What Is Real & Imagined In America’s Dad’s Latest WWII Movie Greyhound?

Photo: Courtesy of Apple TV+.
Tom Hanks is back in a captain's hat yet again. In Greyhound (out on Apple TV+ July 10), Hanks plays Ernest Krause, a U.S. naval officer during World War II. The film, which is also written by Hanks, is "inspired by actual events," but Greyhound's Ernest Krause wasn't a real person, nor is the ship he helms a real WWII vessel.
Hanks worked on the film for 10 years, and now it's finally ready to reach audiences. Unfortunately, not in the way he had hoped. In a July 6 interview with the Guardian, Hanks said that the film getting a streaming release on Apple TV+ rather than a theatrical release is "an absolute heartbreak." He added, "I don’t mean to make angry my Apple overlords, but there is a difference in picture and sound quality."
Still, he's grateful it's going to be seen. "I'm actually thrilled that Apple TV is making it possible for everybody to see it," Hanks said on the TODAY show on July 7. "This is a magnificent gift that’s come to us because of Apple. Because COVID-19 did something heartbreaking to us all: It closed down the theaters. We don't have the cinema. There isn't anybody that doesn't like going to see a good movie with 800 other people and coming out with something in common."
But Hanks thinks that the film speaks specifically to what we're all going through, the reason we're watching movies at home. Read on to find out why and more about how the story came to be.

Greyhound Is Based On A Book, Not A True Story

Hanks adapted Greyhound from the 1955 C.S. Forester novel The Good Shepherd, which is set during the Battle of the Atlantic. The book tells a fictional story about a WWII captain, George Krause, who is leading his first war convoy later in his life. This leads him to have doubts about whether he's fit for the job since those around him are younger but have more war experience. Krause's ship is there to protect merchant ships taking supplies across the Atlantic, and he and his men face attacks from German submarines. The story is set in 1942, not long after the United States entered the war.
Though the book is fictional, it details many of the very real issues the military faced at the time, including the lack of communication and the pitfalls of early radar equipment.

A Real Navy Ship Was Used, Technically

The film's title, Greyhound, refers to the code name of Krause's ship. The ship's name is actually the USS Keeling. But, just as Krause is fictional, the USS Keeling was not a real ship.
That said, a real WWII destroyer was used for the movie. As reported by Baton Rouge, Louisiana's WBRZ, much of the filming took place on the USS Kidd, which has been docked as a museum in the city since the 1980s. In fact, the money that the museum made by letting the ship be used in production was used for upgrades and improvements.

So, Does Any Of Greyhound Come From Real WWII History?

Greyhound is the third feature film written by Hanks (he also wrote 1996's That Thing You Do! and the 2011 movie Larry Crowne, both of which he also starred in and directed). Hanks took the task seriously and is known to have an avid interest in the WWII era, after starring in 1998's Saving Private Ryan and producing HBO's Band of Brothers back in 2001 and The Pacific in 2010. Achieving realism for this fictional story wasn't an issue for the history buff.
“I keep going back to examining the human condition of how does one deal with a pressure that never lets up. How do you get by that cracking 48 hours or 72 hours in which you have no idea if you're doing the right thing. That fascinates me," he said on The Today Show.
Hanks sees a strong connection between the war and what the world is going through now with COVID-19, because everyone has to come together to do their part. "It's 88 minutes of a thematic story that really does speak to what we’re all going through right now," Hanks, who contracted Coronavirus himself in March, said. "We didn't know that at the time we made the film."
So, on July 10, Hanks will be ready to lead you through war, a pandemic, and fears about being inadequate as you age. All from the comfort of your own home.

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