SEATTLE — Need one more reason to love Tom Hanks?
He’s a fan of dogs.
More specifically, one dog – Seamus, a rescue animal who plays Hanks’ faithful companion in the post-apocalyptic drama “Finch.”
The Apple TV+ film follows a scientist and introvert (Finch) struggling to survive after a solar flare wipes out countless lives, crops and civilized society. His only companion is a dog and he spends his days building a robot that can care for the dog when he’s gone.
Entertainment reporter Kim Holcomb talked to Hanks via Zoom about the role, how it relates to the pandemic, and her own rescue dog.
HOLCOMB: "I should apologize – and this is not a gimmick for the movie - but I'm covered in dog hair right now and my dog is on my lap currently. She’s having one of those days.”
HANKS: “Come on, hold that face up, let's take a look at her. Who is this?”
HOLCOMB: “This is Tootsie.”
HANKS: “Oh, Tootsie looks like a miniature Seamus there! All right, put Tootsie down. She looks concerned. She looks confused.”
HOLCOMB: “I feel like that's just her general state of being, but yes. (laughter) You have worked with so many people in your career, where does Seamus stack up, co-star wise?”
HANKS: “Oh, absolute top of the list. No one I have worked with has more deep, welcoming, emotive, loved-filled eyes than Seamus. Big, big, big brown orbs. When you're just hanging around the set waiting for a shot, and you're sitting on the couch in the RV and you might take a nap or you might lean your head back, and Seamus is there, he's got his head on my thigh, and I can start rubbing his belly and scratching his ears and grabbing his snout and talking to him, the connection I had with those eyes then was just worth its weight in gold."
HOLCOMB: "I have to say, something about this film really reminded me of that Twilight Zone with Burgess Meredith, 'The Last Man On Earth.'”
HANKS: “Oh yeah!"
HOLCOMB: "Was there something or someone that you used as a jumping off point for Finch?"
HANKS: "No, because the screenplay as it was written was so all-encompassing. I got it, literally, from the first three lines of the screenplay – it was a description of this guy, who was inside this suit, sick, alone, who was slowly methodically eking out what was left of a possible existence. Then, as I'm reading along, I got down to that moment where he opens the door and there is his dog, which is his true reason for living. I would have killed people to play this part."
HOLCOMB: "You shot this pre-pandemic, of course - I feel like it's going to hit people a little differently now."
HANKS: "The reason that Finch's world has been destroyed, the solar radiation - that's almost quaint, that's almost like, 'geez I wish it had been that cut and dried.' Where this lands is going to be fascinating, I think, because the most prescient part of the movie is a discussion of what other people did in the time of crisis. It's flashback circumstances, but it did not go well. And I think there's an awful lot of ways we can look at what we've been through the past almost two years now and say, 'hey, it did not go well but it wasn't as bad as it could have been.' There's a lot of division and there's a lot of argument and there's a lot of ignorance and there's a lot of opinion that's being thrown about back there, but you know what? The rules of society seem to have held pretty well. People are recalibrating their lives based on what they did without for these last two years. That is not a bad thing. I think people have a lot of faith in themselves, and in good luck and in their ability to not get too down when life kicks them in the head. And if you can do that, things might be okay."
"Finch" debuts on Apple TV+ Nov. 5.