If you just believe! The Polar Express was released in 2004 and has since become a fan-favorite holiday movie. While tons of actors’ voices were used for the film, perhaps the most notable star was Tom Hanks, who played multiple characters.

“They all were extremely different and a lot of it came from the specifics of what costumes they were wearing. We did full-on wardrobe tests and wardrobes were assembled for each one of these characters. We all went through the standard process of costume fittings and choosing up the props. Everything about each one of these characters, we had,” the Elvis actor recalled during an interview with IGN ahead of the movie’s release. “I had to remember that the Conductor had a hat and had a vast with pockets, and the Hobo had all this stuff jammed up inside of him. I would change my shoes depending on which character I would play. … The Conductor had a very specific pair of shoes that he wore and a walk, and the boy had a specific pair of shoes. The body language all just kind of came about.”

However, the legendary actor had no issues creating all his characters.

“There’s no trick to it because quite frankly, that’s my job,” Tom added. “My job is to make manifest these other people and you just imagine what they are and you come up to a kind of physiological understanding of who they are and then you stick to it.”

While filmmaking has come a long way since the Polar Express was released, the movie made headlines at the time for its use of motion capture. Fans will remember the behind-the-scenes clips of Tom dressed as the Conductor with tons of sensors on his head in order to get the movements perfect. In 2004, the Toy Story alum explained that the use of this technology was “only going to work for certain films.” But that’s what made the Polar Express special.

Of course, the motion capture aspect isn’t the film’s only insane behind-the-scenes story! Scroll through our gallery to uncover secrets straight from the Polar Express set. 

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