Sullenberger was the pilot who, in 2009, miraculously landed a passenger jet in New York's Hudson River after the engines were disabled by a flock of geese on take-off. And Hanks thinks that the time is just right for this movie.

Tom Hanks as Sully

"In the political atmosphere we're in," Hanks says. "there are an awful lot of points being made about how you can't count on people and institutions because they're all broken, that none of them work. Well, that's nonsense! They're not all broken, and you can still have faith in them. And in that regard I think this movie makes a really strong case. I think it's an example of our institutions actually living up to their responsibilities. And I think people are ready for that."

Hanks had of course heard about Sully on the news, but he says he had no idea about the "emotional spine" of the story. Learning more was fascinating, including meeting Sullenberger himself. And with this project, Hanks was also thrilled to get to work with 86-year-old icon Clint Eastwood, who directed the film.

Hanks especially appreciated the fact that Eastwood was also an actor. "Actors know what's required," he says. "All directors should have to act and all actors should have to direct, so that they can understand all these key things that come into play. The pleasure of working with somebody who's an actor is that they don't waste time with stuff that doesn't matter. There is a shorthand, I don't have to explain anything, I just have to do it. Let's not talk about it!"

And of course, with Eastwood, there's the added mythology. "I went off and surveyed everybody I knew who had worked with Clint and said, 'Is it true?'" Hanks says. "That's all you have to say. They know you're talking about shooting just one take. One actor, I won't say who it is, said, 'He is so obviously the man.' I thought I understood what he was saying.'"

And now Hanks has confirmed it. "Yes, he's the man!" he laughs. "There's absolutely no doubt when he's on the set work begins. You don't want to piss him off because he might cold-cock you!"

Watch the trailer for Sully: