can go wrong, you think about the belly flop, that will be what happens."
Have you contemplated the belly flop in this play?
HANKS: Well, I will defer to all of Nora's wisdom here. In a nutshell, I would have to say well, Nora, with the journalistic mind but for a woman who -- you know, for an artist who still told great stories, that's kind of like a gestalt rule of thumb right off the bat. I mean, if you're going to hesitate at all, you're sort of doomed. You have to -- you have to -- you have to see it. You have to have the image of it right through to the end before you start. Otherwise it ain't going to happen.
MORGAN: Let's take another break. Let's bring out some more of your colleagues. See if we can squeeze the lemon a bit more.
HANKS: Anybody else from "Boson Buddies?"
MORGAN: Real sinister topics.
HANKS: You know what, we have the cast of (INAUDIBLE) that's going to join us now.
MORGAN: We'll talk with three more members of the cast. Maura Tierney, Christopher McDonald and Courtney Vance. What is it like to work with the great Tom Hanks? Given that he's obviously feeling a little bit vulnerable about having to be a stage actor.
HANKS: Great. I believe it's Hanks the great is the way to refer to me. (LAUGHTER)
CHRISTOPHER MCDONALD, ACTOR, "LUCKY GUY": We laugh a lot. Between Tom and George C. Wolfe, we have laughed throughout the rehearsal process. It's been -- it's been amazing. And of course, discovering new things and lifting the play up to a different level, and making it our own at the same time, it's just been a really --
HANKS: Failure. Failing.
MCDONALD: Failing. Openly failing.
COURTNEY B. VANCE, ACTOR, "LUCKY GUY": He really makes us all feel at ease. Tom is a master at just being himself and we fall right into his little --
MORGAN: I can't take any more of this.
MAURA TIERNEY, ACTRESS, "LUCKY GUY": I just wish you weren't so late all the time.
MORGAN: Yes. Come on, let's --
TIERNEY: I'm kidding.
HANKS: I will tell you, I don't -- these guys can like shave it so close that Maura gets yelled at for not signing in all the time. Is Maura Tierney in the theater?
TIERNEY: Is Maura in the house?
HANKS: If she is, will she sign in? I'm here 45 minutes before anything.
TIERNEY: It's true. It's very -- it's --
HANKS: Because I got to make my Ovaltine.
MORGAN: Is it comforting working with four very strong actors?
HANKS: Dear. Our ensemble which numbers 14, 10 other people on the show, is -- I think it's a safe haven for us all. I think we all get to come in and --
TIERNEY: But you don't get a break. I'm sorry, I know you don't want us to do this. But I'm just saying, like we all get a little bit of a respite but Tom has to do it all, every second --
HANKS: Yes, McAlary is onstage a lot.
TIERNEY: And it must be fun and hard, though, because it's all these different actors and all this energy and all these personalities and you have to --
HANKS: But I get -- I get to look forward to each segment as it rolls along.
HANKS: Like there's a moment where we -- we have a big thing with you, and then I have a big thing with Courtney.
TIERNEY: Yes, right.
HANKS: I have a big thing with Chris. Peter comes and goes. Mumbling other people's lines.
Parts of the show. But that's what the pieces -- I have to say, I think we all look forward to coming to work every day thus far.
MORGAN: Maura, you played Alice, who is the wife of McAlary.
MORGAN: And she actually came, his wife -- his widow, to see the play recently. What was that like for you?
TIERNEY: Well, I had met her briefly, we rehearsed for about a month and then I have decided I wanted to meet her just to meet her without having it affect what we were working on in the room. And she's a lovely, very intelligent woman who is lovely and she said I'm coming to the show March 16th and I said OK, and I clocked that away, that Alice was coming March 16th but Alice came March 9th so I was really thrown but I think she liked it. I think that she liked it.
HANKS: And she had her youngest --
TIERNEY: Her youngest and her oldest.
SCOLARI: Both sons, actually. Ryan and Quinn were there.
