Tom Hanks stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to talk about his new Western film, News of the World. But given that he’s, well, Tom Hanks, the conversation turned pretty free-wheeling, and the veteran actor was able to recount a few of his classic Hollywood anecdotes.
“There was a time when so many Westerns were made that actors always rode the same horse in every Western they made,” Hanks said. He then proceeded to tell the story of meeting Jimmy Stewart at his house during a photoshoot. Hanks recalled seeing little to no memorabilia from Stewart’s many landmark films in his home, except for a painting of a horse — the same horse, named Pie, that Stewart rode in all of his Westerns.
“‘Oh yeah, the wranglers would keep it out by Griffith Park,’” Hanks remembered Stewart saying, doing his best impression of the It’s a Wonderful Life star. “‘That’s where we all had our horses.’”
Henry Fonda happened to make the painting for Stewart — coincidentally, just a few days before Pie died, and so the actor kept the painting hung in his home to remember him by.
In addition to his Jimmy Stewart story, Hanks also recounted his own experiences riding a horse, Wimpy, on the set of News of the World.
“They have those eyes on the side of their head, and they just kinda look at you like this,” Hanks said, doing an imitation of a horse’s unblinking eye. “Those big, deep brown eyes. And I got the distinct feeling that Wimpy was deciding whether or not to put up with me that day.”