Is Tom Hanks ever going to retire?
At 66, the actor has appeared in almost 80 feature films during his four-decade tenure in Hollywood. At the New York premiere of his newest film, “A Man Called Otto,” Hanks cast doubt on the prospect of retirement.
“No, I don’t have any desire [to retire],” Hanks told Variety on Monday night. “I’m not working for the sake of working. I’m in a very lucky position. It’s got to be fabulous. Rita and I talk about it all the time, which is there’s only two reasons go to work: It’ll be good or it’ll be fun. And if it’s neither one of those, I’ll stay home until the cows come on. I don’t need to do anything.”
The circumstances were much different for Otto, the character Hanks plays in the reboot of the Swedish film “A Man Called Ove.” The story begins with Otto leaving his company because he was no longer valued.
“There was a mandatory retirement in the original movie in Sweden,” Hanks said. “You got to a certain age, you’re out! And that’s the way things work. Here, it was he had been bought out, he took a severance pay — he didn’t want to quit. There was no reason to stay because they had no more faith in him.”
As Otto struggles to cope with the recent death of his wife, Sonya, his heart begins to grow after a new family moves in across the street. Mariana Treviño, who plays Otto’s bubbly neighbor, said the film spotlights the overlooked value of a strong community.
“We have become more fragmented as a society around the world, so it’s great to bring [community] forth as a value,” Treviño said. “We are all connected underneath our differences. We need each other’s love to advance in our lives, to connect with our own sense of love — and we tend to forget it. We have to be open to reverting this fragmentation.”
Another neighbor that Otto bonds with is Malcolm (Mack Bayda), who is transgender and a former student of Sonya’s. Malcolm revealed that Sonya was the person who encouraged the school to accept their transgender identity.
“You don’t often see transgender representation, especially played by a transgender person like myself, in a major motion picture,” Bayda said. “It’s a pretty prominent role, so it’s such an honor to be in such a huge project and being able to represent the trans community for audiences that might not otherwise be open to LGBT people.”
Screenwriter David Magee added, “It’s ironic that this trans character, who has had trouble fitting in society and in their relationship with their father, finds a father in Otto. Despite his grumpiness and seeming irritation with the world, he’s open to caring about other people because they need it.”
“A Man Called Otto” was also a family affair for Hanks. His wife, Rita Wilson, served as a producer and wrote the Oscar-qualifying song “Til You’re Home.” Their youngest son, Truman Hanks, delivers his first major acting performance in the film. He plays a younger version of Otto in a series of flashback scenes that adds context to the character’s present-day grouchiness.
Truman, 27, was asked by director Marc Forster over a cup of coffee to appear in the film. While Truman said he’d be open to more acting roles in the future, his chosen profession is being a cinematographer.
“I’m jumping right back into the camera world, but we’ll see,” he said. “I’m not gonna rule anything out. If some cool director that I really respect calls me up for coffee, I’m not gonna say no to that.”