I know that it may appear to be “Colin” day with all the news being posted on him. Thanks to Sheila for this.
Happy to be Hanks
By BRUCE KIRKLAND
HOLLYWOOD — The vocal tone sounds familiar. The look is there in the lanky physique and the boyish face. The personality is familial, too, all sweet and friendly.
So you don’t need to catch his surname to know that Colin Hanks is Tom Hanks’ son. The younger Hanks is also an actor, who is set to appear in the teen comedy Orange County, his fourth feature film and first leading role, which opens Friday.
“I’m not doing this to copy him or emulate him,” Hanks says in an exclusive Toronto Sun interview. “I’m just doing this because it’s what I like to do.”
At 24, Hanks is the eldest of his father’s four children. Colin’s mother is Samantha Lewes, Tom Hanks’ first wife (they divorced in 1985 and Hanks later married actress Rita Wilson).
Unlike many offspring of Hollywood royalty, Colin Hanks is neither defensive nor in denial. He knows and acknowledges that there is an advantage to having a famous parent.
“Not at getting parts,” he says, “but at getting auditions, yeah! I mean, I’m willing to say that that’s a fact because the business — as ass backwards as it is — is really sort of interested in that sort of stuff. But I’ve still got to audition for the jobs. I still get rejected for jobs all the time.”
Casting agents and producers are particularly interested in the offspring of stars, Hanks says. “So the first thing is: ‘Let’s see what they can do. Let’s get them in there!’ And that helped.
“But, if you can’t do anything, they’re not going to cast you. So I’ve always felt comfortable with everything that I’ve done knowing that they cast me because they liked what I did in the audition and they think I’m right for the character.”
Hanks’ credits include his debut in his father’s 1996 feature, That Thing You Do!, which was filmed at Chapman University in Orange County, Calif., where Colin was enrolled at the time. His school chums served as extras.
Colin also had roles in Whatever It Takes, Get Over It and the forthcoming Under The Mimosa with Shelley Duvall and Randy Quaid. On TV, he spent two seasons as Alex Whitman on Roswell and played Lt. Henry Jones in his father’s acclaimed mini-series Band Of Brothers.
When he walks in to auditions, people are chummy but not crummy about the family name, says Hanks. “Everyone’s been pretty respectful. They all get it. Yeah, he’s my dad and they probably have some stories and some anecdotes that they would love to tell — and they do and that’s cool. But they know that I’m my own person and that I’ve got my own thing going.”
Hanks is also thankful, he says. “I’m extremely, extremely lucky to be able to do this.”
In Orange County, he plays an unmotivated surfer party dude who suddenly is seized with the desire to become a creative writer and do something with his life. Although Jake Kasdan’s movie has been dismissed by some critics — David Hunter called it “this brainless piffle” in The Hollywood Reporter on Monday — it actually has more substance than that. And Colin Hanks, who co-stars with Sissy Spacek’s daughter Schuyler Fisk, offers a nicely-wrought performance as a teen coming of age.
“You’ve got to want to bring something to the table,” says Hanks. “You’ve got to want to do something different.”
He is not able to quantify it. Nor is he emotionally torn up about his work as an actor.
“There are actors who are extreme character actors, method actors. I’m not one of those. There is always a little touch of me in everything but I can’t pinpoint it. I think about it but I try not to overanalyze it too much. I just kind of do it.”