Hanks, but no Hanks: Actor turned down Jeff Bezos’ offer to ride Blue Origin rocket because of price tag

Tom Hanks has already been to space, sort of, as the star of 1995’s “Apollo 13.” He wasn’t going to pay millions for the chance to do it in real life.

The popular actor said he turned down an offer from Jeff Bezos to ride one of the Amazon founder’s Blue Origin rockets to space because it wasn’t going to be a free trip.

“Is it true that you were asked to go to space by Jeff Bezos before William Shatner?” late-night host Jimmy Kimmel asked Hanks on his show Tuesday (at the 5:25 mark above).

“Well yeah, provided I pay,” Hanks said. “It costs like $28 million bucks or something like that. And I’m doing good, Jimmy. I’m doing good. But I ain’t paying [$28 million].”

Hanks was referencing the auction price paid for the first flight on a Blue Origin spaceship. If you want to want to reserve a window seat these days, you have to start at this link — unless you get a direct invite from Bezos.

Hanks said the adventure is easy enough to simulate without leaving Earth.

Actor Tom Hanks, left, shows Jimmy Kimmel what it’s probably like to float in space. (YouTube screen grab)

“It’s about a 12-minute flight?” he asked. “We could all do it in our seats right here. Just lean back like this …” he said as he jerked in his seat like he was blasting off on a rocket. He then showed what it’s like to unbuckle and float around for a few minutes before strapping back in and shaking for another four minutes on the return to Earth.

“Even if it was free you wouldn’t do that,” Kimmel said.

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“I’d do it on occasion just to experience the joy, of pretending I’m a billionaire,” Hanks said.

Star Trek actor William Shatner did indeed take Bezos up on the offer to go to space and rode a New Shepard suborbital spaceship on Oct. 13, but his ride was free as an “honored guest.” The emotional 90-year-old told Bezos upon return that “everybody in the world needs to do this.”

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