For a profession that thrives on putting themselves out there for people to see, the number of actors who have admitted to never revisiting their work is abundant. Tom Hanks is only one of many recognizable names who have said as much, along with folks like Javier Bardem, Maggie Smith, and Reese Witherspoon. Mind you, it’s not entirely surprising that this tends to be a common thread, either.
Going off of Hanks’ comments, what bothers him the most is not being able to go back and make changes. For actors, the performance often becomes immortalized as is. Making art, whether you’re the face of it or not, is a challenging undertaking that portrays your work as it was constructed at that moment.
It’s a familiar feeling that I often face as a writer. You work on something, only to send it out into the world not too long afterwards, in which the anxiety settles in. Even if it’s a piece that I’m very proud of, there will always be an aspect that I feel I could have worded differently. I always want to improve on what came before, which can make revisiting some of my earlier stuff kind of harrowing, especially if I’ve made that progress in the time being. The only difference is that millions upon millions of people are familiar with Hanks’ work, which I imagine adds an even greater pressure to get it right. There’s a beauty though in letting your art speak for itself, for without those missteps, it can be difficult to know what marks you want to hit next time.
“A Man Called Otto” is now playing in limited release, with a wide theatrical expansion on January 13, 2023.