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HANKS SAYS 'BONFIRE' IS NOT RACIST

Actor Tom Hanks says charges of racism in "The Bonfire of the Vanities" may be misdirected because the movie hits rich, white people most of all.

"I didn't worry much about the racist angle," he said. "The story is hard on everybody, probably hardest of all on the white Park Avenue types."

Director Brian DePalma ran into considerable community opposition while making the movie, particularly from blacks.

In an interview in the Sunday Tennessean, Hanks said he was "bracing to hear from the Southern belle lobbyists. My mistress in the movie is not a very flattering example of Southern womanhood."

He said the offer from DePalma to play selfish yuppie Sherman McCoy came as a surprise, and he thought the offer was a joke. About the character, Hanks said: "In the beginning, he is a man with no soul, he has no heart and he is utterly lacking in moral fiber. Can you imagine anything sadder than that?"

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