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Hanks Plays Hopkins…In His Dreams!

If you could play one fictional character from a novel on stage or screen, who would it be and why? And one real-life figure you first encountered in a work of nonfiction?

I still am young enough to play Dean Reed, the American who, starting in the 1960s, was considered to be a big American singing star, but only to the Communist world. He was famous in the Soviet Union and East Germany and all over the Communist world. He was an actor, made movies, and was both beloved (by many) and dismissed (by many), was crazy-making good-looking and traveled in the upper echelons of the red world. That life, and all that attention, made for an inevitable tragedy by the 1980s. But those that loved him as a friend loved him very much.

In the fiction world, I’d like a whack at James Ellroy’s Lloyd Hopkins character—a cop who is such a genius the only work for him is police work. He is so smart and off-world in his abilities, the L.A.P.D. just sort of leaves him to poke around. A brilliant creation from the oh-so-complicated typing of Ellroy.

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Tom Hanks Credit Illustration by Jillian Tamaki, courtesy New York Times