Tom Hanks Has A Clean Reputation In Hollywood, But He Once Got A Co-Star Fired Mid-Scene

  • Tom Hanks fired actor Connor Ratliff from Band of Brothers for having “dead eyes,” but later apologized for the incident.
  • Hanks takes responsibility for the firing, calling it a subtle decision that guided the story in the desired direction.
    • Band of Brothers remains a successful project, with Hanks reflecting fondly on its impact and the unity it created among viewers.

    Looking at the most successful and cleanest resumes in Hollywood, Tom Hanks always makes the top of that list. However, he has dealt with controversy in the past, and that included getting dragged into a $1 million lawsuit filed against his son Chet Hanks.

    It seems like Hanks was also put on blast for a casting decision made during the iconic series, Band of Brothers. Connor Ratliff shot scenes for the show, but was given the boot rather quickly. Given that the series was under Hanks’ direction, he was the one to issue the sudden firing.

    We’ll take a look back at what went on between the two, and what Tom Hanks’ take was on what exactly went on. We’ll also reveal Hanks’ thoughts on Band of Brothers looking back.

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    Connor Ratliff Was Fired From Band Of Brothers After Tom Hanks Said The Actor Had “Dead Eyes”

    22 years later, Connor Ratliff finally got some explanation about what went on during his brief stint in Band of Brothers. Hanks finally apologized for firing the actor for having “dead eyes.” The story goes that Ratliff shot a couple of scenes for Band of Brothers, but was fired after a scene and replaced.

    Hanks admitted he doesn’t remember what exactly took place, and went on to reveal that it could’ve been something very minor.

    “I was aghast. I was … I actually got chilled. My heart rate skyrocketed and I said, I did … I did what? I did what?” Hanks said. “In the inner sanctum of whatever this casting session was on Band of Brothers … I’m sure I said, ‘I don’t know man, that guy’s got dead eyes.’ I could’ve said, ‘He’s got too blond of hair; he’s too tall and I can’t have the aide be taller than Captain Winters.”

    Hanks continues, “I could’ve said, “He’s too short and slight … I could’ve said any of these things, and they would have been true and they would’ve been the opinion.”


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    Hanks added, “Whoever communicated to you what was said, in the inner sanctum, with such authenticity, should have their kneecaps broken, because that is … That is not allowed. It’s not quotable there. It’s off the record.”

    As for Connor, he called the incident unfortunate, while he deemed his firing at the time due to the chaos that was taking place on-set. Ultimately, Ratliff walked away with some clarity on the situation, and was even given an apology from Hanks.

    Tom Hanks Apologized To Connor Ratliff Years Later After The Incident Took Place

    That’s right, Tom Hanks was also “strong enough” to apologize, which once again proves that he’s among the nicest guys in Hollywood. Hanks didn’t have to given that these types of cuts are part of the business. Nonetheless, Hanks did feel sorry about what took place.

    “Let me first take full responsibility for doing this to you. This was without a doubt the act of the director, and that was me.”

    Tom Hanks looking unsure

    Tom Hanks looking unsure© Provided by TheThings

    Hanks would go on to call it a moment that guided the story in the direction he wanted in a subtle way, “one of those very, very subtle sort of decisions that aims the story in the direction you want it to go,” Hanks told Ratliff.


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    Despite the awkward moment, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Band of Brothers was incredibly successful, and a project Tom Hanks still has fond memories of looking back on.

    Tom Hanks Had A Fond Experience Looking Back At Band Of Brothers, And Its Impact

    Speaking alongside Deadline back in 2021, Tom Hanks spoke about Band of Brothers, and the impact of the project all these years later.

    Hanks mentioned that the show was a great way to unite people.

    Tom Hanks smiling on the red carpet of an event

    Tom Hanks smiling on the red carpet of an event© Provided by TheThings

    “The key word of the title is “Brothers.” I think the resonance of the series comes from the sense of ‘Us,’ that we are all in this together and the primary, instinctive duty is to look after our brothers. A unit – like Easy Company – stands alone, together.”

    Hanks went on to discuss the importance of Band of Brothers thriving at the time.

    “If the series fails to show that the human condition then is the exact same now as then, we’ve failed the mission. Boys then went off to save the world — in vast numbers — with no idea of when the war would end. Ed Shames — and every man of Easy Company — volunteered for the work. Time calls for such volunteers, such heroes, every few weeks, in every era. With just one decision, each of us has heroism inside us.”

    Hanks added that Jeff Bewkes, the former HBO CEO, agreeing to the expensive budget for a miniseries was also a crucial factor in the show thriving. There really wasn’t much they couldn’t do, and it only made the miniseries that much better, especially from a creative standpoint.

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