Tom Hanks, Famed 'Nepo Dad', Gets Defensive About Son Being In His New Movie

“Look, this is a family business,” the Oscar winner said said while seemingly giving his take on the “nepo baby” controversy.

Tom Hanks appeared to get pretty heated over the “nepo baby” controversy during an interview with Reuters published earlier this week.

A “nepo baby,” short for “nepotism baby,” is a buzzy, albeit condescending term that refers to children of celebrities who are now famous due partly to their parents’ fame.

The topic hit its boiling point in late December when New York Magazine declared 2022 was The Year of The Nepo Baby.

Tom was speaking to Reuters (as seen in The Sun’s video below) about his new film A Man Called Otto, which employed a few of his family members.

He co-produced the film with his wife Rita Wilson, who also co-wrote the script and performed an original song in the movie, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Tom stars as the titular Otto in the movie, and his son, Truman Hanks, plays a younger version of the character in flashback sequences.

“Look, this is a family business,” the two-time Oscar winner says in the video, seemingly in response to his son being in his film. “This is what we’ve been doing forever. It’s what all of our kids grew up in.”

He added: “If we were a plumbing supply business or if we ran the florists 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.”

Although employing family members in your plumbing or florist company would still be a form of nepotism, the actor’s tirade wasn’t done.

Tom then claimed that his children did not get a leg up in their Hollywood careers thanks to his famous last name.

Tom Hanks and his son, actor Colin Hanks, in 2009.
Tom Hanks and his son, actor Colin Hanks, in 2009.
Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images

His son Colin Hanks starred in Fargo and has also appeared in dozens of movies, including King Kong, Jumanji: The Next Level and The House Bunny.

Meanwhile, Tom’s son, Chet Hanks’ work includes roles in the TV shows Shameless and Empire.

“The thing that doesn’t change no matter what happens, no matter what your last name is, is whether it works or not,” Tom 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.”

He added: “That’s a much bigger task than worrying about whether anybody’s going to try to scathe us or not.”

Tom Hanks at a screening of Elvis last year
Tom Hanks at a screening of Elvis last year
Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images

Although the cultural discourse around “nepo babies” is relatively new, actors deploying the family business excuse is getting pretty old.

Zoe Kravitz — the daughter of musician Lenny Kravtiz and actor Lisa Bonet — used the same tactic.

“It’s completely normal for people to be in the family business,” she told GQ in November.

Kate Hudson, the daughter of actor Golden Hawn and step-daughter of actor Kurt Russell, took a similar approach while speaking to The Independent last month.

“I look at my kids, and we’re a storytelling family. It’s definitely in our blood,” Kate said.

Maybe these celebrities could take a page out of “nepo baby” Allison Williams’ playbook and take a tad of accountability.

The Girls star, the daughter of former NBC journalist Brian Williams, called nepotism “just unfair” in an interview with Vulture published earlier this week.

“Period, end of the story, and no one’s really working that hard to make it fair,” she told Vulture.

“To not acknowledge that me getting started as an actress versus someone with zero connections isn’t the same — it’s ludicrous. It doesn’t take anything away from the work that I’ve done. It just means that it’s not as fun to root for me.”


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