Recently, it was announced that Tom Hanks is playing Fred Rogers, creator and host of the long-running public access show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in the forthcoming biopic You Are My Friend. This got me to thinking: Is Tom Hanks the white Chadwick Boseman?
Wait, hear me out.
Chadwick, the 41-year-old star of Marvel’s latest blockbuster Black Panther, has seemingly played every historical black figure that has ever existed. It's not that he looks like every one of these brothers, but more likely due to the lack of quality roles for black actors made available by an industry ran by white men. As a result, Boseman’s current resume has turned into a bit of a running joke on Twitter. Like, “I can’t wait for Chadwick to play Barack,” or “Man, Chadwick needs to play LeBron if they win another championship,” and when it was announced that Gucci Mane was working on a biopic based on his recent autobiography, Twitter again suggested that Boseman should portray the Atlanta rapper, because... Why not?
While Hanks has played dozens of different characters during his prolific career, he has starred in numerous “based on true events” type movies over the years as well. But for this to be an accurate assessment, let’s compare their resumes.
So far, Boseman has played Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get on Up, running back Floyd Little in The Express, Thoth in Gods of Egypt (we’re counting this because who knows if gods were real people, honestly? Don’t fall for the tricknology, my brothers. Wipe the crust off your third eye.), Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, and *fingers crossed* Gucci Mane one of these days. By that count, Chadwick’s bio flick total rivals that of only Tom Hanks.
Starting out as a comedic actor, Hanks eventually turned himself into a superstar by playing other famous white men. He started with very loosely based biographies like A League of Their Own, in which he played manager Jimmy Dugan (based on Jimmie Foxx and Hack Wilson) and Philadelphia (where he played a lawyer named Andrew Beckett, who was based on attorney Geoffrey Bowers). From there, Hanks' IMDB looks like a biopic binge fest. Since the mid-90s he's starred in:
Apollo 13 (1995)
Playing astronaut Jim Lovell, a key member of the Apollo 13 crew whose moon landing mission went awry.
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Hanks’ character Carl Hanratty was loosely based on FBI Special Agent Joseph Shea, who was responsible for capturing Frank Abagnale (played by Leonardo DiCaprio).
The Terminal (2004)
He played Viktor Navorski whose one-year stay at a JFK terminal in the movie was inspired by Mehran Karimi Nasseri’s 18-year stay at France’s Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)
He portrayed U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson whose Operation Cyclone helped Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan War.
Captain Phillips (2013)
My guy played Richard Phillips who was the captain of a merchant ship that got hijacked by pirates off the coast of Africa.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
In this film, he played the ultimate white man Walt Disney around the time he was trying to develop Mary Poppins.
Bridge of Spies (2015)
Hanks portrayed lawyer James B. Donovan who was tasked with representing KGB spy Rudolf Abel in a trial during the Cold War.
Here he plays the pilot who famously landed a plane on the Hudson, saving hella human lives in the process. Not sure if we needed a movie about this, but we def needed Tom fucking Hanks to play him.
The Post (2017)
Hanks portrays the Washington Post editor-in-chief in the story about how the paper got their hands on the Pentagon Papers which documented the U.S. government’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
Now there's the aforementioned You Are My Friend, where he’s going to play sweater and comfortable sneaker enthusiast Mister Rogers.
There you have it, folks, proof that Tom Hanks is the white Chadwick Boseman. And of course, technically my dude Chadwick is the black Hanks, but nobody ever brings up the fact that Thomas Jeffrey Hanks has played mad white men, whether it be regular cats like Sully and Captain Phillips to historical figures like Walt Disney and homie from that Bridge of Spies movie (I watched it on an airplane).
And let us not forget that Hanks is so obsessed with being in movies inspired by true events that he let Robert Zemeckis put him in damn near every historical moment imaginable between the '60s and the '80s in Forrest Gump. My guy has issues. At least Chadwick is playing important black figures, and hopefully he gets to play Gucci, which will probably be the most challenging role of his career besides Black Panther.