Tom Hanks is an accomplished man, a two-time Academy Award winner with a family, a string of famous hobbies, nonprofit work, and of course dozens of movie and TV credits to his name. All that has made an American icon, but Hanks also apparently had the opportunity recently to add "astronaut" to his resume courtesy of billionaire Jeff Bezos… provided he was willing to pay up.
Hanks stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live this week to promote his new sci-fi film Finch, and in between discussions of everything from his love of manual typewriters to what it was like working with a dog named Seamus to make the movie, Kimmel decided to ask Hanks if it was true that Jeff Bezos had offered the actor a chance to fly into space aboard one of his Blue Origin crafts.
According to Kimmel, he’d heard that Hanks was offered the ride even before Star Trek legend William Shatner had the chance.
"Well, yeah, provided I pay," Hanks confirmed.
A shocked Kimmel responded "Really?!" at the idea that Hanks would be asked to buy a ticket for a flight that was clearly meant to draw tons of publicity for Blue Origin, which Hanks took as an opportunity to riff a little on the idea.
"And you know, it costs like 28 million bucks or something like that," Hanks. "And I’m doing good, Jimmy. "I’m doing good, but I ain’t payin’ 28 [million] bucks. You know what? We could simulate the experience of going to space right now. It’s about a 12-minute flight? Is that about it?"
So, thanks to his experience shooting films like Apollo 13, Hanks gave the audience a demonstration of spaceflight using his chair as a prop, first leaning back and vibrating through a launch, then pretending to unbuckle his seatbelt and float in zero gravity before buckling up for re-entry. That’s the kind of attention to craft that’ll get you two Oscars, right there. Plus, that simulated flight was a whole lot cheaper than the one Bezos was offering up.
Even if Hanks never gets to fly to space himself (and hey, he’s got plenty of time to try and make that happen), he’s definitely got the make-believe version down. Finch, in which Hanks plays a robotics engineer who might be the last man on Earth after a cataclysmic event destroyed human civilization, hits Apple TV+ on Friday.