If you spot a vaguely familiar face in the stands at Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game at Los Angeles Football Club’s Banc of California Stadium, it might just be Colin Hanks painted head to toe in black and gold. The actual son of America’s Dad, Tom Hanks, he’s an accomplished star in his own right, and he’s been a diehard supporter of LAFC since its inaugural season in 2018, which is how he became a spokesperson for this year’s MLS All-Star Week. He’s also a designer of handkerchiefs, of all things.
Here explains his passions, looking back on the 20th anniversary of Orange County, and the best advice the elder Hanks gave him.
This MLS season has been rough for LAFC. What’s it been like for you?
It’s been a bit challenging, a bit of a bummer. It’s not as much fun when your team isn’t doing as well, but the beautiful thing about LAFC is that even when the games aren’t going their way, it’s still an incredible environment. It’s one of the most fun things to do in the city. So I hope the team’s able to get it together here and at least make the playoffs, and we’ll see what happens.
Do you play soccer?
No, I really wish that I did. I just love the drama of sports. I’m the classic armchair sports fanatic.
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Can we expect you to be partying at Banc Stadium for the MLS All-Star Game?
Well, I’ll definitely be there, but you won’t recognize me because I’ll be painted black and gold.
Oh, you’re taking your shirt off?
Yeah. The paint doesn’t look good on a shirt. You got to go on the skin.
I don’t know if you realized, but next year will be the 20th anniversary of Orange County, your fantastic movie with Jack Black.
Oh, my God.
What does it mean to you now?
Well, just that anyone is even mentioning that is really…it’s not lost on me. That’s a special thing. I have a lot of other movies people don’t even remember. When I think back on it, it was a really special time for me. I was coming out of finishing my time on Roswell, and I got a chance to make this movie with an incredibly gifted group of people. Jake Kasdan the director, who’s still a very good friend of mine. It was a great experience and a great time, and I made some really close friendships from that. Jack Black, too.
Did you get to know [writer] Mike White, too?
I had known Mike a little bit in passing. We had friends in common through Freaks and Geeks, which he had worked on with Jake. I sort of lost track with him recently but any time I see him we give each other a nice hug and catch up. I just started his new HBO show The White Lotus. I’m one episode in and I’m like, oh, what is Mike going to do here?
It’s an interesting show.
Mike’s an interesting guy.
What was it like being thrust into the spotlight at a young age with Orange County?
Without getting too dark, it was a crazy experience. At that time, there was still a very big line between television and movies. I remember one time someone saying, “Congratulations, you’ll never have to do TV again because you got a lead role in a movie.” And I thought, well that’s weird, and obviously wasn’t true. It was definitely a bit of pressure because I had never been a lead in a movie, but I also had the luxury of not knowing what that’s like. So I took it as it came and really just enjoyed being the guy who got to work every day.
The sad component of this is that between the making of the movie and the release, September 11 happened. That put a lot of stuff in perspective for me. I remember very vividly doing the press tour for Orange County in January of 2002. Everything was still pretty rough and raw. I was flying every single day to a new city. I had to go through airport security and give the answer to why I have a one-way ticket to all these different cities. It was a confusing time, but it made me look at all the good things going on in my life.
Did your dad give you any advice as you became more famous?
Well, I don’t know if I was more famous off that movie, but the thing you always keep in mind [that he taught me] is you’ve got to show up on time, hit your marks, and have your lines memorized. If you’re able to do all those things, you’ll be able to go surprisingly far, because you’ll be surprised how many people don’t do those three things. More than anything else, it made me enjoy what I do and feel like I was starting to accomplish something in my young career. And then some dry spells happened, and it made me appreciate it even more.
Tell me about The Offer, the Paramount+ series about the behind-the-scenes drama of The Godfather that you’re shooting now [Hanks plays movie exec Barry Lapidus].
It’s a fascinating little story. On the surface it’s just “the making of The Godfather.” But it’s a really smart and eye-opening look at how many miracles it takes to make a movie. And to take what is arguably one of the best films of all time and show the struggles they went through to make that—I don’t think people realize how much of a struggle it was to make that.
I have to ask you, what made you want to design your Hanks Handkerchiefs line that’s being sold, among other places, at cannabis stores?
It was a fun artistic endeavor that seemed like a good idea. They’re something I’m incredibly passionate about. I always have one on me. The idea of being able to work with graphic designers as well as learn a new business… I thought, I’ll give it a shot.
Handkerchiefs are very underrated.
They are. When you have one on you, you’ll be surprised by how many times you use it.
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