The Real Reason Tom Hanks Won't Go To Space

In October, actor William Shatner became the oldest person ever to head into space when the 90-year-old boarded Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin New Shepard rocket ship in Texas, bound for the stars. As The Guardian reported at the time, the "Star Trek" star said he was "overwhelmed" over being given the opportunity to go into space aboard the second successful crewed flight from the Amazon founder's fledgling company. Bezos is trying to make luxury space travel a reality and is currently racing against fellow billionaires, including Tesla's Elon Musk, to achieve it first. Shatner wept upon arriving back on home turf, admitting, "I hope I never recover from this."

The actor went on to gush (via The Guardian), "I'm so filled with emotion about what just happened. It's extraordinary, extraordinary. It's so much larger than me and life. It hasn't got anything to do with the little green men and the blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death." 

Shatner memorably played Captain Kirk on "Star Trek" for 40 years, so the irony of his space trip certainly wasn't lost on him. Bezos, meanwhile, has sold a whopping $100 million in tickets for future space trips. Shatner, naturally, rode for free. Although people are seemingly lining up to go, Tom Hanks is one star who won't be heading to the stars any time soon.

Tom Hanks isn't willing to shell out for the privilege

During a recent appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to promote his new sci-fi movie "Finch," actor Tom Hanks revealed he'd been offered the chance to go to space even before William Shatner. However, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos expected the Oscar winner to pay for the privilege, which led Hanks to tell him — very politely, we're sure — thanks, but no thanks. 

As the actor explained, "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." Hanks then jokingly suggested replicating the short flight, which typically lasts less than fifteen minutes, in the studio by simply bouncing around in his chair. "I don't need to spend 28 million bucks to do that," Hanks quipped.

The actor would, however, agree to go if the trip was free "just in order to experience the joy of pretending I'm a billionaire." According to a report by Business Insider, however, Hanks was previously believed to be among a group of celebrities who had shelled out $250,000 apiece to fly to space aboard Bezos's rival, Richard Branson's, Virgin Galactic flights. Company filings revealed around 600 people, including many famous types, had reserved spots so they could be among the first space tourists. Maybe Hanks simply changed his mind, or perhaps the price tag of $250,000 was considered more reasonable than the $28m quoted to fly with Bezos?