Tom Hanks addresses claims of Hollywood nepotism

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Tom Hanks claims that Hollywood is no different ‘than a plumbing supply business’ when it comes to the subject of nepotism.

Tom Hanks has a new film out and what’s more, his son features in it too. That makes the actor well-placed to offer his thoughts on one of the hot-button topics buzzing around Hollywood at the moment, and that’s nepotism.

Ever since the children of Steven Spielberg, Sean Penn and Stephen King caused a swirl online last week by revealing they were working on a short film together, there’s been plenty of chatter about whether Hollywood can truly be judged as a meritocracy when many children of major Hollywood players seem to slide their way into major opportunities.

There’s been some interesting arguments on both sides, with some of the most thoughtful and considered debate coming courtesy of a Twitter exchange between Black List founder Franklin Leonard and Ben Stiller. Hanks most definitely has a dog in this ‘fight’ as A Man Called Otto, his latest film released this week and as mentioned above, features his son Truman in the film.

Hanks had this to say about the debate: “Look, this is a family business. This is what we’ve been doing forever. It’s what all of our kids grew up in. 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.”

The actor adds “the thing that doesn’t change no matter what happens, no matter what your last name is, is whether it works or not. 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.”
Whilst Hanks’ argument about talent deciding how far you go certainly have merit, his points don’t address the arguments surrounding a lack of diversity in Hollywood, or how access into the opportunities to demonstrate such talent are harder to come by if you don’t have a famous last name. Plus, comparing getting a break in the movie business to a plumbing supply firm? We’re not convinced that it’s an accurate comparison (although if any plumbers can clear this up for us, we’re all ears).
You can catch Tom Hanks (and his son) in A Man Called Otto (pictured) in cinemas right now.

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