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Tom Hanks reveals acting tip he got ‘for the first time in his career’ during A Man Called Otto

Tom Hanks has revealed a surprising acting tip that he received for the first time on a recent project.

The two-time Oscar-winning actor is currently in cinemas with the comedy-drama A Man Called Otto. In the Marc Forster-directed film, Hanks plays a grumpy widower who has shut out much of the world, due to his grief.

Though Hanks has been in the entertainment industry since the early Eighties, he says that there’s a piece of performance advice that he was only given for the first time on the film’s set.

“I won't tell you what scene it is in the movie, but it's Otto by himself at his house,” he began on an episode of the ReelBlend podcast, published earlier this month.

“We’d set it up and we knew what it was, and we knew how it went. And in the back of my head, I was thinking, ‘I don't think we've earned this moment in our movie yet. I think this is too presentational. It's too on the nose. There's no subtext to it. It's only text.’ And I'm thinking, ‘This scene is fake.’”

He continued to say that the director had the same thoughts as he did, and advised him to lean more towards realism with his performance – something he’d never been told.

According to Hanks, Forster sat him down and said that he had a problem with the scene because it “seemed fake”.

“And I said, ‘You are saying what is in my head!’” the actor exclaimed.

Tom Hanks as a grumpy widower in the film ‘A Man Called Otto’ (Niko Tavernise)
Tom Hanks as a grumpy widower in the film ‘A Man Called Otto’ (Niko Tavernise)

“He says, ‘So, can we take all the fake stuff out of this and do it less fake?’ I said, ‘Marc Forster, you are the first director I have ever worked with who has sat down on a set with me and said, “Please make this less fake.”’

“They usually want the absolute opposite. ‘Can you turn the fakeness up a little bit on this? You know, Tom, I know it's very realistic, but this is a movie, and it needs to be a little bit more fake.’”

In another recent interview, Hanks shared his view that “no-one” discusses a particular project from his filmography, one that he considers “incredibly important”.