Bringing the rapidly spreading global pandemic home to Hollywood in a dramatic way, Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, announced Wednesday that they have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
In a statement relayed through their representative, Hanks said the two contracted the illness in Australia, where the actor is filming Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley biopic, in which Hanks plays Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Hanks and Wilson are both 63 years old.
“Hello, folks,” Hanks writes in the statement. “Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.
“Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? We’ll keep the world posted and updated. Take care of yourselves!”
Shortly after releasing the statement, Hanks tweeted an image of a surgical glove in a garbage can.
It is unclear how the production on the Presley film, which is being produced by Warner Bros., could be affected. The film is slated to be released in October 2021. Austin Butler is set to play Presley in the film, which is shooting in Queensland. Maggie Gyllenhaal has been cast as the singer’s mother, Gladys; Rufus Sewell is to play Presley’s father, Vernon.
Hanks also has two films set to be released this year: the World War II submarine thriller “Greyhound,” due June 12, and the sci-fi film “Bios,” slated for release on Oct. 2.
Hanks is the first major entertainment figure to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, and “Tom Hanks” became the top trend on Twitter within minutes of his announcement, as the news was shared widely by both celebrities and fans, many of whom expressed well-wishes or a heightened sense of alarm about the pandemic.
The news came a day after a false report of a celebrity diagnosis went viral, when an account made to look like a BBC account shared the false news that Daniel Radcliffe had the coronavirus, and many prominent Twitter accounts amplified the tweet. Radcliffe denied the account through a publicist.