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Tom Hanks has weighed in on the ongoing debate around nepotism in Hollywood, with the A Man Called Otto star taking the stance that his and other families working in entertainment are creative businesses.
The actor was promoting the upcoming film, which sees his son Truman playing a younger version of the Oscar winner’s character, Otto. Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson, co-wrote and performed an original song for the movie and also produced the film alongside her husband. While speaking to Reuters (via The Sun) in a video interview shared Wednesday, Hanks explained his position on having his four kids — all of whom he says are “very creative” and ” involved in some brand of storytelling” — working in the same, or an adjacent, industry as him.
“Look this is a family business. This is what we’ve been doing forever. It’s what all of our kids grew up in,” he said. “If we were a plumbing supply business or if we ran the florist shop down the street, the whole family would be putting in time at some point, even if it was just inventory at the end of the year.”
Hanks has two children with his first wife — Colin and Elizabeth Hanks — and another two, Chet and Truman, with Wilson. All work in some arm of entertainment to various degrees, whether it be as actors, producers, cinematographers or musicians. Hanks noted that regardless of their last name, for him, it’s ultimately the quality of their work that matters most and speaks the loudest.
“The thing that doesn’t change no matter what happens, no matter what your last name is, is whether it works or not,” he said. “That’s the issue anytime any of us go off and try to tell a fresh story or create something that has a beginning and a middle and an end. Doesn’t matter what our last names are. We have to do the work in order to make that a true and authentic experience for the audience.”
For Hanks, “that’s a much bigger task than worrying about whether anybody’s going to try to scathe us or not.”
Hanks’ comments follow statements from other entertainment stars, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Kate Hudson, Lily Allen and most recently, Allison Williams, who is the daughter of famed journalist Brian Williams. The Girls, M3GAN and Get Out actress expressed in a Vulture interview published Thursday that she knows she’s benefited from nepotism and that doesn’t take anything away from her work. It simply “means that it’s not as fun to root for me.”
“All that people are looking for is an acknowledgment that it’s not a level playing field. It’s just unfair. Period, end of the story, and no one’s really working that hard to make it fair,” she continued. “To not acknowledge that me getting started as an actress versus someone with zero connections isn’t the same — it’s ludicrous.”
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