Tom Hanks Talks Playing Against Type As An Aging Grouch In ‘A Man Called Otto’

Tom Hanks Talks Playing Against Type As An Aging Grouch In ‘A Man Called Otto’

Tom Hanks Talks Playing Against Type As An Aging Grouch In ‘A Man Called Otto’

Tom Hanks in 'A Man Called Otto' (Sony)

Tom Hanks in A man named Otto. (Photo: Sony Images)

The slogan of the poster A man named Ottothe comedy drama starring Tom Hanks, says: “Fall in love with the grumpiest man in America.”

Suffice to say, Hanks plays against type in the new Americanized adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s 2012 bestseller. A man named Ovewhich also became the Oscar-nominated Swedish film of the same name in 2015. Because if the beloved 66-year-old actor has his own catchphrase in real life, he becomes “America’s Dad.”

“In fact, they’re both the same thing, my friend, a grumpy parent,” Hanks says, laughing, in a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment.

In this version, Hanks’ Otto Anderson is a widower who was recently forced to retire from his engineering position and runs his Pittsburgh subdivision with an iron fist, living in a constant state of cantankerous annoyance, especially when it comes to his friendly but rule breaking neighbors. . (In an amusing coincidence, Hanks has now played arguably the happiest man in Pittsburgh, famed children’s TV host Fred Rogers on A beautiful day in the neighborhoodand the grumpiest.)

“I would say that Otto is the fairest man,” says Hanks, who also produced the film, with his wife Rita Wilson. “The guy who knows what’s right, the most just man. He knows you can’t park here. [somewhere], do you know? And that’s important knowledge to know sometimes… That’s just correct behavior, that’s accepting what the rules are, and the rules are set up to give everyone a fair chance. Now, as a parent, I try to impart that, but I guess I end up sounding grumpy to all my runny kids.”

A MAN CALLED OTTO, from left: Tom Hanks, Mariana Trevino, 2022. ph: Niko Tavernise / © Sony Pictures Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

Tom Hanks, left, and Mariana Treviño, in A man named Otto. (Photo: Niko Tavernise / © Sony Pictures Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection)

Hanks’ collaborators were thrilled to be working with the Oscar-winning actor, even if, for Mariana Treviño and Manuel García-Rulfo, that meant being on the other side of Otto’s wrath for much of the film. The actors play Mexican-American parents with two young children, with another on the way, who move in across the street from Otto and refuse to be repelled by his curmudgeon. (In the film’s heaviest subplot, they also inadvertently thwart multiple suicide attempts by Otto, who is recovering from the recent death of his wife.)

“It was completely surreal,” says Treviño, a revelation in the film as the energetic “mama bear” Marisol. “And to see up close how she manages, despite all the grumpiness that she projects, to see the core of her, the vulnerability that she was working from, the pain. It shines through all the bad mood, and we could see and feel it when we were shooting. And that was really enriching.”

It was the second time that García-Rulfo worked with Hanks, after 2020 Greyhound.

“He’s crazy, he’s just amazing,” says the actor. “His professionalism from him is insane. I’ve never worked with someone who has that presence, that humility, and that openness to everyone on set, the entire crew, all the actors. I learned a lot from him about how actors should work on set.”

Hanks made life easier for its director, Marc Forster, who knows a thing or two about adapting hit novels (The Kite Runner, World War Z) the same.

“I couldn’t have made this movie without Tom Hanks,” he says. “Tom is so well prepared, he is so kind. And he’s always thinking, and so aware of all the choices that he’s making as an actor. He’s like someone who plays an amazing instrument. It’s like you’re playing with the best violinist in the world… It pretty much covers it all. There is nothing better”.

So how much of Otto Anderson is in Tom Hanks?

Hanks will tell him that there is a pet motive that brings him to Otto’s level of irritability.

“Oh, let’s just talk about people not using their turn signals in front of you,” he grumbles. “Suddenly the car that is slowing down and slowing down for reasons you don’t understand, and then literally stops. And if they had turned on their right blinker to [indicate] they’re looking for a place to park, or they’re going to pull into that driveway, it’s all good. But when they don’t, everything is difficult. So, yeah, I have that.”

Feel free to tell the next person to do that in front of you down the road that Tom Hanks wouldn’t be happy.

“Let them know that the grumpiest dad in America is disappointed in them,” he says. “And then see what happens.”

A man named Otto opens in theaters on Friday.

Watch the trailer:

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