After surviving a “crippling” battle with coronavirus , Tom Hanks turns 64 on July 9. With new movies Greyhound and Elvis coming up – Aaron Schneider’s world war two film and a Baz Luhrmann biopic of The King of Rock n’ Roll – the multi-Oscar-winning actor looks back at some of the most defining characters he has played in a prolific career. On positive transformations when playing heroic figures “I like being able to focus on people whose actions help make us less cynical about life … I’m interested in the stories of guys who do something extraordinary when faced with a difficult situation or circumstances. I’m fascinated with those life-changing moments and I enjoy putting myself in their shoes. Bruce Lee remembered: Friends recall fond times, 47 years after his death “Even though I’ve played some not-so-nice people, I would rather play characters who face challenges and say something more positive about the human condition. I find it interesting to learn how people find something within themselves and rise to the occasion.” The worst character he ever played – Michael Sullivan in The Road to Perdition “It was a night shoot. We were in the backlot of Warner Bros, where they don’t actually make a lot of movies any more. They had rain and wind machines set up because we were going to be shooting a scene in a torrential downpour. All the actors were dressed in black and carrying umbrellas and I entered the shot from the end of the street with a submachine gun and I butchered 12 guys and shot Paul Newman dead. And I thought, ‘God, I hope I get to play Mr Rogers some day’. I’d like to think that between the executioner in The Green Mile and the Nazi killer in Saving Private Ryan , it was all leading up to playing the man who created the neighbourhood of make believe. [Laughs]” Cayman Islands, or Cornwall? Where celebrities are self-isolating ‘Kindness’ as a buzzword “He [Fred Rogers from his recent film A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood ] had the three secrets to happiness: Be kind, be kind and be kind. I think ‘kindness’ becomes a buzzword. It ends up being diminished by the fact of what it means. But honestly, if you give everybody a fair shake, if you understand that the person that is serving you or filling up your gas, might have had just as bad a day as you had, that’s just kindness.” His evolving relationship with Steven Spielberg “When I’m acting in a film he’s directing, ours is a boss-employee relationship. In the end, it’s my job to give him what he wants. Sometimes, of course, I think differently, but Steven is a director who asks you to collaborate and propose ideas. “If there is any [conflict] it [happens] in the previous phase, on the written page, when a joke sounds false and does not seem to me to work. Other times, however, it happens that we arrive on the set early in the morning with the same page of the script circled in red and our comments in perfect harmony. So I say to him: ‘Boss, I love you!’ “One thing we discovered we had in common was how much we loved reading history books and biographies. That’s how we came to do Saving Private Ryan which was based on a true story from WWII and we’ve kept trying to find more kinds of projects to work on together. We share the same love of history and of the kinds of stories we would like to tell.” 18 top-rated shows Netflix has cancelled even though critics loved them Love the most important thing to pass on “Look, the only thing that seems clear to me – and I think it applies to every parent – is to repeat to the point of exhaustion that we love them, to know how to apologise when we are wrong and to help them. “When I was growing up we lived in an atmosphere of feigned ignorance and acceptance. There was nothing to talk about, and nobody ever asked you how you felt. ‘Would you like to move to a new city for the seventh time in seven years?’ Who ever asked me? My father had lived during the Depression, the [second world] war and then the 1950s. His attitude, not that he really explained it, was: ‘Face up to the situation, and adapt to the new arrangements!’ “Today, everything is different, and the most important thing is knowing how to say: I apologise. And the simplest thing, the most intelligent message that you can deliver to your children is the one Mr Rogers gave to us: ‘I love you!’” Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .