Thanks to Chaz for this :)
Monday, January 14, 2002
Colin Hanks leaves gross-out flicks behind
By STEPHANIE McGRATH — AllPop
TORONTO — Colin Hanks isn’t an enormous fan of the spit takes and body-fluids-in-beer gags that pepper many of the teen movies that have invaded movie theatres recently.
“[I’m] more interested in characters than I am in practical jokes, because I think the jokes can be more funny once you know what the characters are like,” Colin says in his hotel room in Toronto. “I think character interaction and story is much more interesting than, you know, semen in the beer jokes. I don’t mean to single out ‘American Pie’ but, you know, what’s the harm in having a different kind of teen movie?”
When trailers for Colin’s new teen comedy “Orange County” (in theatres now) first hit, it looked as though the flick would be just another gross-out comedy, complete with Jack Black’s (“High Fidelity”, “Shallow Hal”) wild, racy antics to fill the slapstick quotient.
But “Orange County”, surprisingly, has more heart than your average “Road Trip”. The Audience roots for Colin’s character to escape from his nutty family and make it to university, only to find themselves praying he stays with his wholesome girlfriend and make amends with his insane parents.
“The first time I saw the movie I said, ‘Wow, we’re really trying to pull some strings here’,” Colin says. “‘We’re really pulling people’s heart chords here a little bit’.”
Colin, who admits he’s been in “some really bad teen movies” (“Get Over It, “Whatever It Takes”), doesn’t think teenage movie-goers have been given enough credit lately, and hopes upcoming teen flicks get an additional few I.Q. points above the average of their predecessors.
“I don’t know why they don’t make enough smart teen movies,” he says. “I thought ‘Ghost World’ was a great movie, but that’s an indie movie that not a lot of people are going to go see. Teens make up a huge chunk of the movie-going public but obviously not all of them are craving that intellectual kind of movie, but I hope that they sort of go in that direction. I think it’s flattering that I would sort of see part of that.”
But Colin is quick to point out that he and the rest of the “Orange County” team don’t want to consider themselves the “moral police” of teen comedies. He also likes to have some fun — he just wants to make sure there’s something left once the formerly geeky girl becomes the prom queen or the jock swallows some nasty fluids at a party.
If you’re worried that there won’t be any laughs in “Orange County”, consider Jack Black, who plays Colin’s stoner brother in the movie and manages to run around in his underwear for most of the flick.
“[I’m} a huge Jack Black fan,” says Colin. “I’ve seen the majority of his movies, even the really bad movies like ‘Neverending Story 3’, and I’m a huge fan of his band (Tenacious D), as well. The only thing that was hard about working with him was trying not to laugh during the takes.”
Colin says that if he’d been told four years ago he’d get to co-star with Jack, he’d never have believed it. Just because Colin’s the son of a famous actor (Tom Hanks, of course) doesn’t mean his transition into the movie world has been a breeze. The 24-year-old actor who, in addition to his teen romps, has starred on the TV show “Roswell” and in the mini-series “Band Of Brothers”, says the roles he’s offered are sometimes limited in variety. He also hasn’t lined up a new project yet to follow up “Orange County”.
Some might assume that the actor entered the family business simply because it was a natural fit, given the enormous success of his father. But, although Colin is interested in a variety of subjects (including photography, music engineering, and Buddhism), acting was the only thing that he really excelled at.
“I took my sweet time trying to decide what it is I wanted to do, what I liked, what I didn’t like, and acting was the one thing that I really enjoyed,” he says. “I loved doing it, and it was the thing that I felt that I was the best at. I was a horrible student, really bad. I wasn’t the most academic kid on the block, so it was a great choice to be able to get good grades on something I really enjoyed doing.”
It was during his freshman year that Colin began testing the acting waters. Coincidentally, a year of his university career was spent at Chapman University in … Orange County.
“Ours is a little bit larger than life, and we play up the stereotype a bit,” Colin says about the real Orange County versus the movie version.
“[But it does have] that sort of surfer mentality of parties, very mellow, slow-going kind of place, very conservative sort of place and yet very dysfunctional at times, too. But overall, I like Orange County. I think it’s a great place.”