HANKS: Who are mentioned in the show, you know, obliquely but very importantly.
TIERNEY: Yes. And she was very moved and I think -- it was important for me that she -- and I think she --
HANKS: I don't know how you do that, honestly. How do you do that?
TIERNEY: I don't know. You know what she said? I wish I could just take him home for a night.
(LAUGHTER) MORGAN: Is that what she said?
HANKS: That's sweet. Oh, dear. Dear. I feel weepy.
TIERNEY: Yes. Sorry. She did say that.
HANKS: Boy, that says it.
MORGAN: Because you did -- but you bear an uncanny resemblance to him.
MORGAN: I mean, he was a bit more thick.
HANKS: He was -- yes, he was very tall. The thing that everybody told me about McAlary, everybody who knew him says, as soon as he walked in the room you thought he was a cop. There was a big impressive forbidding -- foreboding demeanor to him.
MORGAN: I mean, he's not -- he's not designed to be a particularly likable character. He's a rough and tough tabloid crime reporter at a time when as you said they had huge power. Playing somebody who's not designed to be that likable a bit of a department for you. Did you find that difficult?
HANKS: No, because I understand -- I understand the desire to be in game. And I understand the competitive aspect of it. I think we are all competitive to a degree. And I think we all would kill for these kind of assignments.
I could string together sentences but they might not make any sense. I would need an expert editor like Courtney Vance.
MORGAN: Courtney, you play the editor. Do you think, after all the time you spent together -- would he have made a good tabloid crime --
VANCE: I don't know if I would be able to deal with that schedule that they have, that daily -- that daily pressure.
MORGAN: Maura, you yourself went through a cancer battle. Your performance is very raw and very emotional, almost as if you're slightly remembering yourself, what it was like.
TIERNEY: I think that people put that on me, to be quite honest. I think I'm just trying to do my job. And I think if that's a perception to be put on it that I'm not acting, I would like to think that I'm acting.
HANKS: We get to hear her as Alice say, after you've been through much, life is supposed to be grand. And to be able to be back there, we can all relate to that concept of witnessing going through something that is tough. And then after that, where's the reward? Where's the reward> Where's my badge? TIERNEY: And that's what the story is. That's the story telling, which is what I'm trying to do. I guess everybody's life -- everyone's life informs the work that they do.
MORGAN: To have that power to reduce people to tears, which you've done in many of the movies you've made, is quite something to have that. I go to a movie a week --
HANKS: But it's all about the piece. It's all about what everybody else has gone through. I don't know -- Courtney did 9,000 performances of "Fences" or something, about as serious an undertaking as you're going to get. I think we have all been able to be in things that you just give yourself over to the image of what the person who created it was, and the bosses who put it all together. We're all part of this kind of palate.
MORGAN: Some actors say they -- and it's the reason I asked you the question I asked you actually, is that they think when they have to be emotional, in a stage play or a movie, they force themselves to think about sad things that have happened in their lives or tragic or dramatic. Do you ever do that?
HANKS: No. It's all about what the piece is. I think when you're younger before you have the kind of life experience, that's a way that you can -- that's a means to an end. But as you -- look, I'm 56. We --
TIERNEY: I'm not.
VANCE: That's a line from the play.
HANKS: We dyed her hair to make her look older. But now, you are involved in what the story itself is. Look, if anything, it is the emotional core of all of this. It's what Nora's vision and sensibility was, and her translating of the Mike McAlary (ph) story.
MORGAN: When we come back, the question all women have wondered for years: is Tom Hanks a good kisser? I ask someone who knows the answer. And it may surprise you.
MORGAN: Welcome back. Tom Hanks' Broadway debut may never have happened if the script hadn't been written by his late great friend, Nora Ephron. Now he tells me why he loved working with her so much.
It's an amazing script, the richness of the writing. Why do you think Nora -- you knew her as well as anyone. Why do you think she got so entranced by --
HANKS: I feel bad for everybody else, because I did know Nora. And if you guys had met her, I mean, you -- we worked in the workshop of her --
VANCE: I knew her for 10 minutes.
