Tom Hanks on his friendship with 12-year-old co-star in News Of The World

Tom Hanks has revealed that his 12-year-old co-star in News Of The World knew nothing about his reputation and had seen none of his films.

The Hollywood actor, 64, stars in the post-Civil War America drama as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a widower and veteran of three wars, who now works as a traveling non-fiction storyteller.

German child actress Helena Zengel features opposite him as Johanna, a 10-year-old taken in by the Native American Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own.

Speaking on The Graham Norton Show’s New Year’s Eve special, the acting veteran admitted she had been entirely unaware of his successes.

He said: “I don’t think so. I think she is too young to have seen any of my films. I would test her every now and again and she would shake her head and say, ‘That means nothing to me.’

“I’d say, ‘When I worked with Clint Eastwood…’ and she’d say, ‘Who is Clint Eastwood?’”

In April Hanks, who was among the first public figures to catch coronavirus, wrote a letter of support to an Australian boy called Corona who was being bullied because of his name.

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Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson (Ian West/PA)

Corona De Vries, from the Gold Coast in Australia, wrote to the actor after he and his wife Rita Wilson recovered from coronavirus.

Reflecting on the much-publicised gift, he said: “On one hand he was seeing his name in the paper every day but, on the other hand, it wasn’t in the best of circumstances. I travel with a typewriter always and it just happened to be an old Corona machine, so I sent it off to him.

“What eight-year-old boy suffering from ostracism doesn’t appreciate getting a writing apparatus from the 1920s? I am sure he was just thrilled.”

The Graham Norton Show airs on BBC One on December 31 at 10.25pm.