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Here's why Tom Hanks doesn't play more bad guys

The actor, who stars in the Mister Rogers movie "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," hasn't often played the villain during his long and successful career.
/ Source: TODAY

Tom Hanks is always going to be seen as the nice guy, and he's OK with that.

Over the years, the actor, 63, has played a few bad guys — like his assassin character in "Road to Perdition" — but for the most part, Hanks has stayed loyal to his role as Hollywood's perennial nice guy. And now we know why.

“I recognized in myself a long time ago that I don’t instill fear in anybody,” Hanks, who stars as Mister Rogers in the new movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” told the New York Times. “Now, that’s different than being nice, you know? I think I have a cache of mystery. But it’s not one of malevolence.”

Whenever people ask him why he doesn't often take on darker roles, Hanks has the perfect response: “It’s because I never get them, because bad guys, by and large, require some degree of malevolence that I don’t think I can fake.”

And besides, Hanks says he doesn't want to play villains who destroy for no reason at all. Instead, he prefers to portray relatable people who have done extraordinary things.

Even though he doesn't have a scary persona, Hanks recognized early on that he did have the charm necessary to play a range of roles and captivate an audience.

Hanks played an assassin in "Road to Perdition" in 2002. Alamy

“Let’s not call this a dark side, but: I realize, and I used over and over again, the ability to seduce a room, seduce a group of people, and that it started off when I was very young as a self-defense mechanism but then turned into a manipulative kind of thing, because I didn’t realize that I was as good at it as I was. And part of that is I am not malevolent. I’m not mysterious. You’re not going to get a huge amount of anger out of me or anything like that. I’m not coming in to dominate a room, but I am coming in to seduce it somehow," he said.

Hanks certainly looks charming in his latest film, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” In the biopic, Hanks portrays Fred Rogers, otherwise known as Mister Rogers, and he pretty much nailed the TV icon's look and mannerisms.

Looks like being a nice guy has worked out pretty well for him!