Watch: Marc Forster explains how Truman Hanks was cast in The Man Called Otto
When it came to casting the younger version of Tom Hanks’ character in the new dark comedy A Man Called Otto, director Marc Forster had no doubts that he had chosen Hanks’ youngest son, Truman.
“Truman really looks like Tom in the ’80s with Splash, Big and all those movies, but he’s not an actor,” Forster tells Yahoo.
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“Truman wanted to be an operator [director of photography]so we met and he said “Ok, I’m not sure about that” but I managed to convince him and make him feel welcome and warm.
“And you, Sonya, whose character is played by Rachel Keller…the two just have a natural connection. I did a screen test with both. I said it will work. And I was very confident that we could do something really special here.”
The production is an adaptation of the 2015 Swedish Oscar-nominated film A Man Called Ove, which itself is an adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s 2012 novel of the same name.
In it, Hanks Sr. plays Otto, a recently retired factory worker who has given up on life after losing his wife and wants to end it all. Otto’s life is suddenly turned upside down when a young immigrant family moves in nearby, leading to friendship and a new life for the once terminally depressed Otto.
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Truman plays a younger version of Otto in a series of flashbacks featuring Tokyo vice star Rachel Keller, who plays a younger version of Sonya, Otto’s late wife. Sometimes Truman looks like a spitting image of a younger Tom Hanks, which is why, although he’d never actually acted before, Hanks’ youngest son and established actress and producer Rita Wilson agreed to star in the film.
Watch the trailer for The Man Called Otto
Tom Hank’s eldest son Colin Hanks – from his first marriage to Samantha Lewes – is also a successful actor, and both appeared as father and son in the 2009 film The Great Buck Howard. Chet, his eldest son with Rita, is also an actor starring in Empire, Shameless and Your Honor, while their daughter Elizabeth is also an actress and producer, appearing in her father’s films Forrest Gump and That Thing You Do!
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Speaking about whether the experience might have changed Truman’s mind about re-entering the acting world, Forster adds, “I don’t know. This may just be a one-time thing for Truman, but maybe he wants to continue acting a bit, obviously as the two brothers who play, and his dad and his mother, but I feel like this might just be a one-time thing. Who knows?”
When it comes to working with Hollywood’s “Mr Nice Guy,” Forster doesn’t hesitate a second to confirm everyone’s suspicions when he says, “First of all, it’s Tom Hanks, you know, he’s known as the nicest man in Hollywood, but at the same time, it’s really true .
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“He’s really cute and wonderful, but you know … I’ve never had such a symbiotic relationship with an actor where we saw each other alone and it’s so beautiful to work with him and he’s an amazing artist.”
The Man Called Otto is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer below.