“We're All In This Together”: Tom Hanks Calls On U.S. To Channel WWII Unity During COVID-19

Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson announced in March that they had the virus. They have since recovered.

Getty Images / Tom Hanks attends the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020

Actor Tom Hanks, who has recovered from the coronavirus, said Americans’ cooperation during the pandemic should resemble their efforts during World War II.

"The idea of doing one's part, though, should be so simple — wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands," Hanks said during a “TODAY” interview on Tuesday. “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."

Hanks is starring in new World War II movie "Greyhound,"  which will stream on the Apple TV+ service starting on July 10. He explained that Americans’ unified effort during the war is an example of a mindset that we need now while dealing with the pandemic. 

“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 and his wife, actor and producer Rita Wilson, announced in March that they tested positive for coronavirus. The couple isolated themselves in Australia, where Hanks was working on a film about Elvis Presley, and encouraged followers on Instagram to heed advice from coronavirus experts. Later that month, Hanks announced that he and Wilson had returned to the U.S. after isolating and recovering in Australia. 

Hanks has since publicly implored people to wear masks and practice safety measures to prevent the virus’ spread. During a press conference to promote "Greyhound," he shared basic tips that public health advisers have recommended since the outset of the pandemic.

"There’s really only three things we can do in order to get to tomorrow: Wear a mask, social distance, wash our hands," Hanks said. “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,"

During a separate interview with The Guardian, Hanks seemed to express displeasure with Apple’s role in the release of "Greyhound." Hanks said it is “an absolute heartbreak” that the film will debut on the Apple TV+ streaming service rather than in movie theaters, which are currently closed because of the virus. He worked on the film for almost a decade, as well as produced and wrote the screenplay for it. 

"I don't mean to make angry my Apple overlords, but there is a difference in picture and sound quality," Hanks said, adding that the company made him conduct the interview against a blank wall.