HANKS: Yeah. A year ago. Look, I'll have to say that Nora was a journalist in the best sense that a journalist could be. She was fascinated by what people did. She was completely entertained by human folly. And I think she was genuinely impressed and moved by human achievements. And I think that's what this play is. I think that's what all of her writing has been about, and certainly the films that I was able to be a part of.
Nora would -- could look -- in this case, with all of our characters, she knew Hap; she knew Eddy; she -- I bet you she --
HANKS: And she interviewed Alice, you know, for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours. And so her fascinating with the way these people's lives intersected around Mike McAlary, I think she knows that that was a unique thing that could only happen with very specific people. And it could only happen in a very specific time, in the potboiler atmosphere of New York tabloids.
MORGAN: Christopher, you bring a lovely light touch to the play. When you come out, everyone goes crazy.
HANKS: For some reason.
HANKS: We are all perplexed by this reaction.
MORGAN: You play this cunning lawyer doing these great deals. Because Mike McAlary, the fascinating thing about him was he was almost a million dollar hack. He was getting these huge contracts through his smart lawyer to be this top dog crime reporter switching between the news and the Post and so on. Tell me about the role you play.
MCDONALD: I play Eddie Hayes, which is -- he is a phenomenal lawyer in New York. He handled the big Whorrel (ph) case and made himself a household name that way in New York. He wrote a great book called "Mouthpiece," which has been my Bible. He befriended Mike McAlary as he wanted to live in a house that I was selling out in Bellport. Changed his life in that he had to make more money to afford this lifestyle for his wife and kids, because Alice deserved that life.
And in that, he became the highest paid -- took the workload that he did, but the highest paid journalist in New York City. Bigger than his idol.
HANKS: And the fall that everybody else benefited from --
MCDONALD: Absolutely. Daley and Hap and everybody.
HANKS: And more money for writers. MORGAN: And quite right, too. Courtney, you are married to a very famous actress and performer. Have any of the views of all of you changed about tabloid?
VANCE: It hasn't softened my fury. I think we just try to keep a low profile as we can, just do what we do and scurry away. I think TMZ is at the airport waiting for us.
HANKS: I would have to say that celebrities are a dime a dozen. You know, honestly, I don't -- you can do almost anything and become a celebrity now. I think the price has gone down. There was -- I don't want to tell a huge story here, but there was one time where I cornered a guy who was photographing.
I was just out walking my dog. I said dude, who cares about me and my dog. He said I was actually trying to get somebody else's picture and you walked by. But I sat him down, I said look, look, OK, how does this work exactly? And I got him to confess to me that on a good year, as a celebrity photographer -- this was years ago -- on a good year, he could make 1.5 million dollars from his surreptitious photographs.
TIERNEY: You would be a good reporter.
HANKS: OK, all right. I said OK, all right, that's a good year. What's a lousy year? What's your standard year? He said a standard year's about 150,000 a year. Now, I guarantee you that guy doesn't make that money anymore because the pictures aren't that valuable.
MORGAN: But do you -- as some do, do you resent the attention of paparazzi?
HANKS: No, no.
MORGAN: Or are they part of the business?
HANKS: Part of the business.
MORGAN: You're dashing off, Maura, leaving me with the chaps.
TIERNEY: The dudes.
MORGAN: Before you go, you do kiss Tom Hanks.
TIERNEY: Several times.
MORGAN: Is he a good kisser?
MORGAN: How good?
VANCE: Should we leave? We'll leave.
HANKS: No, no.
There's a passion in the McAlary marriage.
TIERNEY: Absolutely. No hesitation, I said yes.
MORGAN: You'll get to kiss him -- I'm trying to work it out -- probably another 500 times.
HANKS: Let's see, there is act one. There's the bar. There's a couple bedroom smooches.
