The fictional band from Tom Hanks’ 1996 movie That Thing You Do! reunited in Los Angeles last night to perform their hit song “That Thing You Do.” The Wonders were persuaded to reunite and perform at the Roxy last night for the Goddamn Comedy Jam with Bill Burr by Josh Adam Myers. Ethan Embry (The Bass Player), Jonathon Schaech (singer Jimmy), and Tom Everett Scott (Shades the Drummer) got up on stage to perform their hit single from the movie with a backing band and the crowd loved it. Steve Zahn, the guitar player in the band, was not able to attend so the guitar player of the backup band made a mask of Zahn’s face. Tom Hanks played the role of the band’s manager and was also not in attendance.
Various social media posts show the actors having a blast playing their hit single. Ethan Embry, when interviewed for the 20th anniversary of the movie told Entertainment Weekly that he was sick of the song. Here’s what he had to say in his interview with EW.
“I hate that song. I remember it reached that point of, like, ‘I can’t play this song one more time.'”
It is rumored that actors would playfully punch people on the set while filming who were caught whispering the tune. Hate it or not, the band clearly loved reuniting and playing That Thing You Do! for the first time in over 20 years.
That Thing You Do! was written by Hanks in 30 days while he was on a press tour to promote 1994’s Forrest Gump. The movie, set in 1964, follows a garage band’s rise to fame and the trials and tribulations of being in a one hit wonder rock band. Hanks had the actors learn to play their respective instruments while filming, which gave the movie a sense of authenticity. The song “That Thing You Do” was written by Adam Schlesinger of the band Fountains of Wayne and went on to reach number 41 on the Billboard charts and snag a Grammy nomination. The soundtrack included songs written by Hanks and Schlesinger and also cracked the Billboard charts. Not bad for a fictional band.
Hanks made sure to put references to The Beatles in That Thing You Do!, even modeling his character, Andy White as the band’s manager after Beatles manager, Brian Epstein. Andy White was the studio drummer who played on the Beatles first single, “Love Me Do.” The band’s sound was influenced by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, as well as the Dave Clark 5. Keen listeners can hear the influence while listening to the movie soundtrack.
That Thing You Do! was a moderate success at the box office in 1996, bringing in $35.5 million worldwide and a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While it seems last night’s Wonders reunion was a one off, we hope that other fictional bands take notice. Wyld Stallyns, Crucial Taunt, Cap’n Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters would make a great package tour.