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Tom Hanks calls Hollywood a 'family business' amid ongoing 'nepo baby' debate

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: (L-R) Truman Hanks, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks attend the
From left are Truman Hanks, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks at the London premiere of A Man Called Otto in December. (Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

It looks like "America's Dad" Tom Hanks is taking a stand as a proud "Nepo Dad." In a new interview with the British newspaper, The Sun, the Oscar-winning star of Cast Away and Captain Phillips addressed the fact that all four of his adult children are part of the entertainment industry. "Look, this is a family business," Hanks remarked during an interview about his latest film, A Man Called Otto, in which his younger son, Truman Hanks, plays a younger version of his character in flashbacks. "This is what we've been doing forever … it's what all 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 were just inventory at the end of the year," Hanks continued. "The thing that doesn't change — no matter what your last name is — is whether it works or not."

Watch Tom Hanks's interview with The Sun below

Hanks's comments follow a blockbuster New York magazine story devoted to the "nepo baby" conversation that's playing out both in and outside of Hollywood as a plethora of celebrity offspring are pursuing their own careers as actors and filmmakers. It's a debate that sits at the nexus of privilege and opportunity, and has already generated a wide variety of reactions from a wide variety of "nepo babies," from Kate Hudson and Allison Williams to Jamie Lee Curtis and Lily-Rose Depp.

Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment last year, Schuyler Fisk and Jake Hoffman — whose famous parents are Sissy Spacek and Dustin Hoffman respectively — addressed the subject as well. "For me, the biggest advantage was growing up around movies sets, and that environment where we saw our parents working and passionately invested in their projects," Fisk said. "I never really thought about the negatives until I started doing projects. Obviously people are interested about what you're going to be like based on your parents, so they were like: 'Aren't you worried about being compared to your mom?' And I thought, 'Maybe I am now, because everyone else is!'"

"A lot of people assume that being the child of somebody well-known means you won't have that dilemma, and that's half-true," Hoffman added. "Ultimately, I think it's a disadvantage, not an advantage or at least it was for me. I wasn't a prodigy and I had to learn that getting into rooms before you're ready doesn't really help you."

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 05: (L-R) Samantha Bryant, Colin Hanks, Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Ann Hanks, Chet Hanks, and Truman Theodore Hanks attend the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards in 2020 saw, from left, the extended Hanks family: Samantha Bryant, Colin Hanks, Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Ann Hanks, Chet Hanks, and Truman Hanks. (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

In the case of the extended Hanks family, Tom Hanks has two children — Colin, 45 and Elizabeth, 40 — with his first wife, Samantha Lewes (who died in 2002), and two children, Chet, 32, and Truman, 27, with current spouse, Rita Wilson. Colin and Elizabeth made their first onscreen appearances when they were still young, and while Colin continues to act, his sister balances occasional performances with a career as an author and journalist. Meanwhile, Chet has famously pursued a music career, while also appearing in TV shows like Empire and Shameless, and Truman has held various crew positions on such movies as Black Widow and West Side Story, directed by his father's frequent collaborator, Steven Spielberg.

"They're all very creative, and they're all involved in some brand of storytelling," Hanks told The Sun about his children's various creative pursuits, emphasizing that their last name alone isn't enough to guarantee success. "That's the issue anytime any of us go off and try to tell a fresh story or create something that has a beginning, a middle and an end. It 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. And that's a much bigger task than worrying about whether anyone's going to try to scathe us or not."

A Man Called Otto is playing in theaters now