TIERNEY: Sometimes in Bellfore kitchen, not always.
HANKS: She actually has a bunch of lips stamps. And she Xs out one.
TIERNEY: Like an advent calendar for kissing.
HANKS: That's right.
MORGAN: Maura, you are excused after that --
MORGAN: Thank you very much.
HANKS: We love Maura.
TIERNEY: I love the guys.
MORGAN: Coming up, Tom's costars talk about their favorite Tom Hanks movies. Plus a moment from the great man you might not expect.
HANKS: Can you say that on CNN?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANKS: She made everything beautiful. It's just tough this time of year. A kid needs a mother.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could it be that you need someone just as much as Jonah does?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was "Sleepless in Seattle," Tom Hanks' first movie with Nora Ephron. I asked her son, Jacob Bernstein, about his mother's life as a writer.
MORGAN: And I'm joined now by Jacob Bernstein. Before we could get to you, Richard Barrows over there is actually the guy who draws these amazing cartoon pictures all over the walls of this restaurant. Richard, good to see you.
MORGAN: You are actually drawing a portrait there of Nora Ephron. Wow.
MORGAN: Fabulous, fabulous. Jacob, good to see you. Jacob, you wrote a very moving piece for the "New York Times" recently about your mother. One of the things that really struck me about it, other than just the extraordinary gift she had for writing, was the strength and inspiration she drew from Mike McAlary's early death from cancer, when she herself, as she began to finish the script, knew that she was also dying of cancer.
Tell me about that.
JACOB BERNSTEIN, SON OF NORA EPHRON: Well, I think that she saw him -- obviously McAlary was not a perfect person. He was a somewhat problematic husband and a somewhat problematic colleague and perhaps too motivated by money. But he found in the last days of his life, particularly when the Luema story broke -- he just went at it whole hog and he knew he was sick. And I think that she was, in a lot of ways, in a race to get as much done as she could.
You know, I think that that happens and work becomes its own kind of medicine and escape from illness. But my mother also didn't know she was dying until the end. That is, you know --
MORGAN: She knew she was sick and she didn't share that really with almost anybody.
MORGAN: Did you know, Tom?
HANKS: Not a clue.
MORGAN: It must have been a huge shock to everyone.
HANKS: Yes, it was. It was. Look, this is part of the reason why Nora is one of the most amazing people in the world, because she knew that if she had told us early on, whatever problems we had, the first question everybody would ask her well, how are you feeling. And that was just -- there's just no way to live. It puts a cramp on the great adventure and she didn't want that. So no, me and many other people who loved her very much didn't find out until literally 48 hours before.
MORGAN: Tom was, in many ways, your mother's go-to guy for movies, whether it was "Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail," or this performance now. What was it about Tom, do you think, that your mother loved so much?
BERNSTEIN: Well, he's the best. But also he's funny and charming.
MORGAN: OK. Enough of this.
HANKS: All that. All that and more, on the next Piers Brosnan.
MORGAN: Let me ask other guys who have watched this guy's work over the years. What to you is the favorite Tom Hanks performance? Peter, start with you.
SCOLARI: It's "Road To Perdition." It's not possible. It's just what I felt knowing Tom, and going back so long and having done so many silly, ridiculous, somewhat useless things together. I called him and I said I don't know how it's possible. And that's the -- that's one of the most extraordinary things about actors.
You know, we can be bone headed and half dead. And because of a tech's nuances, the notes, the rhythms, because of a great director and cast, this extraordinary, ridiculous, there's no business like showbiz's thing. At the core of that is something really poetic and extraordinary. It's what an actor can accomplish that's greater than themselves.
MORGAN: Courtney, your favorite Hanks?
HANKS: Are we going to go through them all now?
VANCE: Yes, we are. So sit there and just listen.
I'm going to go with "Perdition," but for a different reason. It was that scene where the -- his older son sits down and asks him, you know, why didn't you like me?
HANKS: And we shared that because of your scene in "Fences."
