Making Tom Hanks Authentic

Movie product placements aren’t always an easy sell. Today’s Wall Street Journal, in fact, reports on how FedEx was convinced to allow its name and logo to be used in the new $90 million “Cast Away,” starring Tom Hanks. “The good news is we want to use FedEx,” the film’s screenwriter, William Broyles, told the air carrier’s CEO, Frederick W. Smith. “The bad news is one of your planes goes down.” Because FedEx has never had a fatal crash, notes the Journal, it was reasonable for Smith to say no. But “Cast Away” director Robert Zemeckis (who also did “Forrest Gump” with Hanks) wanted reality. Using a fake company name, he says, “immediately smacks of ‘Airport.’ ” Indeed, says the paper, some of Smith’s colleagues resisted the movie proposal, but in the end the CEO overruled them. What convinced Smith, says the Journal, is that crash or no, FedEx gets a lot of free and favorable publicity in the movie. Furthermore, Smith even plays a cameo in the finished flick.

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