Watch: Marc Forster explains how Truman Hanks was cast in A Man Called Otto
When it came time to cast the younger version of Tom Hanks’ character in the new dark comedy A Man Called Otto, director Marc Forster didn’t have to think twice and cast Hanks’ youngest son, Truman.
“Truman really looks like Tom in the ’80s, doing Splash and Big and all those movies, but he’s not an actor,” Forster tells Yahoo.
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“Truman wanted to be a cinematographer [director of photography]so we got together and he said, ‘Okay, I’m not sure about this,’ but I was able to talk him down and make him feel welcome and warm.
“And you, Sonya, whose character is played by Rachel Keller…the two of you have natural connections. And I did a screen test with both of you. I said, this is going to work. And I felt very confident that we could do something really special.” here”
The production is an adaptation of the 2015 Swedish film, two-time Oscar nominee, A Man Called Ove, itself an adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s 2012 novel of the same name.
In it, Hanks senior plays Otto, a recently retired factory worker who gives up after the loss of his wife and wants to end it all. Otto’s life is suddenly turned upside down when a young immigrant family moves nearby, leading to a friendship and a new lease on life for Otto, once terminally depressed.
Read more: Tom Hanks on playing ‘against type’ as Otto
Truman plays the younger version of Otto in a series of flashbacks with Tokyo Vice star Rachel Keller, who plays the younger version of Sonya, Otto’s late wife. At times, Truman looks like the spitting image of a younger Tom Hanks, which is why, despite never having acted before, Hanks’ youngest son and acclaimed actress and producer Rita Wilson agreed to be in the film.
Watch a trailer for A Man Called Otto
Tom Hank’s eldest son, Colin Hanks, from his first marriage to Samantha Lewes, is also a successful actor, and the two appeared as father and son in 2009’s The Great Buck Howard. Chet, his eldest son with Rita, is also actor and appears in Empire, Shameless and Your Honor, while his 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 this experience might have changed Truman’s mind about diving into acting once more, Forster adds: “I don’t know. It might just be an exception for Truman, but maybe he wants to continue acting a bit, obviously like two acting brothers and his father and his mother, but I think it might just be an exception. Who knows?”
As for working with Hollywood’s “Mr Nice Guy,” Forster doesn’t hesitate for a second to affirm everyone’s suspicions when he says, “First of all, he’s Tom Hanks, you know, he’s known as the nicest man in Hollywood, but at the same time, that’s actually true.
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“He’s really charming and cool, but he’s, you know… I’ve never had such a symbiotic relationship with an actor, where we got to see one-on-one and he’s so beautiful to work with, and he’s such an amazing artist.”
A Man Called Otto is already in theaters. Watch a trailer below.