Entertainment & Arts

Tom Hanks says diabetes will rule out weight gain roles

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Media captionTom Hanks discusses how he chooses film roles

Tom Hanks has ruled out taking on roles which require drastic weight gain following his diagnosis with Type 2 diabetes.

The two-time Oscar- winning actor has often taken on roles that have required him to manipulate his weight, such as Castaway and A League Of Their Own.

But he told the BBC those sort of roles were "a young man's game".

Hanks is in the UK to promote sea piracy thriller Captain Phillips, which opened the London Film Festival.

He added: "I've talked to a number of actors who have gained weight for roles and - just out of the sheer physical toll on one's knees and shoulders - no-one wants to do it again.

"I think that's more or less a young man's game. I'm 57 and I don't think I'm going to take on any job - or go on any vacation again - and see to it that I can gain 30lbs."

'Feeling fine'

The actor revealed he had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes on US TV's Late Show with David Letterman earlier this week.

He told Letterman he had been showing the symptoms for some time.

"I went to the doctor, and he said, 'You know those high blood-sugar numbers you've been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you've graduated! You've got Type 2 diabetes, young man.

The actor, who won best acting Oscars for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, added: "It's controllable. Something's going to kill us all, Dave,"

Type 2 diabetes affects the body by either not producing enough insulin - the hormone that turns sugar into energy - or by resisting insulin.

People might get diabetes because of family history, age and ethnic background. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight.

Image caption Captain Phillips is based on a true hijacking incident in 2009

Speaking at the Captain Phillips press conference on Wednesday, Hanks said: "Gaining and losing of weight may have had something to do with this because you eat so much bad food and you don't get any exercise when you're heavy.

"But I think I was genetically inclined to get it and I think it actually and goes back to a lifestyle I've been leading ever since I was seven years old, as opposed to 36."

The actor added his diabetes was "part of life" and he felt "just fine".

In a later interview with BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz, Hanks said: "I always joke: you've got to maintain the temple. I get regular exercise and I eat right - which everybody should do - and I take certain meds."

Image caption Tom Hanks stars in both the opening and closing features at this year's London Film Festival

He said pizza was a key ingredient when he bulked up for roles. "Pizza is the most delightful thing ever invented and it's - for me - diabolically dangerous."

Asked about recent developments in the entertainment industry, Hanks said the advent of long-form television had "changed the game".

"The time you get to spend with the characters has made it possible to become truly engrossed in really great story telling at home," he said.

"The economics of making movies and showing them are harder than they have ever been with an audience that can see almost anything they want to any time."

Oscar buzz

Hanks is receiving Oscar buzz for his role in Captain Phillips, which is based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of the US container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates.

The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama's commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (Hanks) and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage.

Hanks said he met the real Captain Phillips on two occasions and spent several hours with him to find out the "little details".

The film's British director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, United 93) said it was a "great honour and privilege" to have his film opening a festival "in a city where a lot of movies are made".

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