Cinema: Saving Tom Hanks

Shedding pounds and pounding the surf to film an island survival tale

The scrawny man on the tiny log raft, drenched with salt spray and flailing on the oars, is learning the meaning of the word breakers. Most weeks, the beefy, cream-capped, electric-blue waves cresting over the reef carry hard-core surfers from around the world. But this morning they have a different job: to kick Tom Hanks' bony, tan butt.

The crew of Cast Away is shooting "the moment." Hanks' emaciated, exposure-ravaged character, Chuck Noland, fleeing the island on which he's been marooned for four years after a plane crash, pounds through the surf and raises the sail: the wall of a portable...

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