THE GREAT PRETENDER
Understanding Radio Flyer’s flights of childhood fantasy came easily to Tom Hanks, the movie’s narrator, who also appears briefly in the movie. “When I was a kid. I had an ability to take any small thing and bring it to life,” says Hanks, 35. “I could take a windup can opener, for instance, and spend hours making believe it was a helicopter flying among the clouds. I could take a regular old leather belt, and it could become a new kind of super train traveling at incredible speeds.” According to Hanks, he is still playing make-believe: “I don’t think I’ve ever taken up any hobby that wasn’t some form of play or pretend. Even learning to play golf. In my head, when I get up to the tee, I’ll invariably pretend that I am teeing off in front of 17,000 people at the PGA Championship.”
THROWING A CUERVO
Willie Nelson has signed with tequila maker Jose Cuervo to sponsor a concert tour, which begins this Saturday (March 14) with Farm Aid V in Dallas. That fact is not without sad irony: Less than three months ago, the singer’s oldest son, Billy. 33, committed suicide after a long struggle with alcoholism. “Alcohol didn’t kill my son,” says Nelson, 58. “My son was an addict. Alcohol just happened to be his addiction.” Does Nelson drink tequila? “I used to drink a lot more of it than I do now,” he says. “I’d drink it down to the worm. Down through the worm.”
BEING AND NOTHINGNESS
Since Chevy Chase gets to disappear in Memoirs of an Invisible Man, has his shy costar Daryl Hannah ever wished she could be invisible too? “Yeah, I think I am invisible a lot,” says Hannah, 31. “And that’s a big mistake that I make. I’ll walk into a premiere and think, ‘Oh, God, there’s the paparazzi. I’ll just turn invisible.’ Then I walk on through. And I see these pictures of me looking absolutely vacant, completely actions, because I’ve disappeared.”
Romance can get pretty heavy for Barbara Taylor Bradford. The manuscript for her first novel, A Woman of Substance, originally weighed nearly 16 pounds and numbered 1,070 pages. The manuscript for her seventh and latest best-seller, Remember. came in at eight pounds and 600 pages. Is parting sweet sorrow every time she delivers a manuscript? “I’m a bit sad for a few days,” admits Bradford, 58. “I get attached to the characters in the book. They become very real to me. Journalists laugh when they ask me about someone in a book, because I talk about that character as if that person is actually alive and living around the corner.” Perhaps awaiting a role in the miniseries?