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When it comes to COVID-19, Hanks takes it day by day

NEW YORK (AP) — Since contracting COVID-19 in March, Tom Hanks has been, by most measures, busy. He and his wife, Rita Wilson, flew home after recuperating in Australia, where he had been shooting Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley film. He hosted a from-home episode of “Saturday Night Live,” an already distant enough memory that it takes a beat for him to remember it. And he saw his new World War II naval drama “Greyhound” steered from theatrical release by Sony Pictures to Apple TV+ — the streaming service’s biggest movie yet.

But he’s mostly been taking it day by day.

“There’s sort of an ongoing physiological maintenance for your brain and for your body that we’ve been following through,” Hanks says, speaking by video conference from his home in California.

For many, Hanks’ contraction of COVID-19 was the first loud alarm bell that went off in the early days of the pandemic. If “America’s Dad” could get it, so could anyone. The decision to go public with their diagnoses, Hanks said in a recent interview, was twofold. He didn’t want any rumors about why the production was shut down. And if he was going to serve as an overdue public service announcement, so be it.

“Why hide from the facts?” he says. “These were the facts.”

The ordeal, one experienced with varying severity and symptoms between Hanks and Wilson, gave him a perspective on differing national responses to the coronavirus. The comparison with Australia, Hanks grants, isn’t a favorable one for the United States.

“Here we are. And let’s just all do our part, eh?” says Hanks.

Before the pandemic, “Greyhound” was going to hit theaters in early June, smack in between “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Top Gun 2.” “We were going to fight like the scrappy runt of a litter in order to get somebody to pay attention to us,” says Hanks, chuckling.

Now, “Greyhound” will head straight into homes as a marquee event with little competition of similar scale or star power. A Tom Hanks-led, special effects-laden WWII movie is a weight class above most straight-to-streaming options in this strange summer movie season. Disney+ has “Hamilton,” but Apple TV+ has Hanks.

The film, made for about $40 million and acquired by Apple for a reported $70 million, is a taut 88-minute naval drama about a lesser-seen theater of WWII, the Battle of the Atlantic. Hanks’ character is a humble captain for the first time shepherding a convoy of boats across the Atlantic, guarding them from attacking German U-boats while traversing the “black pit”

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