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Tom Hanks Gave His Son a Warning Before Making Their First Film Together

Rosemary Giles
Photo Credit: Dave J Hogan / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Dave J Hogan / Getty Images

It’s not uncommon for Hollywood fame to run in families. Many acting icons have worked alongside their children during their careers, including Henry and Jane Fonda, Martin and Charlie Sheen, and Will and Jaden Smith – just to name a few. Now, Tom and Truman Hanks have co-starred in the film A Man Called Otto, but the Hollywood veteran didn’t shy away from giving his son a warning before they started working together.

‘A Man Called Otto’

A Man Called Otto is slated for release in the United States in late 2022, and everywhere else in early 2023. It’s based on the Swedish novel A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and is the first English language film adaptation of the book. A Man Called Otto follows the title character, who falls into a deep depression after the death of his wife and forced retirement from his longtime job.

Tom Hanks in a blue jacket sitting in a chair holding a fluffy grey cat.
Tom Hanks as Otto Anderson in a publicity still for A Man Called Otto. (Photo Credit: yassi / Sony Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

His new and rowdy neighbors, however, become his unexpected friends. Tom Hanks plays the role of Otto Anderson, while his youngest son, Truman, was cast in the role of young Otto whenever there’s a flashback scene. Despite being part of a well-known Hollywood family, Truman was given a word of warning from his father before the filming process began.

A word of advice

Tom discussed working with his son during an interview on The Graham Norton Show, saying: “he’s not the actor in the family – he’s an artist and is going to be a cinematographer,” later explaining that “his passion is shaping the shot rather than being in the shot.” So far, Truman has worked as a lighting assistant for Black Widow and the latest version of West Side Story, but still decided to try his hand at acting.

Truman Hanks in a white t-shirt with a backpack on holding a camera in one hand and giving a thumbs up with the other.
Truman Hanks, who is now acting in A Man Called Otto, during a Sully Press Conference, September 16, 2016. (Photo Credit: Jun Sato/ WireImage/ Getty Images)

When he agreed to be in A Man Called Otto, Tom gave him a very fatherly warning about the commitment: “We talked about it a lot and it was all his choice, but I said to him, ‘No matter what your last name is, you are going to have to hit the marks.’ Not everyone is cut out for that, but he did a magnificent job.” He did admit that after filming, he wasn’t sure if this was enough for Truman to catch “the acting bug.”

Acting with family

A Man Called Otto isn’t the first film that Tom’s acted in alongside a family member. In fact, his daughter Elizabeth Hanks was featured in one of his most popular movies, Forrest GumpDuring a flashback scene on a school bus, she plays one of the children who won’t let young Forrest sit with them. Although there was no speaking involved, and all she did was shake her head, she was still credited as “School Bus Girl.”

Tom Hanks in a black suit, Rita Wilson in a long pink dress, Truman Hanks in a black suit, and Elizabeth Hanks in a black dress, pose together on the red carpet.
(Left to right) Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Truman Hanks, and Elizabeth Hanks attend the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland, February 9, 2020. (Photo Credit: Amy Sussman/ Getty Images)

Elizabeth was in an even smaller role with her father in That Thing You Do! where she was credited as “Bored Girl in Dress Shop.” Despite these early acting experiences and having a Hollywood legend for a father, Elizabeth took her career in a different direction, instead becoming an author.

More from us: The Heartfelt Letter Jimmy Stewart’s Father Wrote Him When He Left for WWII

Whether Truman follows their father into acting or forges his own path is yet to be seen. Regardless, Tom thought his role in the new film was “extraordinary.”

Rosemary Giles

Rosemary Giles is a history content writer with Hive Media. She received both her bachelor of arts degree in history, and her master of arts degree in history from Western University. Her research focused on military, environmental, and Canadian history with a specific focus on the Second World War. As a student, she worked in a variety of research positions, including as an archivist. She also worked as a teaching assistant in the History Department.

Since completing her degrees, she has decided to take a step back from academia to focus her career on writing and sharing history in a more accessible way. With a passion for historical learning and historical education, her writing interests include social history, and war history, especially researching obscure facts about the Second World War. In her spare time, Rosemary enjoys spending time with her partner, her cats, and her horse, or sitting down to read a good book.