March 13th, 2010
12:16 PM ET
13 years ago

Spielberg, Hanks star in behind-the-scenes White House video


Actor Tom Hanks, left, and director Steven Spielberg, right, ended up having front row seats at a recent White House screening of the first episode of their HBO WWII miniseries. (Photo Credit: Pete Souza/White House photo)

Washington (CNN) – Hollywood mega-stars Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have starring roles in a new behind-the-scenes Web video released by the White House Saturday.

The famous director and actor paid a visit to the executive mansion Thursday to provide President Obama with a private screening of the first episode of “The Pacific,” a ten-part HBO miniseries they produced that follows three U.S. Marines through their battles in the Pacific theater during WWII. HBO is owned by Time Warner, which is also the parent company of CNN.

In the Web video, Hanks and Spielberg explain the significance of their miniseries in short interviews and display their excitement at being at the White House surrounded by Washington luminaries.

"I think there is, what, 40 seats in the theater?” Hanks says in the clip as military generals file into the White House movie theater in the East Wing. “Every one will be taken by some sort of honcho and big shot. I think Steven and I might have to stand in the back of the room."

In the clip, uber-director Spielberg is shown filming the event and guests with his Flip camera, a consumer electronic originally intended for those with no knowledge of filmmaking. As Obama walks into the movie theater, Spielberg is shown right behind the president filming with the tiny digital video camera.

The Web video also shows Spielberg and Hanks mingling with those in attendance at Thursday’s screening, including members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, members of Congress, and members of the veterans groups Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Women in the Military Service for America Memorial Foundation.

In the 10-part miniseries, “We’re really trying to show people the kind of strength and courage that these young kids brought to the world,” Spielberg says in the Web video about the Americans who fought in WWII. “And, finishing the war in victory, they were able to re-start America on solid bedrock having defeated fascism.”

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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Linda, Phoenix, Arizona

    Why must these incredibly talented and intelligent film makers continue to glorify war? Haven't we had enough movies about WWII? Why not tell us the truth about our wars right now- why not tell the nation the truth about secret armies like Blackwater and other contractors who are war profiteering everyday? To me,every war movie makes war seem like it is something we need to do when it is finally time to sell peace! Give peace a chance- stop basing our economy on killing! If we gave food and blankets and hope after 9/11 instead of shock and awe, how might it be different? I am really disappointed in Hanks and Spielberg- haven't they glorified war enough already?

    March 13, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. jules sand-perkins

    More borrowed PR splendor for our White House! Yea!
    Has everybody seen the new 44% and 46% approval ratings for President Obama?
    I just love espresso, too.

    March 13, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. sue

    That's all this White House and the administration is-Hollywood. No substance, all a fantasy. How many are regretting their vote? Feel bad you fell for them?

    March 13, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Andy

    They all fit in well since all are connected with Hollywood,Obama is an actor just like Hanks.He reads his lines and puts on a show.

    March 13, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. valwayne

    Its nice that Obama can take time from trying to pass the massive corrupt healthcare bill to go to the movies. It would be equally nice if he could find time to get the economy on track and create some jobs. I'm beginning to think he likes haveing millions of people unemployed and dependent on the Government!

    March 13, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. JoJo

    What is the big deal about this movie?. How many war movie Tom Hanks made in his career?, too many. What I am expecting to see, soldiers been shot at, some bloody scenes, when you make one war movie, they all end up to be the same. Maybe for Obama is a good experience, he never been in a war, now he can see what is all about when he send some more servicemembers to Afgfhanistan, Iraq or any where in the world, and the risk they are taking if their deployments is worth their efforts and time.

    March 13, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Clarence Smith

    I enjoyed Band of Brothers, can't wait for The Pacific. Having served the military, I can't be more proud of Hanks and Spielberg and the work they do!!

    March 13, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Joe

    just what we all need – yet more sycophantic maundering

    March 13, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. TBA

    Funny, how Bill O'Reily of Fox News Network aka Republican News Network went out and blasting Tom Hanks just because he didn't want to appear on his show. Calling him a Left Wing Extermist.

    March 13, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. aware

    The film is fine but Hank's spin is as misguided, naive and arrogant as Obama! The myth of power to heal in either case is a fool's errand! 🙁

    March 13, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Texas Jack

    BOY! The movie makers are up against hard time if they have to make the White House and it's present occupants their background for a new movie. Co'm on Hanks I thought you was above this kind of thing. Who's gonna play Obama, YOU?

    March 13, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Donnatella

    It looks like they had a really good time.

    March 13, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. Willy Brown

    It's prrogressives in a slobber fest

    March 13, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. ib

    I used to be a big fan of Hanks but I have lost all respect for him since he has made the far left statements lately. He is a great actor and he needs to do that and keep his politics to himself.

    March 13, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. freelance

    "Hanks, Spielberg visit WH" People want a third party. I guess this will work.

    March 13, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. diridi

    pass this health care reform, and talk...

    March 13, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Sue

    WOW – Even Spielberg and Hanks have succumbed to the OBOMBA celebrity status – Whatever happened to the President? He's very busy being a movie star these days – INSTEAD of helping the economy and the people in this horrific economy.

    March 13, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |