Tom Hanks Was Almost Poisoned to Death Filming His Career’s Most Dangerous Movie

Tom Hanks revealed how his character in Cast Away was not the only one at the risk of dying

Tom Hanks Was Almost Poisoned to Death Filming His Career's Most Dangerous Movie


  • Tom Hanks' performance as Chuck Noland is one of his most iconic and memorable roles.
  • Hanks revealed poisoning from a leg injury almost led to his death while shooting for the movie.
  • Hanks underwent a drastic physical transformation for portraying a drifted and lonely survivor in the film.
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Tom Hanks is one of the most versatile and respected actors in Hollywood. Hanks is known for tackling a wide variety of roles in films such as Forrest Gump, Captain Phillips, and Sully. However, one of Hanks’ most iconic and memorable roles was in the 2000 survival drama film Cast Away directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Tom Hanks in Cast Away
Tom Hanks in Cast Away

The film follows Hanks’ Chuck Noland as he tries to survive alone on a remote island. In an interview, Hanks revealed that while filming the survival drama, his own survival was put at stake. Hanks stated he had to be hospitalized because of poisoning and almost died while shooting for the film. Here is what Tom Hanks said about the filming of Cast Away.

Tom Hanks Admits to Almost Dying While Filming Cast Away

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Cast Away stars Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland, a FedEx systems analyst, who finds himself stranded on an island in the Pacific Ocean after a plane crash. As the film, deals with Chuck’s survival attempts, Hanks had to face several dangerous circumstances while filming the movie.

Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland in Cast Away
Tom Hanks almost died filming Cast Away

During an interview with BBC (via the DigitalSpy), Hanks shared behind-the-scenes details of the film’s production. Hanks stated that he suffered a leg injury which caused poisoning. As a result, Hanks had to be hospitalized and was almost at the risk of losing his life. Here is how Hanks recounted the incident:

“(Cast Away) put me in the hospital. I was there for three days with something that, believe it or not, almost killed me. I got an infection form a cut and it was eating its way through my leg. I didn’t know it, I just thought I had a sore.”

Hank added that after he went to see a doctor he was told he would have to be hospitalized. The doctor told Hanks that the poisoning from his infection could lead to his death. As a result, Hanks was hospitalized while production on the film was halted for nearly three weeks so that Hanks could recover from the infection.

Tom Hanks Underwent Dramatic Transformation For Cast Away

For his portrayal of a lonely survivor in Cast Away, Hanks underwent a drastic physical transformation. Hanks gained nearly 50 lbs before the production, so he could later lose the weight to showcase’s character’s time adrift on the island.

Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks called weight loss for Cast Away burdensome

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hanks spoke about his physical transformation for the role. Hanks talked about the grueling process of losing nearly 50 lbs for the role for which he had to give up nearly all of his favorite foods.

Hanks stated that he also gave up french fries, one of his favorite food items, but could not give up on coffee. As a result, the weight loss process became a burden for Hanks.

“It was a burden … And it was a burden because I knew when the time came there wasn’t going to be anyone else to work off of.”

Hanks made the above statement about losing weight and growing out his hair for the role. At the same time, Hanks also praised director Robert Zemeckis for pausing production several times so that he could undergo the physical transformation necessary to portray the character. Hanks’ hard work certainly paid off as he was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 73rd Academy Awards.


Cast Away is streaming on AMC+.

Pratik Handore

Written by Pratik Handore

Articles Published: 447

Pratik is a writer at FandomWire, with a content writing experience of five years. Although he has a Bachelors in Hospitality, his fascination with all things pop culture led him to writing articles on a variety of topics ranging from latest streaming releases to unheard movie trivia. When not writing, you can find him reading manga, or watching classic TV shows.