- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2000


Being the acting son of a well-known actor is tough. Being the acting son of two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is tougher.

But 22-year-old Colin Hanks has set out on his own, attempting to make it by himself in his TV acting debut on the WB series "Roswell."

The show is about a group of teens who share a secret tied to the crash of an alien spacecraft near Roswell, N.M., in 1947. "I know. It sounds crazy. When I first read it, I had a hard time explaining it. So now basically I end up just saying, 'Just watch the show, please,' " Mr. Hanks says.

In the series, Mr. Hanks plays an oft-maligned but cute sidekick, the odd man out to a pair of space aliens and their girlfriends. He's a ladies' man, of sorts, the advice guy for the pretty girls.

One of two children born to Tom Hanks and his first wife, Samantha Lewes, the younger Mr. Hanks grew up in the very un-Hollywood atmosphere of Sacramento, Calif., and then attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he began appearing in stage productions.

He has a part in the not-yet-released feature film "I'll Be You," billed as a high school version of "Cyrano de Bergerac."

Q: At what point did you decide to take the acting career path?

A: It wasn't like I was thinking, 'I can't wait to be an actor. I can't wait to do this.' I just sort of always knew. For me, it's like playing with toys. It's playtime. It's make-believe time. I always liked that growing up. It wasn't until really a year and a half ago [that] I decided to give it a shot and see if I really could hack it.

Q: Have you noticed people treating you differently now that you're in the spotlight?

A: Obviously, I have been around that for ages, but I was always the one not being recognized, and now I am. It is sort of strange. I must admit, I have had some uncomfortable moments. But I've had some really cool moments, too.

Q: Is there something you do to prepare for it?

A: It's not something you can prepare for. I think it's sort of a joke if you think about it too much and you try to avoid it. It's going to happen whether you like it or not. There are very many aspects to working as an actor. I've understood that for a while now… . It is very strange to be in the shoes now. I'm not saying I'm 100 percent comfortable with it. I'm not saying I ever will be comfortable with it.

Q: Do you worry about people drawing comparisons between you and your father?

A: Very, very much so. Obviously, people are going to draw whatever comparisons they want. That's completely fine. People are going to want to know about it. That's completely fine. I can see their point of view. But overall, I'm just like any other kid on the show. I auditioned for the part. I went through 18 million call backs. I had to do the final testing just like everyone else.

Q: Are there more expectations of you because of your father?

A: Sure. People's first instinct is, 'Is he any good? Can he cut it by himself, or is he just riding the coattails?' It's fine. But I can't wait until I don't have to deal with it anymore, and it hasn't even really hit too much. I've been working on the show, and I haven't been really in the public eye all that much. But when I am, there is nothing I can do about it. People are going to do what they are going to do, and I just have to learn to keep going and doing my own thing.

Q: Do you enjoy the spotlight?

A: Working, being on the show, that is what I like. I like to act. But going out to various functions, no. I personally don't like to put myself on the pedestal… . My personal life is very, very important to me, and I keep it very close to me.

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