By Harry Haun
02 Apr 2013

View the Entire Photo Gallery
Tom Hanks
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
“It’s a beast,” he admitted about his newfound stage demands, later at the Gotham Hall after-party. “I might have had a little more time off in the earlier drafts, but not any more. But we all work. This is not just a couple of guys at a lectern with some slides going by. There are 14 of us on stage, and I’d say 12 of us have very important things to do. Everybody gets to play. That’s more fun than doing it any other way.”

There are moments when Hanks bears an uncanny resemblance to McAlary—mostly when he smiles and his eyes crinkle above a commanding mustache. “He had a real bristle brush. It stuck out. Mine hangs down. It’s a different kind of thing. This is the best I could do.” Off-stage, he has grown accustomed to his new shrubbery. “I had to make my peace with it, but now I don’t think I even have it anymore.”

His is such a fully-formed performance one might well wonder where he has been keeping himself all these years. First, he dirt-kicks (“Well, I didn’t have the chops for a long time. Broadway is a place of accomplished singers and dancers”), and then he responds with the real reason: “I can’t say the opportunity was always there because it wasn’t, and eventually it came around, but, quite frankly, I was in my child-bearing years to take this on. I had kids, and I don’t think you can just go off and say, ‘Dad is going to go away and try to have a Broadway play to last more than ten performances.’ It’s not fair to them. My kids are all grown up, so here I am.”

The fact that Lucky Guy was written by Ephron most likely gave him the extra shove he needed to get to Broadway. The two previously teamed (she as writer and/or director) on “A League of Their Own,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.”

Buy this Limited Collector's Edition

“You covered everything with Nora. You could be working, and you’ll be talking about personal things. You could be on vacation and talking about cultural history. You could be having a very lazy breakfast, and you would be talking about Saddam Hussein. Nora was one of those fascinating people because she was fascinated by everything. She always had the great question, and she always listened as well as she talked. That kind of a person is one of a kind. She was a Renaissance woman in all of these sorts of ways. She was not jaded. She was not a cynical person. She never suffered fools lightly, but she was always doing things that were so interesting. I would say, ‘Nora, why are you doing this and why are you doing that?’ And she said, ‘Never turn down a front-row seat for human folly.’ It might be somebody speaking at the U.N. or it might be a new type of Tupperware that’s coming out.

“Nora was one who had a huge affection for the tabloids. She read them every day, and she paid attention to all the writers and all the bylines. She knew it because she did not censor the fact that it’s a pulse of something—it measures something.”

He said he has been won over to Ephron’s way of thinking about tabloids. “I kinda get it now,” he confessed. “I get it as an art form. I get it as a job. I get it as a thing that really does, somehow, serve the pulse of a city because there’s no wi-fi in the subway. It’s better to be reading the Post or the News than playing angry birds. I think they both do a thing. I think you get the hearts and the clubs in one paper, and you get the diamonds and the spades in the other. Together, they make a full deck.”