Tom Hanks Just Made a Surprise TV Cameo; How Did That Happen?

Tom Hanks has a knack for the unexpected. After all, no one thought his wild Saturday Night Live character David S. Pumpkins would become a phenomenon. And even Hanks himself had little faith that his breakthrough movie, 1988’s Big, would put him on track to become an A-list Hollywood star. So perhaps viewers of the Paramount+ series 1883 shouldn’t be too surprised to see the Forrest Gump icon sweeping his way across the screen.

Tom Hanks started his career on television

Hanks’ legacy will always be as a movie star. The actor has spent decades as one of the most beloved, bankable, and charismatic screen legends of his generation. Yet, ironically, his career really started on the small screen. From 1980 to 1982, Hanks played Kip Wilson opposite Peter Scolari’s Henry Desmond on ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies. On that show, the actors played two single men who disguise themselves as women to live in a female-only apartment.

And in the early years of his career, Hanks was all over television. In addition to Bosom Buddies, he appeared on The Love Boat, Taxi, and Happy Days. He even guest-starred in three episodes of Family Ties as Uncle Ned. It wasn’t until 1984’s dual hits Splash and Bachelor Party that Hanks started to gain some traction as a movie star. A few years later — particularly after Big — his trajectory as an A-list star was off and running.

How the actor made a cameo on ‘1883’

Over the years, Hanks returned to TV every once in a while. Perhaps most notably, he’s hosted and appeared on SNL roughly 20 times over the years. And he’s produced projects like the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon and Band of Brothers, making a cameo in the latter. Some fans might surmise Hanks’ interest in history led him to 1883. The actor appeared briefly as an army captain surveying the bloody aftermath of the Battle of Antietam. However, Hanks appeared on the Yellowstone spinoff for a different reason, said star Tim McGraw.

“You never want to botch a scene when you got Tom Hanks in there with you,” McGraw told CinemaBlend. “But yeah, he’s a great guy. We’ve been friends for a long time. Rita [Wilson], his wife, and Faith [Hill, McGraw’s wife] are best friends. And Tom and I’ve been friends for 25 years, 24 years. I knew that there was this part in there, and I gave him a call said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in showing up doing a cameo in this show that we’re doing?’ And he goes, ‘Tell me when to be there,’ and he just showed up.”

What movies is Tom Hanks doing next?

Of course, Hanks remains principally a movie star. His brief cameo on 1883 has more to do with a personal favor to a friend than anything else. Still, it’s a real treat for fans to see him show up. And the actor certainly elevates the emotions of the moment. But Hanks already has several movie projects in the works for the next couple of years.

In 2022, Hanks will star as Colonel Tom Parker in director Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, aptly titled Elvis. That film will release on June 24, 2022. Then Hanks will reunite with Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis for Disney’s live-action musical Pinocchio. The film — in which Hanks will play Geppetto — is slated to hit Disney+ in late 2022.

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