Tom Hanks reveals acting advice he gave his son ahead of their new film together

Tom Hanks has revealed the advice that 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 Hollywood actor, 66, 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 following the death of his wife, whose world gets turned around after 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” that the young Otto has to play in the movie.

The actor recalled: “I said ‘That’s your first day? Welcome to the big leagues, my friend, you are playing in the Premiership’.

“That’s what it requires sometimes. We compared notes but only in the most kind of surreptitious way because so much of being an actor is… look you have to do all the work but don’t 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 came along with it (the role) but other than that, the only advice I could give was well make sure you show up 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 multiple movie sets as a crew member.

Hanks confirmed that it was the film’s director Marc Forster who suggested Truman try out for the role.

He said: “He’s always developed his own film and he’s always wanted to shoot, he’d like to be a director of photography.

“So this came along and (it was) Marc Forster who said ‘Is there any way Truman can just play it? Because he looks like you and he will have the same body language’.

“And I said ‘That’s up to him, man, that’s not an easy ask’. And his mom and I were both ambivalent, meaning like this is up to him, period, the end. So don’t ask us what we think about it. Because we’ll be happy to work with anybody.”

Hanks added that after his son and the director met, Truman agreed to the role “for the experience”.

A Man Called Otto photocall – London
Tom Hanks with his wife Rita Wilson (Ian West/PA)

The film was also a family affair as Hanks’ wife, the singer and actress Rita Wilson, composed a song entitled Til You’re Home for the project and is one of the producers.

“This combination of her artistic sensibilities as a producer and as a songwriter is very much on display”, Hanks said.

“And this is a beautiful song at the end. I hear it in every one of its evolutionary steps. I will hear it as a demo, I will hear it as just piano, I will hear the first orchestration of it.

“What I was completely knocked out by, there’s two elements to any movie song, it has to be about what you have just seen somehow, but it can’t be so 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 temporally.

“It has to sound like it belongs, at the same time it has to have the lyrics that extend the meaning of the movie and I just thought it had.

“It’s just number one. But then again, I have all my wife’s records, so I’m a big 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.