Tom Hanks Brings John Adams to Boston

1205157865David McCullough’s granddaughters were livid. The five girls stood in a quiet corner near the red carpet for Boston premiere of John Adams, a seven-part miniseries that debuts on HBO on Sunday, and watched their grandfather talk to reporters.

“He can’t even talk to his own grandkids!” One complained.

“It just hurts my feelings!” Another said dramatically.

But even the slighted granddaughters stopped their conversation to watch as co-executive producer Tom Hanks entered the McKim Building.

Earlier on Friday, a Boston magazine staffer caught a glimpse of Hanks as he toured the Old State House.

“He didn’t look shorter or older, he just looked, like, well, Tom Hanks,” he said. That was our reaction as Hanks slowly worked his way toward us. He was slightly taller than we expected, but otherwise looked like the man we see in the movies.

And Hanks was just as affable as the everymen he plays on screen too. McCullough said that he’d been approached several times by various movie producers who claimed that they loved his books, but clearly hadn’t actually read them. When Hanks sought out McCullough to talk about making a movie based on 1776, the actor had a copy of the bestseller thick with Post-Its.

We told Hanks that we were a little hurt the production didn’t film in Boston.

“There was a financial advantage to go to Virginia, no lie,” he told us. “Tax breaks and what have you. But more than anything it’s physical production. For our story, we were limited in the scope of what we could do here.”

Just because the production didn’t shoot in Boston doesn’t mean the city didn’t contribute to the film. Screenwriter Kirk Ellis used McCullough’s connections with the Boston Public Library to peruse its collection of John Adams’ books, which have the second president’s thoughts in the margins. (Read all about the quest to save these books in this month’s Boston magazine.)

After talking to us, Hanks was whisked away to the reception, shouting out “Cops! Hey, cops!” and waving to the officers working detail. The McCullough family feud was resolved as the author warmly embraced his grandchildren and then wearily explained what happens on the red carpet.

John Adams debuts on HBO on Sunday at 8 p.m.