Colin Hanks has murder on his mind these days. The 33 year-old actor currently stars on screen in the dark comedy film "Lucky," which debuts in New York and Los Angeles on Friday and expands around the United States in coming weeks.
In Lucky, Hanks portrays Ben, a serial killer who wins the lottery, and he also is joining the upcoming sixth season of the Showtime's serial killer series "Dexter."
Hanks, who is the son of Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, sat down with Reuters to talk about "Lucky," what it's like having a famous father and his most important role to date -- becoming a first-time dad earlier this year.
Q: Did you enjoy playing a serial killer in a comedy?
A: "I was essentially trying to come up with two different characters, which was fun for me. The first version of Ben is that he slouches and dresses a little stupidly. The post-lottery look he stands up straight, he's trying to work out more, he's dressed a little sharper. But in essence he's still the same guy that he was."
Q: You mean still a killer?
A: "Exactly. Even though this great thing has happened to him and he's become popular, he still has this need to kill and he still has a controlling mother."
Q: Short of going out and killing someone, how did you relate to him?
A: "No matter where you are in your life, whatever set of people you're with, it all still breaks down like high school does. You have your social cliques, you have the people you get along with, the people you don't and the people you're ambivalent about. All of the dynamics are still here. The last thing I wanted to do was a scene next to a locker talking about wanting to get the girl, but at the heart of it, it's still the same sort of thing."
Q: So what will you be doing on "Dexter"? More killing? Is there some connection between this film and your new job?
A: "'Lucky' is for laughs, and there's really nothing funny that I'm doing on 'Dexter.' I think more than anything, both comment on the fact that anybody is capable of anything. Just because they are the shy guy in the corner doesn't mean that they are a harmless little bunny."
Q: Your dad is so prolific in his field. Has it been difficult to carve your own identity in the same profession?
A: "I definitely feel a need to remind people that I am a separate person, yes. A lot of time, they say, 'Oh my God, you guys are so much alike! You look like him, you sound like him...' They're not wrong, but after 33 years of hearing it, you just sort of go, 'Yes, I know.' But you can only talk about it so much."
Q: Do you think being the son of Tom Hanks helped you in establishing an acting career?
A: "Has it benefited me in certain ways? Of course. Has it been more difficult? In some ways, yeah. The majority of the time when people want to talk to me, they actually want to hear about someone else. It's this thing I have no control over. I love my dad very much. I'm very proud of him but I'm just as much a fan as everybody else."
Q: Your daughter, Olivia (with wife Samantha Bryant), was born on February 1st. How has fatherhood changed you?
A: "I like to look at scenarios and see how people interact with each other. That's why I'm an actor because I try to recreate that. Since our daughter joined us the spectrum has widened. My job is to recreate moments between people and when you're able to look at moments differently, you get deeper meaning in things."
Q: So it's helping your acting?
A: "Well, I don't know if it's helping but it's adding more work! (laughs). It's adding another dimension."
Q: What's been the best experience about fatherhood so far?
A: Seeing her laugh. A baby's existence for the first three months is a one-way street. One person is doing all the work and the other is crying, sleeping and pooping. So the first moment when you're actually able to do something and they acknowledge your presence, that's a big deal. A very big deal.
Q: Is this the first grandchild in the family?
A: "Yes and the grandparents could not be happier. They cannot wait to just dote on this kid with every single fiber of their being. My wife and I are more than happy to give them our baby and say, 'Here, watch her while we take a nap' (laughs)."