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The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece

By Tom Hanks and R. Sikoryak
The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks and R. Sikoryak digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the legendary actor and best-selling author: a novel about the making of a star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film...and the humble comic books that inspired it. Funny, touching, and wonderfully thought-provoking, while also capturing the changes in America and American culture since World War II.

"Wild, ambitious and exceptionally enjoyable." —Matt Haig, best-selling author The Midnight Library, The Humans and Reasons to Stay Alive

Part One of this story takes place in 1947. A troubled soldier, returning from the war, meets his talented five-year-old nephew, leaves an indelible impression, and then disappears for twenty-three years.

Cut to 1970: The nephew, now drawing underground comic books in Oakland, California, reconnects with his uncle and, remembering the comic book he saw when he was five, draws a new version with his uncle as a World War II fighting hero. 

Cut to the present day: A commercially successful director discovers the 1970 comic book and decides to turn it into a contemporary superhero movie.

Cue the cast: We meet the film’s extremely difficult male star, his wonderful leading lady, the eccentric writer/director, the producer, the gofer production assistant, and everyone else on both sides of the camera.

Bonus material: Interspersed throughout are three comic books that are featured in the story—all created by Tom Hanks himself—including the comic book that becomes the official tie-in to this novel’s "major motion picture masterpiece."

1 Review


“"He calls moviemaking the Carboard Carnival. The moment a customer buys a ticket, he provides them the distraction from life they crave at the cost of a few bucks." It's no surprise that an award-winning actor would write a book about moviemaking – you write what you know, right? This is Tom Hanks' first novel and it's all about something he's an expert in. Bill Johnson is an acclaimed director and screenwriter. So when someone asks whether he'll direct a superhero film in a massive MCU-like universe, he's dismissive, until he looks at the pitch and decides he can put his own stamp on it. He's partly inspired by a character in a decades-old comic book, a soldier fighting in World War II, a flamethrower who struggles to come to terms with what he's seen, named Firefall. Flashback to 1947 when a five-year-old boy – Bobby – who loves to draw comics meets his uncle – an ex-soldier – for the first time. The man isn't around for very long but leaves a lasting impression on his nephew, so much so that the adult Bobby draws a comic book about him called Firefall. Bill combines the Firefall character with another superhero character – a woman with superpowers who suffers from incurable insomnia, creating a script that is pure gold. The book explores the search for the perfect cast, the intricacies and minutia of actually making a motion picture, how the stress of filmmaking takes a toll on relationships and also the beauty of creating something that takes forever to make, and only a couple of hours to consume. There are some great characters in this book, particularly Bill's super-efficient assistant, Al Mac-Teer, and her ride-share driver, Inez, who also comes to play a part in making the film. And then there is Bobby and his uncle... I wanted so much more from that arc. In fact, I felt like their story was the best part of this novel, rather than the filmmaking itself. My biggest complaint about the book is that it gets bogged down by too much detail. There is a plethora of footnotes explaining a bunch of incredibly irrelevant and excruciatingly boring technicalities about moviemaking and the backgrounds of VERY minor and almost irrelevant characters. The NetGalley format was also so poor that the footnotes would appear several pages later so I constantly had to jump back and forth on my Kindle to read them. I felt like the book needed a different editor – just like in the movies, a good editor can make a BIG difference. I would have cut the majority of the footnotes and incorporated the rest into the main plot. The annotations distracted me from the main story, which is, mostly, highly enjoyable. Is it the kind of book you'd enjoy with a bowl of popcorn? Yes. Is it a masterpiece? I don't think so.”

About Tom Hanks

TOM HANKS has won Academy Awards for best actor for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. He has starred in, among many other films, Big, Sleepless in Seattle, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, Cast Away, Catch Me If You Can, Captain Phillips, Bridge of Spies, Sully, Toy Story, The Post, and It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker. He is also the author of a best-selling collection of stories, Uncommon Type.

R. Sikoryak is a cartoonist and an author based in New York City. His illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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