Tom Hanks takes on recession in "Larry Crowne"

Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:54pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Tom Hanks has always enjoyed a challenge. After all, his break-out role came playing a woman in TV's "Bosom Buddies."

He co-starred with a volleyball in "Cast Away" and played a gay man with AIDS in "Philadelphia" at a time (1993) when playing gay in Hollywood was thought to be a career killer.

So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that on Friday, the Hollywood star is bringing out his newest movie, "Larry Crowne" about a man who loses his job due to the recession, at a time when so many people are out of work.

To heighten the risk, Hanks not only stars in the movie, he directed it and co-wrote the screenplay with "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" writer Nia Vardalos.

Making "Larry Crowne" a box office hit will be a challenge to say the least, especially during the summer when movie theaters are filled with big-budget, effects-filled films like "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."

But Hanks feels that he and his movie, which co-stars Julia Roberts, are up to the challenge, and he thinks "Larry Crowne" has one key secret for its potential success. It's not about loss, so much as about hope for the future.

"We are competing in a marketplace in which the thing we might have going for us is the true battle against cynicism," he said. "That's what 'Larry Crowne' is about more than anything else."

Hanks plays the title character who is fired from a Walmart-like store where he's worked for decades. Divorced, with a mortgage and a gas-guzzling SUV, he enrolls in college to start over, taking classes taught by a teacher (Julia Roberts) with her own problems.   Continued...

<p>Director and cast member Tom Hanks poses at the world premiere of "Larry Crowne" at the Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 27, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>