Tom Hanks and Wilson the Volleyball have been reunited. The 65-year-old brought out the iconic Castaway prop from the 2000 film to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Guardians game on Friday, April 15. Fans were elated to see the acting legend march out to the mound with the instantly recognizable ball in hand — featuring the red painted face — but unfortunately wind made it hard for Wilson to stay out there with him.
The ball was more or less a character in the classic 2000 movie when Tom’s character Chuck Nolan, FedEx Executive, survives a plane crash. Nolan then survives on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean, where he lives for a lengthy four years — alone — as Wilson represents the need for human connection. After he finally figures out a plan to return home that involves building a raft, Wilson falls into the ocean and sadly floats away. When Nolan gets back to Memphis, Tennessee, he realizes he was declared dead and his girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt) was moved on with Jerry Lovett (Chris Noth).
Notably, Tom was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor category for the role in 2001 — but lost to Russell Crowe in Gladiator. The dad of four previously acknowledged that working with the volleyball was a game changer for him — even revealing he heard Wilson’s “dialogue” in his head.
“Yeah, when Wilson was born, I had dialogue with him, and I heard his—I heard his dialogue in my head,” Tom said to Entertainment Weekly years later. “I did go crazy because I never had a day off…. I was never off camera for anything. The whole movie was point and shoot. I don’t even recall hearing ‘action’ and ‘cut’. You just kind of like wander into the frame and wander out, and that’s how we shot the movie,” he also said.