Sally Field Clears Up Tom Hanks Casting Confusion But Thinks Hollywood is Still Ageist

In the space of six years, Sally Field went from playing Tom Hanks' love interest to playing his mother, and while she says this is an explainable coincidence, there is still a problem with ageism towards women in Hollywood.

Two-time Academy Award-winner Field cleared up a common misconception about her casting relating to Hanks for Newsweek while promoting the upcoming HBO series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.

In 1988, Field and Hanks played love interests and wannabe stand-up comedians in Punchline, but six years later she was playing his mom in Forrest Gump.

"I have to clarify that," Field told Newsweek. "People always say 'the absolutely ridiculousness of playing Tom's sort of love interest and Tom's mother within, whatever it was, a five year span' but that's not true really."

She continued: "In Punchline, the first one we did together, I play this slightly older woman, I'm supposed to be ten years older, and he's this up and comer, and I'm this housewife. With the [age] difference, I am ten years older than Tom so it worked out.

"And then when we did Forrest Gump, I play a younger version of myself when he was a little boy. Then I age in the middle when he's a young man and then I go to very old. So it was a great opportunity to play with those three ages of, without prosthetics and things, being younger, then I was a little bit older, and then very much older. So it's not a fair example."

Punchline and Forrest Gump images
Sally Field and Tom Hanks starred together in "Punchline" (1988) and then again in "Forrest Gump" (1994). Columbia Pictures / Paramount Pictures

While Field points out that her onscreen relationships with Hanks weren't an example of ageist casting, she was firm when discussing the topic within Hollywood across the board.

"But yes, that still is going on. It's ageism, is what it is and it's most particularly towards women."

While the casting and roles available for women haven't always been fair, Field admits she can see positive changes happening as a result of the changing audience demographic.

She said: "But I do think it's changing. Not because the industry wants it to but because the audiences are making them, because there is a huge, huge audience in the world of older women and they are a lot of money. And so this industry, it's a great industry, it has a lot of good things about it, but it does things only because of 'where are the bucks?' And so it is changing."

Sally Field and Tom Hanks
Sally Field and Tom Hanks pictures together in 2004. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

Field was talking to Newsweek ahead of her turn as Jessie Buss in the upcoming Adam McKay television series, Winning Time: The Rise of the LA Lakers.

The show, which documents the dominance the LA Lakers had over the NBA in the '80s, also stars the likes of John C. Reilly, Adrien Brody, Gaby Hoffmann and Jason Clarke, among many others.

Newsweek will have more coverage from the cast and creators of Winning Time ahead of the show's debut on HBO. There will be ten episodes in the first season of Winning Time, airing from March 6 through to May 8.

Episode 1 of Winning Time, titled "The Swan," will air on HBO at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday March 6, 2022.

Sally Field Winning Time
A promotional image of Sally Field starring as Jessie Buss in the upcoming HBO show "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty." HBO Max