Naturally the name “Tom Hanks” (also known as the most trusted person in America!) stands out on the poster for Broadway’s Lucky Guy even more than the title. Being that Hanks is one of the biggest movie stars in the world that makes sense, but it also makes it easy to forget that there are other talented individuals in the production, like Courtney B. Vance. The New Pittsburgh Courier interviewed Vance about working on Lucky Guy and his thoughts on what road he might have taken had he not become an actor.
First he speaks about what he looks for in a role in general and in his Lucky Guy role in particular. He says, “I look for roles that challenge me, and I consider whether it is something that I and my family will be proud of. Will my family be proud to watch the work and will it challenge me? In this case it was the opportunity to work with [writer] Nora Ephron and Tom Hanks and [director] George C. Wolfe; if the three of them are involved, I am in it. George is a taskmaster, and we are all exhausted, but exhilarated. He is relentless because his vision is so big.”
When asked what he would have done if he didn’t become an actor, Vance reveals he nearly missed the theater on his way to a promising business career. He says, “Probably work at General Motors in some sort of business development capacity. I worked summers there in the World HQ and … the worldwide head of purchasing for GM, Robert Stone, and his boss took me under their wing. They were about to send me to business school when I found theater. In fact, they offered me a job that summer which I turned down because I was going to participate in an acting workshop. Then I told my parents what I had done. … Years later that same head of purchasing, and his wife, came all the way from Switzerland and saw me on stage in Fences. … Later he and I wept backstage because he had essentially saved me that summer … it was one of the most moving experiences of my life.”