Louis Theroux explains why he ‘turned down’ Tom Hanks interview: ‘I’m being set up to fail’

Documentarian rejected opportunity to chat with two-time Oscar winner

Jethro Robathan
Thursday 21 March 2024 14:23 GMT
The Louis Theroux Interviews season 2 trailer

Louis Theroux has revealed he once “turned down” an interview with Tom Hanks.

The documentarian and podcast presenter has interviewed everyone ranging from Dame Judi Dench to Pete Doherty, but when the opportunity to speak to two-time Oscar winner Hanks arose, Theroux rejected the offer.

However, Theroux’s reasoning was no bearing on his view of Hanks – rather, he was uncertain whether he could interview the Saving Private Ryan and Road to Perdition actor in a satisfactory manner in the allocated time given.

Speaking to comedian and fellow podcaster Adam Buxton onThe Louis Theroux Podcast, Theroux said: “I turned it down. I’m trying not to be mealy mouthed... I said no when I was told you only get an hour [with him].

“I don’t think I can work my magic, such as it is, in an hour”.

He explained that he needs more time to not feel constrained – and usually needs a couple of hours for his guests to fully open up.

Theroux added: “It just made me nervous. I thought that ‘Yeah, I’m being set up to fail’.”

However, Buxton did not have such fears, and accepted an offer to interview Hanks for an episode of The Adam Buxton Podcast.

Buxton said: “I was thinking this is a massive open goal.

“One of the biggest movie stars of all time, and famously likeable... a funny guy [Hanks]. Lots of anecdotes. I think we’re going to get on pretty well”.

Both podcasters said they regularly hesitated on accepting famous stars due to a fear of being unable “to bring your A-game.”

Tom Hanks was ‘turned down’ by Louis Theroux for a podcast appearance (Getty Images)

At the time, Hanks was being interviewed for his debut novel The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, and spoke to Buxton over a Zoom call.

Buxton admitted the remote call format and Hanks being “in kind of literary interview mode” made for a “frustrating” experience.

The British comedian joked: “I dropped a live episode you and I did a year before to try and salve the wounds from the Tom Hanks episode”.

The full episode can be found on Spotify and The Louis Theroux Podcast releases new episodes every Tuesday.

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