Watch: Marc Forster explains how Truman Hanks was cast in A Man Called Otto
When it came to casting the younger version of Tom Hanks’ character in the new dark comedy A Man Called Otto, it was a no-brainer for director Marc Forster who went with Hanks’ youngest son, Truman.
“Truman truly looks like Tom did in the 80s, doing Splash and Big and all these movies, but he’s not an actor,” Forster tells Yahoo.
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“Truman was wanting to be a DOP [director of photography], so we met and he said, ‘Okay, I’m not sure about this’, but I was able to convince him and make him feel welcome and warm.
“And you Sonya, whose character is played by Rachel Keller… the two of them have just natural connections. And I did a screen test with both of them. 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 twice Oscar-nominated 2015 Swedish film 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’s given up on life following 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 in nearby, leading to friendship and a new lease of life for the once terminally depressed Otto.
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Truman plays the younger version of Otto in a series of flashbacks featuring 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 was why, despite never having really acted before, the youngest son of Hanks and acclaimed actor and producer Rita Wilson, agreed to be in the film.
Watch a trailer for A Man Called Otto
Tom Hank’s oldest 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 an actor appearing in Empire, Shameless and Your Honor, while their daughter Elizabeth is also an actor and producer, appearing in her father’s films Forrest Gump and That Thing You Do!
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Speaking on whether this experience could have possibly changed Truman’s mind about dipping his toe in the acting world once again, Forster adds: “I don’t know. It might be just a one off for Truman, but maybe he wants to continue a little bit through with acting, obviously as two brothers who act and his dad and his mother, but I feel it might just be a one-off. Who knows?”
As for working with Hollywood’s “Mr Nice Guy”, Forster doesn’t hesitate for one second by affirming everyone’s suspicions when he says “So first, of all, he’s Tom Hanks, you know, He is known as nicest men in Hollywood, but at the same time, that’s really true.
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“He is really lovely and great, but he’s you know.. I‘ve never had such a symbiotic relationship with an actor, where we saw one to one and he’s so beautiful to work with, and and he’s such an incredible artist.”
A Man Called Otto is in cinemas now. Watch a trailer below.