Hanks reflected on his career during an interview on The Graham Norton Show, which is set to be broadcast on Friday (1 December). The nostalgic chat saw the actor talk about his time filming Ron Howard’s space drama Apollo 13.
Released in 1995, Apollo 13 tells the real-life story of Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert, astronauts who find themselves in mortal danger when a journey to the moon goes wrong.
It was while filming the movie’s most-quoted moment – when Hanks’s Lovell says: “Houston, we have a problem” – that things took an embarrassing turn for the actor.
He told Norton: “Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton and I were recreating the serious moment right after ‘Houston we have a problem,’ and were going up and down on grips making us look weightless.”
Ordinarily, this would have been fine, but that day, the cast and crew were being visited by someone very important: Lovell himself.
Hanks continued: “We looked ridiculous and when I looked down there was Jim looking up at us,” adding: “I have never felt more stupid in my life.”
Apollo 13 was nominated for nine Oscars, winning two in the Editing and Sound categories.
Hanks is in London promoting an installation called The Moonwalkers, which he narrates and co-wrote with Christopher Riley.
It tells the stories of the Apollo space missions, with the technology in the rooms is designed to make you feel as if you’re sat alongside the astronauts.
Earlier this year, Hanks, who won back-to-back Oscars in 1994 and 1995 for Forrest Gump and Philadelphia, named the one film he starred in that he believes does not get enough praise.
The Graham Norton Show is on BBC One at 10.40pm. Episodes are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.