Article: Son of Hanks

Yesterday, an article called “Son of Hanks” was published on

The author jokes that Colin Hanks would have a new rule. After his turns in Orange County and now King Kong, he would only make movies in which Jack Black is a co-star.


Son of Hanks

Colin Hanks has a new rule. After his turns in Orange County and now King Kong, he’ll only make movies in which Jack Black is a co-star.

Thursday, December 22, 2005
By Ian Spelling

For nitpickers, the way Jack Black plays Carl Denham in the new King Kong has far too contemporary a sheen, given that the flick is set in the Depression era days of 1933. His eyebrow raises, his mannerisms, even his sense of story structure and box office panache; it all seems just a little too premature, despite perhaps the once upon a time existence of such Silent Era holdover hucksters. But you’ll certainly hear no complaints from Colin Hanks, who as Denham’s dutiful production assistant Preston, continues a slow, gradual trek up the Hollywood ranks that began with dad’s That Thing You Do and the TV series Roswell. “I actually have a cameo in the Tenacious D movie,” Hanks explains during a recent interview with FilmStew in New York, referring to Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny, which unites him for a third time with Black. It’s based of course on the mock-rock group act Black inhabits with Kyle Gass. ““On King Kong, I think every one of my scenes was with Jack,” he adds. “I don’t think there was a day where I wasn’t working with him. So we had this great comfort level. I’m not sure if they took it into account that we’d worked together before or not when they cast me. You’d have to ask Peter.” “Orange County was fun. It was great. But this was a profound life experience in which Jack and I sort of looked at each other and said, ‘All right, brother.’”

For the record, in the 2002 comedy Orange County, Hanks starred as Shaun, a would-be writer desperate to get into Stanford University and Black played Lance, Shaun’s stoner brother. Since then, Hanks has appeared in three movies you’ve probably never heard of – the overlooked 11:14, Standing Still and Rx – before tackling in Kong, without a doubt his biggest canvas yet. At age 28, Hanks Jr. has not quite had a first film and TV decade like that of Hanks Sr. By this time, in 1984, dad had starred in Bosom Buddies and leaped onto the big screen via Splash and Bachelor Party. Although King Kong has not quite torn up the box office the way some people expected, it can only mean bigger and better things for a guy with the sterling A-list genealogy. “I’ve just finished an independent movie called Alone with Her,” Hanks reveals (it’s directed by Eric Nicholas and co-stars Jordana Spiro and Ana Claudia Talancon). “The picture is locked and getting fine-tuned; it will be going around to a bunch of the film festivals.” Much like the atmosphere on an independent film, Hanks says King Kong director Peter Jackson and co-writers/co-producers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens went to great lengths to include everyone in the creative process, as well as expand the roles of the supporting actors following individual script meetings with each performer. Everyone, Hanks notes, was treated as an equal; no one actor carried more clout than anyone else, regardless of his or her place in the credits.

“Peter, Fran and Philippa are all very aware of the fact that when you’re making these big movies, you want to cast nice people who you can actually work with for nine months or, hell, five years, which is what they did on The Lord of the Rings films,” Hanks muses. “So, if there’s already a connection there, like Jack and I had, why not use it?” “Pete, Fran and Philippa said early on that they were going to very much look at King Kong as an ensemble film, even though the name of the movie is one character,” he continues. “That’s how they make movies, you know? So we were all very excited to be there.” Of course, Hanks and his fellow cast members often found themselves in the company of the visual effects department folks. Though he still had some workable memories from his time on Roswell, Hanks acknowledges Kong was an entirely different animal, wall-to-wall with New Zealand green screen. “Really, when you’re doing a big special effects movie, there are two kinds of effects,” he explains. “There’s green screen stuff that’s basically just background, with maybe a green guy or a blue guy. Or, there’s nothing and it’s just you and your imagination. That’s really it.”

“It’s hard to get your head around,” adds Hanks. “At first you’re trying to find out, ‘Well, what does it look like? Is it flying at me? What is it?’ And then, eventually, you just learn to go, ‘It’s big and it’s scary, and you want to piss your pants and run away.’ Pete had animatics and they were very helpful, but there’s still nothing there in front of you when you’re acting and you just have to do it.” Up next for Hanks is The Great Buck Howard, which starts shooting at the turn of the year. And the big news there is not that he will once again play an assistant, like he does in King Kong. Rather, it’s that his father Tom will reportedly make a cameo as his onscreen character’s dad. “Buck Howard is about this kid, me, who desperately wants a job in show business,” Hanks says. “I get one as an assistant to a B-level magician (Kevin Kline), who is an absolute raving egomaniac. This kid actually wants to be a writer, and this experience makes him think about what he really wants to do with his life.” No such qualms in real life. As perhaps nature pre-ordained it, the son of Tom Hanks is -and always wanted to be – an actor.