In a 2022 interview with the New York Times, Tom Hanks was asked about rumors that he and Aaron Sorkin decided that audiences wouldn’t want to see him snorting coke in “Charlie Wilson’s War.” He responded by talking about giant spiders.
In the 1933 version of “King Kong,” there is a scene where some adventurers are knocked off a log bridge by the big irate monkey. They fall into a ravine and that’s the end of them. There were further horrors to come in the original cut. At the bottom of the ravine, they are attacked by giant spiders. The director decided to chop it, however, because audiences were no longer scared of Kong after seeing the ghastly creatures in the pit.
His theory is that there are certain things, like giant spiders in a movie about a huge gorilla or Tom Hanks taking Grade-A drugs, that can potentially upstage the story. Would his character indulging in a little nose candy have been that giant spider moment for “Charlie Wilson’s War?” We’ll never know, but the movie does have a scene with him sitting in a hot tub with topless women while another guy rubs cocaine on his gums. Even this all feels a little uncomfortable for a Tom Hanks character.
The interesting thing about the rumor is what it says about Hanks’ public persona. No one felt scandalized by Uma Thurman doing a line in the bathroom in “Pulp Fiction,” or Leonardo DiCaprio snapping himself out of a Quaalude stupor with a jolt of the white stuff in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” or Al Pacino going face down in a mountain of coke in “Scarface.” When it comes to an R-rated movie starring Hanks, however, just the mere idea of him taking the drug is enough to warrant questioning in an interview.