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Tom Hanks: 'Greyhound' speaks to 'pressure' of COVID-19 pandemic

July 7 (UPI) -- Greyhound star Tom Hanks says the film examines the "pressure" people experience in extreme circumstances.

The 63-year-old actor discussed how the movie relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during Tuesday's episode of Today.

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Greyhound is based on the C.S. Forrester book The Good Shepherd. The film follows Captain Ernest Krause, a U.S. Navy commander leading a convoy of Allied ships during the Battle of the Atlantic.

Hanks, who wrote the screenplay for and plays Krause in Greyhound, said the film's themes of struggle and survival reflect the current health crisis.

"It's 88 minutes of a thematic story that really does speak to what we're all going through right now," he said. "We didn't know that at the time we made the film. We were just trying to make a lean, spare, new version of procedures and behaviors about how difficult it was to stay alive in the North Atlantic in 1942."

Hanks said Greyhound asks viewers to consider, "What would I do if I was in those same circumstances? How would I deal? Would I crack under the pressure?" He said those questions keep him returning to WWII in his work.

"I keep going back to examine the human condition of how does one deal with a pressure that never lets up? How do you get by that cracking 48 hours or 72 hours where you have no idea if you're doing the right thing," the actor said. "That fascinates me."

Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for COVID-19 in March but have since recovered. Hanks encouraged people to help stop the spread of the virus by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing their hands.

"What has lingered here is the societal question really of doing our part," he said. "Not everything I say has to be tied to somehow the war effort back during World War II, but there was a sensibility that permeated all of society, which was do your part, we're all in this together."

Greyhound was originally slated for release in theaters in June but will now premiere Friday on Apple TV+ due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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