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The Time Paul Bettany 'Punched' A Fart Out Of Tom Hanks

Consider the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, immortalized in his beloved poem "A Psalm of Life: What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist":

Lives of great men all remind us / We can make our lives sublime, / And, departing, leave behind us / Footprints on the sands of time; / Footprints, that perhaps another,Sailing o'er life's solemn main, / A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, / Seeing, shall take heart again.

Life, in other words, shines more brightly under the light of exceptionalism, and the experiences of the remarkable are like gleaming beacons of hope to we, the forgotten and unsung. We take comfort and inspiration from the doings of those beautiful, talented, and hard-working enough to rise above their station. Celebrity, fickle mistress though it may be, grants its chosen people the chance to do what we cannot, and basking vicariously in the glow of their day-to-day is as warm a feeling as many of us can dream of sustaining for ourselves.

And so, let us lounge in the secondhand lap of the extraordinary for a moment. Let us feel what the famous and the beloved feel. Let us contemplate what it must have been like for Paul Bettany, who has portrayed figures from Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Darwin to Prince William of Orange and the Archangel Michael, when he punched a fart out of Tom Hanks on the set of The DaVinci Code.

Paul Bettany made Tom Hanks break character, wind

The story comes to us courtesy of an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, broadcast on March 3, 2021. There, WandaVision star Paul Bettany relayed the harrowing tale of his work on the 2006 adaptation of Dan Brown's bestselling novel, and the series of events which led to his punching a fart out of America's dad. Recall, if you will, that Bettany played Silas, the antagonistic albino monk and religious zealot tasked with stopping seekers of the Holy Grail by any means necessary.

In one scene, Bettany was tasked with hitting Tom Hanks in the gut. He recalled that an eerie silence fell over the cast and crew on the day that the scene was shot — "It's always more quiet when there's a stunt going on because you're worried somebody's gonna get hurt," he reminisced to Colbert. "So, everybody's listening, and I punched him in the stomach, and he farted really, really, really loudly.

"But really loudly," he continued. "I didn't know what the form was. What do you do when the biggest movie star in the world farts? I kinda looked at him. [...] And he went, 'What is wrong with you? What is wrong with you? You just made me fart!'"

What have we learned here today? The story, which Bettany has relayed before and which Hanks corroborated on The Graham Norton Show back in 2019, serves to remind us of many things: "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." "In both their lifestyles and their tendency to break wind when punched in the stomach, celebrities really are just like us." "Gas is funny." Take from it what you will. As Longfellow so aptly put it,

Let us, then, be up and doing, / As the piper plays his flute; / Still achieving, still pursuing, / Vision made Tom Hanks go poot.