should be no surprise that when it comes to interviews,
Tom Hanks prefers to type. His new book, "Uncommon
Type: Stories," is a collection of stories in which
a typewriter makes a cameo in every one.
who owns more than 100 typewriters, will portray career
typist Ben Bradlee, the late, great editor of The
Washington Post in the upcoming film "The
Post," co-starring with Meryl Streep.
preferred that we ask a few questions via email. He
wrote right back, talking a little about his collection
of stories, his collection of typewriters and his
gifting of a brand-new coffee maker to The White House
we asked what Hanks thinks of when he thinks of Seattle,
where he filmed one of his most-loved movies.
being "Sleepless in Seattle" meant some
halcyon days on the water and, ironically, Hanks
sleeping very well at night.
When did you start writing the stories of "Uncommon
Type," and when did you write?
I worked over the course of the years since November of
2014. My schedule is not set, but the mornings were
times I wrote. But when I was shooting a movie, I wrote
anytime and everywhere.
Where did the stories come from? Wondering if you dash
off ideas or notes in a book as you pass through the
world. Do you sketch them out completely or just start
I started most stories with each title, seeing the
characters and a theme to explore. Or, just a single
moment in each story that became part of the whole
There’s a story in the book called "Christmas Eve
1953," about a family’s traditions on that night,
including an annual phone call between the protagonist,
Virgil, and one of his Army buddies. What is Christmas
Eve like for you?
Christmas Eve has always shifted. With kids in the
house, there is the visit of Santa leaving one unwrapped
gift for the morning. We’ve always altered the
You have more than 100 typewriters. Do you have a
favorite? And what’s it have that the others don’t?
My favorite is always changing. Any Smith-Corona
Sterling or Silent is a gem. Any Hermes, either the
green or tan, all work like lightning. I have a thing
for my Olivetti Lettera 22’s, as they are masterpieces
of design, the action is crazy fast and light, and the
typewriter is in the Museum of Modern Art.
You put a coffee machine in the pressroom at The White
House, so it’s clear you have a place in your heart
for a free press. And you are portraying the great
Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee in "The
Paper," about the decision to print the Pentagon
Papers. Where do you get your news and why a coffee
I read the NY Times and listen to NPR all day. When I
can, I catch "The 11th Hour with Brian
Williams" on MSNBC to get the perspective on the
put an espresso machine into the pressroom of the White
House because they had the saddest little coffee machine
I’d ever seen.
STORY CAN END HERE)
What do you think of when you think of Seattle? Is there
a place or a specific memory that comes to mind?
My kids all learned to water ski off Mercer Island when
the summer sun stayed out until 10:30 at night.
driving the boat, them standing up, all of us out on the
water until dusk and bedtime simultaneously. Glorious.