Tom Hanks laughed off the bad weather and insisted he found London “glamorous” as he opened the capital’s film festival.
The 57-year-old Oscar-winning actor was joined by actress wife Rita Wilson and director Paul Greengrass at the premiere of his new film Captain Phillips.
Hanks will also close the festival playing Walt Disney in Saving Mr Banks and is to attend a celebration of his career in cinema by Bafta while he is in town.
Speaking in a drizzly and blustery Leicester Square, he said: “This is my first time. All these film festivals have a very different feel to them, this is so international.
“And here we are in London, arguably one of the most important cities in the world, as supposed to a resort town or a little gambling village on the coast of France.
“So the weight of the big deal of it is both omnipresent and rather glamorous.”
Referring to the bad weather he laughed: “I’ll take that, come on! We’re in London – fabulous!”
British director Paul Greengrass said he felt “very proud” to be opening the festival.
Captain Phillips is a true-life thriller about the Maersk Alabama hijacking by Somalian pirates in 2009. Hanks stars as Captain Richard Phillips, the leader of the US container ship, who was taken hostage with his crewmates.
Hanks insisted he knew the role would be emotional and stressful, but he embraced the challenge.
The double Oscar-winner said: “I’m a professional and I like to think of myself as a creative artist and you sort of take that on. As soon as you say yes to something you realise that a day is going to come where you have to be in a place that is both manufactured and yet very real to all your senses. And you prepare to get there as best you can, and when the time comes hopefully you achieve it.
“Those are the cards laid down on the table.”
The 57th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express runs until Sunday October 20.
Captain Phillips is released in cinemas on Friday October 18.