Tom Hanks Apologizes to Conor Ratliff for 'Band of Brothers' Firing Due His 'Dead Eyes'

"Let me first take full responsibility for doing this to you. This was without a doubt the act of the director, and that was me," Tom Hanks said

Tom Hanks Connor Ratliff
Photo: Hannah Szalay

Tom Hanks made amends with Conor Ratliff after allegedly firing him from Band of Brothers for having "dead eyes."

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star spoke with the Oscar winner, 65, about the incident on Thursday's episode of his podcast, Dead Eyes, and recounted the story of auditioning for the 2001 miniseries at 24 years old. However, Hanks said "not a single moment of this rings a bell."

Hanks added, "This is a bone-chilling story, just bone-chilling," and went on to take "full responsibility" for his actions.

"This was without a doubt the act of the director, and that was me," Hanks told Ratliff. "There was something in stuck in a craw or one of those very, very subtle sort of decisions that aims the story in the direction you want it to go."

He added, "In the inner sanctum of whatever this casting session was on Band of Brothers ... I'm sure I said, 'I don't know man, that guy's got dead eyes.' I could've said, 'He's got too blond of hair; he's too tall and I can't have the aide be taller than Captain Winters.' I could've said, 'He's too short and slight ... I could've said any of these things, and they would have been true and they would've been the opinion.' "

Ratliff understood how Hanks might struggle to remember the comment but said it was "very big" to him at the time.

He recalled, "I built this thing up so big and then it was just gone." "

The alleged "dead eyes" comment stuck with Ratliff over the years, and he consequently named his podcast after the incident.

Hanks said he was "aghast" after finding out about the podcast's origins from his son Colin and daughter Elizabeth.

"I actually got chilled. My heart rate skyrocketed and I said, 'I did...I did what? I did what?' " he admitted.

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