As part of The Hollywood Reporter’s Oscars Roundtable, they gathered a few of Hollywood’s leading men for a chat about the state of the industry today. It’s safe to say that Hollywood — and media,music, food, and so many other industries — is reckoning with the fallout of the Weinstein Effect. Tom Hanks, a veteran actor who’s been in movies since 1980, had some particularly pointed comments to make about safety on set.
When asked if the wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations are surprising to him, Hanks firmly said “no.” He continued, “there’s a lot of reasons people do this for a living. Making a movie is a life experience that can create an awful lot of joy…That’s the good stuff. The bad stuff can happen on a movie as well. There are some people who go into this business because they get off on having power…There are predators absolutely everywhere.”
Hanks even discussed the practicalities of handling workplace harassment, and how the entertainment industry sometimes feels like it doesn’t need to abide by ethics. When he worked on a film and had an inappropriate situation arise, he said “we produced a project in which someone said, ‘There is an element of harassment that’s going on here.’ And as soon as we heard, you’ve got to jump right in. You talk to every one of the guilds and find out what happened and you go there immediately.”
Unfortunately, he notes, things in Hollywood can be especially inappropriate, because of the “circus” culture of the set. “There’s stuff that happens on a set that can be really inappropriate, and there can be that type of predatory aspect on a set because you think, “Well, we’re in the circus and we’re on the road, so therefore the rules don’t really apply,” he explains.
Ultimately, Hanks believes that the industry can and should change. “I think eventually everybody who has a production office is going to have a code of ethics and behavior. If you don’t follow these, you will not work here.”
You can watch a clip from the roundtable below. The full roundtable premieres on January 28 on Sundance TV.