Fall TV 2016 – How Do You Get Tom Hanks to Narrate Your Documentary?


Ken Burns’ ‘Defying the Nazis’ airs September 20 on PBS and then will be available with Xfinity On Demand.

How do you get Oscar-winner Tom Hanks to narrate your documentary?  It helps to be Ken Burns. The Emmy Award-winning filmmaker explained how Hanks lent his voice – and passion – to the upcoming (Sept. 20) PBS documentary, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War. “He has read for a number of our films,” Burns said. “The first time I was getting up the courage to ask him, he broke away from the group of people he was talking with to come over and say that he owed me big time because they studied the dramatic structures of my film to help them with their dramatic films and series. He said, ‘What can I do?’ [Since then] he was the main voice in our series on the history of the Second World War, The War, and he’s read in Horatio’s Drive, and a few other places. So [for this film]  I reached out, and it was a question of his extraordinarily busy schedule. Two years ago, I came out to Santa Monica, and I had a couple of hours, and by the end of it, he not only read all the things that he needed to read, but he had been himself moved to tears.” [Edited from transcript]