Unless you’ve been living under a large, soundproofed rock with notably Luddite worms for the past couple of decades, we’re willing to bet you won’t have any trouble spotting Tom Hanks in most of his films.
The two-time Oscar winner is renowned for his performances in Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Big and countless others. And you may or may not have known that he also starred in 2004′s The Polar Express.
Tom was an actor in the film, alongside stars like Eddie Dezeen and Josh Hutcherson (yes, Peeta from Hunger Games Josh Hutcherson ― but that’s a conversation for another day).
But it wasn’t until I saw a viral TikTok from user @thepopculturejuan that I realised just how prolific he was in the film.
“Tom Hanks is literally everyone in this movie,” the caption reads.
The video then goes on to show Tom acting out the role of more characters than you can shake a snowglobe at ― everyone from Santa to The Conductor to the Hero Boy’s dad.
In fact, he played a total of six roles in the festive movie ― The Conductor, Santa, The Hero Boy, The Hero Boy’s Dad, The Ebenezer Scrooge Puppet, The Ghost on the Train, and The Narrator (phew).
Originally, producer Steve Starkey revealed in the video, Tom just wanted to play the conductor. But because of the emerging CGI technology of the time, they realised they could simply create new characters as they went “and have any performer perform that part”.
And it turns out that in most cases, “any performer” was Tom Hanks.
Director, writer, and producer Robert Zemeckis also said in the video that “this [story] is sort of a dream... the characters that have gone on this journey with [the Hero Boy] are characters that are kind of, memories from his real life.” So, some crossover in terms of voices would make sense (though he doesn’t voice all the roles ― for instance, his voice isn’t used for The Hero Boy).
“It was ridiculously challenging, but in a very very good way,” Tom admitted
People were suitably impressed
”‘Who does Tom Hanks play in the movie?’ ‘Yes’,” one commenter said.
“Why am I just now learning that he was the entire cast lmao,” another commented.
One person simply said “mind blown” ― I’m with you, stranger. I’m with you.