Tom Hanks reveals the acting advice he gave his son ahead of their new movie together

Tom Hanks has revealed the advice he gave his son before they starred together in the upcoming film A Man Called Otto to “work hard, but you can’t give the impression that you work hard.”

The 66-year-old Hollywood actor stars in the title role in the new comedy, while his son Truman plays the younger version of the character.

Otto, a grumpy widower who has given up on life after the death of his wife, whose world changes when a young family moves in nearby.

Speaking on a special edition of Classic FM’s Saturday Night At The Movies, Hanks said that Truman’s first day on set was “the hardest scene” young Otto has to play in a movie.

The actor recalled, “I said, ‘It’s your first day? Welcome to the big leagues my friend, you’re playing in the Premiership.”

“Sometimes you need it. We compared notes, but only in the most furtive way, because being an actor is… look, you have to do all the work, but don’t show the work.

“You have to work hard, but you must not give the impression that you are working hard.

“So there was body language (role) but other than that the only advice I could give was to make sure you show up on time and make sure you have the idea in your head.

“That’s all you can do as an actor, and then everything else should take care of itself.”

Truman is behind the camera more often and has worked on many sets as a crew member.

Hanks confirmed that it was the film’s director Marc Forster who suggested Truman try out for the role.

He said, “He’s always developed his own film and he’s always wanted to shoot, he’d like to be a cinematographer.

“So this came up and (it was) Marc Forster who said, ‘Is there any way Truman could just play it? Because he looks like you and will have the same body language.”

“And I said, ‘It’s up to him, man, that’s not an easy question.’ And his mom and I were both ambivalent, which meant it was up to him, period. So don’t ask us what we think about it. Because we are happy to work with anyone.”

Hanks added that after meeting his son with the director, Truman agreed to the role “for experience”.


Tom Hanks with wife Rita Wilson (Ian West/PA)

The film was also a family affair, as Hanks’ wife, singer and actress Rita Wilson, composed a song called Til You’re Home for the project and is one of the producers.

“This combination of her artistic sensibilities as a producer and songwriter is very evident,” said Hanks.

“And it’s a beautiful song at the end. I hear it at every stage of evolution. I’ll hear it as a demo, I’ll hear it as a piano, I’ll hear its first arrangement.

“What totally knocked me out, every movie song has two parts, it has to be about what you just saw, but it can’t be so spot on that there’s no mystery in what it says. It must complement the plot, but it must also fit in time.

“It has to sound right, and at the same time, it has to have lyrics that expand the meaning of the movie, and I just thought it did.

“It’s just number one. But then again, I have all my wife’s records, so I’m a huge fan of all her work.”

The full episode, Saturday Night At The Movies: A Tom Hanks Exclusive, will air on Classic FM and Global Player at 7pm on Saturday, January 7.

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