cover image The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece

Tom Hanks. Knopf, $32.50 (448p) ISBN 978-0-525-65559-6

Actor Hanks explores the making of a superhero film epic in his entertaining debut novel (after the collection Uncommon Type). In 1947, Bob Falls finds it difficult to adapt back to civilian life after returning from the battlefields of WWII. In 1970, his artist nephew, Robby Andersen, creates a comic book series titled The Legend of Firefall inspired by his uncle’s experiences wielding a flamethrower in the Pacific theater. In the present, writer-director-producer Bill Johnson decides to use Andersen’s comic as the basis for a superhero film. Cast as Firefall is O.K. Bailey, an actor whose ego knows no bounds, while the female lead, Wren Lake, is as savvy as she is beautiful and talented. The shoot gets underway in Robby’s hometown of Lone Butte, Calif., where the production is complicated by marital disharmony between a rising star actor and his neglected wife, the unexpected death of a beloved character actor, and a stalker who threatens Wren’s life. Pages from Firefall, illustrated by R. Sikoryak, appear throughout and are a hoot (in one panel, Firefall’s sergeant gives the order “light ’em up” while lighting Firefall’s cigarette). Neither slashing satire nor moody melodrama, this sincerely Hanksian paean to the people behind the scenes of a movie production comes to life with great characters. It’s a winner. (May)