Why Tom Hanks Turned Down a Trip to Space With Jeff Bezos

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Tom Hanks turned down his chance to go to space. The 65-year-old actor appeared on Wednesday's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, and revealed that, before Jeff Bezos invited William Shatner to travel to space, the Amazon and Blue Origin founder presented him with the opportunity.

"Provided I pay," Hanks said of the catch to his potential space travel. "It costs like 28 million bucks or something like that. I'm doing good, Jimmy. I'm doing good, but I ain't paying 28 [million] bucks."

The actor went on to insist that he, Kimmel and the studio audience "could simulate the experience of going to space right now."

"Twelve-minute flight. OK. We can all do it in our seats right here. Just lean back like this and [shake and groan]," he instructed. "You do that for four minutes."

"And then you get up and float. Take off your seatbelt," he continued, as he pretended to fly through the air, yelling, "Wow! This is fabulous. Man!" and looking around in faux awe. "What? Get back in?" Hanks pretended to be told, before joking that that would be followed by "another four minutes of [shaking and groaning]." 

"I don't need to spend 28 million bucks to do that," he reasoned to laughs from the audience.

While Hanks opted out of space travel, Shatner did not. Instead, the Star Trek actor became the oldest person to make the journey to space when he traveled on Bezos' New Shepard NS-18 ship. 

Following his journey, Shatner told ET that the experience was "indescribable," adding that there are simply "no words in the English language to relate."

"You hear people say religious experience, I don't know about religious experience, but you can have an overwhelming experience," Shatner said, before comparing the flight to holding one's child for the first time.

"You hold the baby and it's magical. It's so overwhelming. How am I going to protect this child?" he said. "... You're flooded with the responsibility and need to take care of [the child] and how you're going to do it. That's an overwhelming experience, and I had that experience."

"Looking at what I thought was life and death, what I thought was my children and my children's children," Shatner continued. "The need to stop that blackness from overwhelming our precious planet and how unknowing the people who are not as consumed as I am about the necessity of protecting the Earth."

Hanks may not have traveled to space, but he is as busy as ever in his career. The actor is currently promoting his new film, Finch, which will premiere on Apple TV+ on Friday, Nov. 5.

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