The Oscar-winning actor likened the efforts needed to contain the virus to those exhibited during World War II.

By Ruth Kinane
July 07, 2020 at 10:47 AM EDT
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Tom Hanks believes America needs to come together like it did during World War II in order to defeat the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the Oscar-winning actor joined Today to discuss his upcoming war movie Greyhound and shared some thoughts on the ongoing pandemic. "The idea of doing one's part, though, should be so simple — wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands," Hanks said in the interview. "That alone means you are contributing to the betterment of your house, your work, your town, your society as a whole, and it's such a small thing. It's a mystery to me how somehow that has been wiped out of what should be ingrained in the behavior of us all."

Back in March, while in Australia preparing for filming on Hanks' next film, he and wife Rita Wilson both tested positive for COVID-19, making them among the first public celebrity cases. "We were not (afraid) because we were feeling extremely punky," Hanks told Hoda Kotb on Today. "I don't want to dismiss our symptoms. We were feeling rotten. I had body aches, crippling, cracking body aches, but what we were mostly concerned [with] at the time, what is next." The couple returned to California in late March and, as a COVID-19 survivor, Hanks donated his convalescent plasma to help others.

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Directed by Aaron Schneider, Greyhound, out Friday on Apple TV+, takes places during a complex WWII naval battle and sees Hanks  —who also wrote the screenplay — portray U.S. Navy Commander Ernest Krause. The movie was originally intended for a more traditional release in June, but moved to the streaming service with theaters shuttered. Now, Hanks is looking to the unified effort during World War II as a model mindset in the ongoing battle to contain coronavirus. "What has lingered here is this societal question really of doing our part," Hanks said. "Not everything I say has to be tied to somehow the war effort back during World War II, but there was a sensibility that permeated all of society, which was do your part, we're all in this together."

Hanks also used the opportunity to implore others to wear masks. "I think a huge majority of Americans get it," he said in regards to taking precautions. "There's no law against ignorance, it's not illegal to have opinions that are wrong. There is a darkness on the edge of town here, folks. Let's not confuse the fact, it's killing people. I don't know how common sense has somehow been put in question in regards to this." Adding, "Those things are so simple, so easy, if anybody cannot find it in themselves to practice those three very basic things — I just think shame on you."

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