Few know more about how movies are made than Tom Hanks—not just the technical details but the history drawn upon, and the lives and relationships that must intertwine to create a motion picture.
Following up his best-selling collection of short stories, Uncommon Type, Hanks’s ambitious novel is about the making of a multimillion-dollar superhero epic. Although the film, Knightshade: The Lathe of Firefall, is being filmed in the present, the story begins in 1947, in the town of Lone Butte, California, where we meet five-year-old Robby, already artistically gifted, and his troubled uncle, Bob Falls, returned from overseas combat in World War II. Then two things happen that will shape the future. Young Robby sees a comic book about a soldier whose weapon is a flamethrower. And his uncle deserts the small boy in a drugstore, riding his motorcycle away from his home and his only family, never to return.
The story picks up in 1970. Robby now writes and draws comic books for a stoner underground comic book company in Oakland, California. He receives a moving letter from his long-lost uncle, which sparks him to write and draw a comic about a flame-throwing soldier.
CUT TO: Today. A big-time, eccentric director discovers Robby’s 1970 comic and decides it’s exactly what he needs as the basis for a superhero movie with heart. From that point on we are witness to the making of another major motion picture masterpiece with a colorful and memorable cast of characters, including a pompous star and his determined leading lady, a young actor not entirely ready for his sudden rise to stardom, a fierce and loyal producer, a tireless production assistant, and countless film crew members, all of whom create Hollywood magic.
Funny, touching, and wonderfully thought-provoking, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece is a page-turning inside look at show business and moviemaking, an insightful reflection on the changes in America over the past eighty years, and a lovely window into the world we all share.