Being a child actor can be tough. Especially when you are thrown into the deep end of the pool and made to act opposite one of the most popular leading men in Hollywood. Something similar happened to 12-year-old actress Helena Zengel, who stars opposite Tom Hanks in Paul Greengrass' new western drama News of the World. In an interview with Page Six, Zengel revealed how Hanks went above and beyond to help his less experienced co-star get in the right frame of mind by crying off-camera for her benefit.
"He was literally crying in every scene, even when it wasn't shot on him - it was my close-up. He cried in every scene that I should get emotional ... Doing it again and again for your partner when you don't even see yourself in the movie was really amazing and great."
Clearly, Hanks wanted to make sure Helena Zengel had everything she would need to bring her character to life with the proper emotional resonance. News of the World is based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles. The film is about a widowed Civil War veteran, played by Hanks, who agrees to deliver a girl, played by Zengel, who had been taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, despite the fact that the girl does not wish to go back.
While Tom Hanks has decades of experience over his young co-star when it comes to making movies, the actor stated in a previous interview that he often still feels like a newcomer while working on a new movie, because each new character requires a new emotional journey that must be undertaken all over again.
"No movie translates to the next movie you're making. You start all over from scratch. Now, granted, you know how things work, you know how a set works, you know about base camp, and you know about the difference between shooting on film, and you technique, you learn the technical aspects of making movies. But the movie that you made last year or five years ago, or twenty-five years ago does not impact the emotional journey that you're on. You start all over again from scratch. And that's why so many actors are stark-raving nuts, is because they are always thrown up onto this high wire without a net."
Previously, Hanks had described News of the World as "The Mandalorian without lightsabers," which is something that the audience would definitely be interested in watching. It will be interesting to see how well the movie fares, considering the troubled state that the film and theater industry is currently finding itself in.
Directed by Paul Greengrass, produced by Gary Goetzman, Gail Mutrux, and Gregory Goodman, with a screenplay by Paul Greengrass and Luke Davie, News of the World is based on the novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles and stars Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel in the lead roles. This story originated at Page6 with Tom Hanks' quote coming from CinemaBlend.