Tom Hanks Issues Stark Message About Global Warming: 'It's Really Quite Horrifying'

While Tom Hanks' latest movie Finch is a science fiction story about a man persevering to protect his pet dog and robot in the face of an apocalypse, it also contains a very real warning about the climate crisis.

That's according to Hanks himself, who stars as the titular Finch in the Apple TV+ movie that's available to watch on Friday, November 5. In the film, he's one of the last remaining humans in a world that has been ravaged by global warming, and Hanks admits the idea of it becoming a reality "really is quite horrifying."

Miguel Sapochnik (Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon) directs, while Hanks plays the only human we see on screen. The pair spoke to Newsweek ahead of the launch of the movie on Apple TV+.

Global Warming Warnings in Finch

"I made a movie down in Australia, and I can't tell you how many skin clinics exist around there simply because -- there is a hole in the ozone down there, and skin cancer is a worry for people."

Hanks was discussing how Finch manages to balance the smaller story of his character's journey, with the larger scale of a dystopian future caused by global warming.

Hanks plays Finch, a man who builds an android to take care of his dog. Together they all battle to survive on a planet that has become nearly inhospitable because of the collapse of the ozone layer.

In the movie, Finch explains how the world gradually reached this point, and Hanks admits he found it jarring when he read it in the script. He told Newsweek: "When he starts talking about how, for example, first everybody tried to pretend it wasn't existing, then everybody tried to hide, and then everybody tried to hoard. And then once that ran out, the rules sort of broke. That's not hard to imagine, I think it is really quite horrifying.

"So if there is some version of an old cautionary tale that's going to be in Finch, I think it would be, well what are we going to do to and for each other when the hurricane comes or when the floods come or when the ozone is so bare that the sun can cook a hotdog just by sitting outside?" Hanks said.

Finch landscape
"Finch" takes place in a future where global warming has ravaged the earth. Apple TV+

While the climate crisis is the cause of this apocalyptic landscape where we find these three characters, it's their dynamic and how they survive that is the true focus of Finch. Sapochnik told Newsweek how he used impending doom and constant jeopardy as the ideal story device.

He said: "Using the post apocalyptic landscape as a kind of way to couch a family drama seemed like a good opportunity. It also justified a reason for this person to be very, very alone, and to be able to focus on one person and to be able to justify why anybody would build themselves a robot as company or to look after their dog."

He continued, "It's a combination of the two. I think to ignore what's going on with our planet and the general state of the human condition and humanity is to ignore our future, but at the same time, it's not just about that."

The Unsung Hero of Finch

While Hanks is the only human we see throughout Finch, he wasn't the only actor on set. Caleb Landry Jones plays his robot friend, Jeff, and worked extensively on the movie, providing the voice and motion capture performance.

Sapochnik said that while Hanks is spectacular, he doesn't want Jones' work to go unnoticed. He said: "I really hope he's not an unsung hero because he was amazing. Jeff would not be Jeff, were it not for Caleb. There is no aspect of that robot that isn't a direct lift from Caleb's performance."

Finch robot and Tom Hanks
Caleb Landry Jones as Jeff the robot and Tom Hanks as Finch in “Finch,” premiering globally November 5, 2021 on Apple TV+. Apple TV+

Jeff's robotic voice and language skills were implemented by Jones too—a decision that Sapochnik sees as a masterstroke. "He did that voice from day one," he said. "It had that slow evolving thing from being a speak and spell voice, it went Slavic at one point, and then it kind of becomes this Texan drawl at the end. And all of that was Caleb, and I literally can't imagine what the film would have been without him."

Hanks echoes the praise for Jones. He said: "Caleb is an improvisational, free spirited actor/artist who brought this contraption-like device to life. He ended up going places that were brand new and because of that, the movie went to places that I think were deeper. At the same time they were more unpredictable, and, boy, that's a quality that will surprise the audience too."

Tom Hanks, "the Gentle Curmudgeon"

Director Sapochnik is also full of praise for Tom Hanks and everything he brought to Finch. Initially Sapochnik admits Finch was conceived as a much darker character than the one we end up seeing, but Hanks naturally brought more layers to the role.

"I feel like part of the wonderful thing about working with Tom Hanks is you don't just go in one direction with him," he said. "It's like you get the whole gamut. You've got somebody who can be both the dark horse and the gentle curmudgeon.

"We shot everything and then we chose later on the direction that we would ultimately finish the film with."

Finch is available to watch exclusively on Apple TV+ now.

Tom Hanks in Finch
Tom Hanks and Caleb Landry Jones (as Jeff the robot) in “Finch,” premiering globally on November 5, 2021, on Apple TV+. Apple TV+