For two years, Tom Hanks pounded the streets of the city searching for a job. He recalls those times with mixed emotions. “[New York] was a dangerous, fabulous, ugly, beautiful place.” He worried about how to keep his family warm when the boiler in the apartment broke down. He worried about the bills.
But he was also doing what he wanted to do — and it eventually paid off. He was spotted on an ABC “cattle call,” asked to come back for more interviews, flown to LA, screen tested, and finally selected for the role of Kip Wilson in “Bosom Buddies.” Now when Tom Hanks comes to New York, he walks around incognito.
MORE: See the “Bosom Buddies” theme song & opening credits below!
Kicking and screaming
Performing on the sitcom, Hanks said, has made him more realistic about things and much more critical of his own work — “It’s only made me crave to be better.”
And, of course, there are the financial windfalls. He just bought a car, a Japanese model to conserve energy, and he’s thinking about buying a house. (He now lives with this wife and four-year-old son in a rented home.) “I have an accountant who says, ‘If you don’t buy a house, you’re going to lose your shirt.'” Hanks mimicked in a heavy Yiddish accent. “So there’s all those kinds of pressures. The business world has opened up, and I’m sort of being dropped, kicking and screaming.”
But inside, Hanks is still the some funny, down-to-earth guy, and, except for his sense of humor, he feels he is quite unlike Kip Wilson. “This guy I am playing is extremely fashion-conscious, which I am not.” (Dressed in worn denim and a blue plaid flannel shirt, with a Mickey Mouse watch around his wrist, Hanks is a walking testament of that.)
“He’s pretty much up on his latest, which I am not. And he attempts to be a gad about town at times, which I am not. The sense of humor is the same, because that is the nature of the way we rehearse — the give-and-take, the flow, the improvisation. So a lot of things Kip thinks are funny, I think are funny, too. But I could never live with a guy in that situation, not for an instant,” Hanks quickly added. “And I don’t think I’ve ever been as close to a good friend as Kip and Henry. I think I’m a bit more of a loner, a stay-at-home sort of guy.”
In the show. Kip and Henry work at a Madison Avenue advertising agency and live in an all-girls boarding house. This season, the show is focusing less and less on the hotel, and more on Kip and Henry’s personal and professional lives.
That also means there will be fewer occasions in which the two will have to dress in drag, which pleases Hanks to no end. “It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like doing it, because all aspects of the show are fun, but I think we really just exhausted that premise for comedy.”
While Hanks would never say he and his co-star, Peter Scolari, are as ‘tight’ as Kip and Henry, he does share a close relationship with his co-star.
“It’s kind of ridiculous. because we’re turning into best friends. He lives near me, so I usually get a ride into work with him, and we talk things over. And he gives me a ride home. And if I’m coming to New York at the same time he is, I give him a call. At times, we look to each other for guidance and suggestions and bona fide help about what we’re doing with the show, and our feelings about it.”
Both Hanks and Scolari come from the same type of “ensemble” school of acting — Hanks, from the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival (in Cleveland), and Scolari from the Colonies Theater Lab. And a major factor in developing their friendship has been that they have almost the identical system of working, Hanks said.
“The way we get going during rehearsals is very much the same. We have the same technique, the same sort of background, and very much the same sort of training — which has helped quite a bit. It helped us in the early going, and is just solidifying more and more as we go. So, Peter and I are ‘Bosom Buddies,’ which shames me, shames me to say,” he kibbitzed. “But it’s pretty much the case.”
“Bosom Buddies” is currently on hiatus. it has achieved respectable ratings thus far this year, and ABC just ordered seven more episodes (making a total of 13). So it will be back, probably in January as a replacement series.
Bosom Buddies original opening credits/theme song (video)
The “Bosom Buddies” version of Billy Joel’s song “My Life” was sung by Gary Bennett