Tom Hanks has revealed that the advice he gave his son before they acted together in the upcoming movie A Man Called Otto was to “work hard, but you can’t make it look like you’re working hard.”
The 66-year-old Hollywood actor stars in the title role of the new comedy, while his son Truman plays a younger version of the character.
It follows Otto, a grumpy widower who has given up on life after the death of his wife, whose world is turned upside down when a young family moves in nearby.
Speaking on a special edition of Classic FM’s Saturday Night At The Movies, Hanks said Truman’s first day on set was the “toughest scene” young Otto has to play on film.
The actor recalled, “I said, ‘Is that your first day? Welcome to the big leagues my friend, you’re playing in the Premiership.’
“That’s what it takes sometimes. We compare notes but only in the most surreptitious way because so much of being an actor is… look, you have to do all the work but not show the work.
“You have to work hard, but you can’t make it look like you’re working hard.
“So there was body language that went with it (the role), but other than that, the only advice I could give was to make sure you’re on time and make sure you have an idea in your head.
“That’s all you can do as an actor and then everything else should take care of itself after that.”
Truman is more often behind the camera and has worked on various movie sets as a crew member.
Hanks confirmed that it was the film’s director, Marc Forster, who suggested that Truman audition for the role.
He said: “He has always developed his own film and has always wanted to shoot it, he would like to be a cinematographer.
“Then this came up and (it was) Marc Forster who said, ‘Is there any way Truman can play it? Because he looks just like you and will have the same body language.’
“And I said ‘That’s up to him, man, it’s not an easy question.’ And his mother and I were ambivalent, which means this is up to him, period, the end. So don’t ask us what we think about it. Because we will be happy to work with anyone”.
Hanks added that after his son and the director met, Truman accepted the role “for the experience.”
The film was also a family affair as Hanks’ wife, singer-actress Rita Wilson, composed a song titled 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 much on display,” Hanks said.
“And this is a beautiful song at the end. I hear it in each of her evolutionary steps. I’ll listen to it as a demo, I’ll listen to it solo as a piano, I’ll listen to the first orchestration of it.
“Which absolutely knocked me out, there are two elements to any movie song, it has to be about what you just saw somehow, but it can’t be that spot on, there’s no mystery about what it’s saying. It has to be a complement to the story but it also has to fit in temporarily.
“It has to sound like it belongs, at the same time it has to have lyrics that further the meaning of the movie and I thought that was the case.
“It’s just number one. But then again, I have all of my wife’s records, so I’m a huge fan of all of her work.”
The full episode, Saturday Night At The Movies: A Tom Hanks Exclusive, will be on Classic FM and Global Player at 7pm on Saturday, January 7.