VANCE: It absolutely tore me. What tore me apart was the fact that Tom, after he said, OK, OK, and he got up and left, he went right back to his work. It tore me apart.
HANKS: -- Mendez directed that.
MCDONALD: Big fan I am of "Perdition," I'm going to have to say "Philadelphia." I absolutely loved the movie. I loved his performance. He just transformed himself into a very sick AIDS patient who basically died from it. It was the only time in my life I have written the letter. I wrote it to Tom, who I didn't know. I just said, hey, you know, you, sir, make us all -- we're not ripping apart hotel rooms to get attention or anything. You're just doing great work and you're a family man and I love you for that.
And he wrote me back. And I was like, wow.
MORGAN: What did he say?
MCDONALD: He said you, sir, are a groove. I still have it.
MORGAN: That's fantastic.
HANKS: Larry Crown? Nobody?
MORGAN: Nobody at all.
HANKS: You bastards. Can you say that on CNN?
MORGAN: If I said to you you've got three hours left to live, not that you have, what's the movie you'd make again?
HANKS: If I had three hours to live, I would not be making a movie, sir. That's the only option. I would have to say -- I would probably say "Apollo 13."
HANKS: Yeah. You know, you develop an ensemble and it sticks for three or four months. But Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton and I in that little cold capsule, talking to Ronny Howard on our radio, that was about as pleasant a time as I could imagine.
MORGAN: When we come back, why one of Tom Hanks' favorite movies doesn't star Tom Hanks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANKS: Don't cry, shop girl. Don't cry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's from 1998's "You've Got Mail," another classic collaboration between Tom Hanks and Nora Ephron. The cast of "Lucky Guy" tell me how they feel about bringing her work to life in Broadway.
How important is it to you, personally, to be -- and all of you actually to be making what turned out to be Nora's last work?
VANCE: I'm just proud to have been -- you know, to have done that reading. And, you know, I didn't -- I thought that was the end of it. I never thought that it would --
SCOLARI: Yeah, we were involved a year ago, Courtney and I with Tom. And I have a note from Nora that -- it sounds corny, but it means a lot to have even that fleeting connection with -- with her. What a lovely woman.
MCDONALD: I missed out. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to meet her. But I've been a big fan for so many years. It's a real honor to be doing a play about the quintessential New York, about a great time in New York City, from the mid-'80s to the late-'90s when tabloid journalism was at its height.
HANKS: You know, "Julia and Julia" was almost an un-Nora-esque film, because it was about to women. But her love for cooking and love for writing and love for all of this goes along. I think that was, in a lot of ways, the last and for me a quintessential Nora Ephron film. It was different in ways than all the others.
And this -- I think when we all read, you know, "Lucky Guy" for the first time, we all though, well, I've never seen this before. This takes an insider. And this takes an insider with a story telling gene that other people don't have. I think we're all part of something that is one-time only, a confluence of Nora's talent and, without a doubt, the horrible timing that went along with it.
MORGAN: Well, it's a stunning play. It's already taken a huge amount at the box office. But I think that the reality is, when it opens, it will live up to that. It's just got a magic to it, which is a lot to do with your mom, Jacob. I think the writing is just extraordinary.
Also, I think -- and I got this from this interview today, the great chemistry that you guys all have as a cast is very palpable. And that comes through on the stage, as well.
HANKS: I think we're the '36 Yankees. Maybe not the '27 Yankees but '36 --
MCDONALD: '55 Yankees.
MORGAN: Well, I'm predictably pleased, because, of course, for anybody who has worked in the tabloid industry, this is putting us right back on the map where we belong.
HANGS: Yeah, right where -- If there's anything we hope we accomplished with "Lucky Guy," it's to get tabloid journalism --
MORGAN: Rehabilitation. Gentlemen, thank you all very much, indeed. And best of luck.
HANKS: Can't wait to come on TV and talk about you guys.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. There's breaking news tonight in a "360" exclusive.