Culture Street

Tom Hanks captured a nation as special guest on Desert Island Discs for BBC Radio 4. From Big to Sleepless in Seattle, Captain Phillips to Apollo 13, his long and distinguished career has brought him multiple awards. He has eight Emmys, one Bafta and four Golden Globes. He won the first of his two Oscars in 1993 for Philadelphia and again the following year for Forrest Gump.

Hanks selected eight music tracks that he would want with him if he was stranded on a desert island. He also singled out a book and one item to keep him company.

The loneliness of his childhood inspired many of his choices. As a child he lived an itinerant life with his father after his parents split up, moving ten times by the time he was ten. He admits that it was probably the isolation he felt that drove him to the acting profession.

His music selection was chosen for its emotional connection to a time and place in his life. When listening to each track Hanks said it brought back a moment in the past.

At the age of 21 he was an aspiring actor needing to support a wife and young child. He admitted it was the best thing that happened to him. He was not smoking pot but caring for a child and in bed by 10.30pm.

He lived in New York but soon was offered work in LA. For him the defining moment came when watching a Stanley Kubrick film. The night before he saw 2001: A Space Odyssey he couldn’t sleep. Sitting in the cinema listening to the opening he realised that cinema is nothing more than a collection of colour and sound. “An emotional wallop”. Hanks confessed that watching this film was the wow moment for him as a young man yearning to be an artist. Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, which is played at the opening of the film, is the piece of music he says he couldn’t do without. If he had to save one track from the depths of the ocean this would be the one.

In 1988 he met his second wife Rita Wilson. He knew then he would never be lonely again. On their first date he took Wilson to see the Talking Heads concert film. Hanks had to go back to the Talking Heads track Once in a Lifetime for his latest film Hologram for the King.

His collection finished with the resounding Layla by Derek and the Dominoes. The book he would take with him As a Castaway was A World Lit Only by Fire by William Manchester and the item was a working manual typewriter and paper. Hanks even knew the model number - Hermes 3000, made in Switzerland.

You can listen to Hanks's entire collection below.

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