Wit his usual self-deprecating humor, Tom Hanks said in a new interview with PEOPLE that, “I’ve made a ton of movies,” and added, “Four of them are pretty good, I think.”

Hanks did not specify which four films (Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, and Toy Story 4 perhaps?), but the quote came as he was promoting his just-announced debut novel, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, due out May 9th, 2023. The occasion prompted him to reflect on the act of filmmaking.

“No one knows how a movie is made — though everyone thinks they do,” he said. “I’ve made a ton of movies (and four of them are pretty good, I think) and I’m still amazed at how films come together. From a flicker of an idea to the flickering image onscreen, the whole process is a miracle.”


His novel, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece (pre-order here), dives into this “miracle” over the course of several decades. But one key through line begins in 1947, when a 5-year-old observes his uncle returning home from World War II. That young boy turns his uncle into a character in his comic books in the 1970s, and those comic books are adapted into a blockbuster superhero movie in the present day. The fact that Hanks himself has never acted in such a superhero spectacle only sweetens the pot.

“The source for a movie can go back as many years as are in history. A story turns on a single moment in the life of someone, then all the anecdotes of the current day magnify that moment,” Hanks said. “Going back to 1947 makes sense, as would have starting in, say, 1559. Human yearning has proven to be timeless.”

For the record, we’re pretty sure he’s made more than four great movies. Revisit our list of his 10 best performances now.

Hanks’ last work of fiction, the short story collection Uncommon Type, came out in 2017. Earlier this year he co-starred in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, and earlier this month his latest collaboration with Robert Zemeckis, Pinocchiodropped on Apple TV+.