There’s lots of press out there around a documentary called Killing Lincoln, airing next month on the National Geographic Channel. It reminded me of a phone call I got from Tom Hanks a few months ago. Conversation went like this…
Tom: Hey Mike, how’s it going?
Mike: Fine. Who’s this?
Tom: It’s Tom!
Tom: Tom Hanks.
Mike: Get out of here.
Tom: No, really. It’s me.
Mike: (pause) This doesn’t sound like Tom Hanks.
Tom: Well, it is.
Mike: Say “life is like a box of chocolates.”
Tom: Life is like a box of chocolates.
Mike: No, say it like Forrest Gump.
Tom: (Sigh) “Momma always said, life is like a box of chocolates.”
Mike: Son of a gun. Tom Hanks. So…what can I do for you, Tom?
Tom: Well Mike, I need a favor.
Mike: A favor? From me?
Tom: Yeah. You know I’m crazy about Lincoln, right?
Mike: Abraham Lincoln?
Tom: Yeah, him.
Mike: Actually, no. I didn’t know that.
Tom: Well, I am. He’s my all-time favorite president. Ever.
Mike: That’s nice. I like him too.
Tom: Yeah well, I love him, Mike. And I’m not ashamed to say it. I love, love, love Abraham Lincoln.
Tom: Did you know that we’re related?
Mike: You and Lincoln?
Tom: That’s right. On my mother’s side.
Mike: I didn’t know that.
Tom: Well, it’s true. You can look it up.
Mike: You should check out Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Lincoln. It’s pretty good.
Tom: Oh my God, I LOVE that book!
Mike: In fact, National Geographic is making a documentary out of it and I’ve been asked to narrate it. How cool is that?
Tom: Yeah…um…actually Mike…that’s why I’m calling you.
Mike: You want me to get you a copy of the DVD?
Tom: No. I’m calling because I have to narrate Killing Lincoln.
Mike: (pause) You have to narrate it?
Tom: Yes. I simply have to. You see, I really love Lincoln. And us being related and all…
Mike: Look, Tom, this is a little awkward. I’ve already agreed to narrate Killing Lincoln. They asked me months ago and I said yes. There was a press release and everything. It would be weird for me to just, you know…drop out.
Tom: Don’t worry, Mike. Nobody will notice.
Mike: You don’t think so?
Tom: No way. Remember Cloud Atlas?
Mike: Good point.
Tom: Besides, you narrate Deadliest Catch, right?
Tom: That’s a pretty sweet gig.
Mike: Yes, I’m lucky to have it.
Tom: You also narrate all those cool documentaries for Discovery?
Tom: And you’re the voice of Ford too, right?
Mike: Yeah, but I don’t understand what that has to do…
Tom: Look, Mike, to be honest … I could use the work.
Tom: Yeah. Plus, I love Bill O’Reilly.
Mike: You do?
Tom: You bet. He’s the only guy I can rely on for news and information with no spin.
Mike: Didn’t he call you a “Pinhead?”
Tom: That was a long time ago. Today I’ve come to realize that Bill O’Reilly is the only newsman I can really trust. There’s just something about the way he reads the news … like he’s talking only to me.
Mike: I see.
Mike: This isn’t the big screen, Tom. It’s not even HBO. Do you even do TV anymore?
Tom: Only if it’s about Lincoln. Or World War II. Or space. I love space. I would really love to do a movie about Lincoln on the moon. Do you think people would enjoy that?
Mike: Well, a bunch of people just watched a movie about Lincoln hunting vampires. So I guess anything is possible.
Tom: Oh my God, I loved that movie. (pause) Did you narrate that too?
Mike: Look Tom, if Killing Lincoln really means that much to you, I’m happy to step aside.
Tom: Thanks, Mike. This means the world to me.
Mike: Don’t mention it. The guys at Nat Geo are very nice, and I hear they’re doing a film version of Killing Kennedy sometime next year. Maybe they’ll let me narrate that one?
Tom: Actually Mike, John Kennedy was my second cousin. Did you know that?
Mike: You’re kidding.
Tom: Nope. It’s true. I love Kennedy. He’s my second favorite President.
Mike: That’s great, Tom.
Tom: Now, about Deadliest Catch ….
In hindsight, I may have dreamed up the whole conversation, but I’m pretty sure it happened exactly as I’ve described. What do you think?