Colin Hanks, the son of superstar Tom Hanks, has carved out a name for himself on TV in the popular series Roswell and the miniseries Band of Brothers, and in such movies as The Great Buck Howard, W, Untraceable and King Kong.
In his new series The Good Guys he plays Jack Bailey, an ambitious, by-the-book detective, whose snarky behavior has earned him a dead-end position in the department. Now paired with Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford), a washed-up detective who drinks and rehashes his memories of the good-old-days of the seventies, they find their unconventional behavior, breaking rules in the reckless pursuit of criminals, is a winning combination.
What attracted you to this series?
I was just looking for something that was well written more than anything else, that’s always the prerequisite. As long as it’s good and it’s fun to read, that’s really what I’m looking for. And this came across my desk and I thought it was hilarious.
What did you like about Jack?
I liked the witty banter between Jack and Dan. I liked that Jack wasn’t necessarily the straight guy that doesn’t get to say something funny back. It was really a two-hander between the two of us, it’s a comedy team; it’s opposites attracting and opposing each other in a funny way.
Did you meet Brad before hand because it’s very important that your chemistry worked?
I had not met him prior to the casting process. With these shows you always want to get people together in a room and make sure they can bounce off each other, and luckily Brad and I hit it off right away and he was very instrumental in making sure that I was cast. He said, ‘I’ve never cared more about someone else getting a job in my life.’
How does Jack get into trouble?
I think that Jack is one of those characters who knows what his job is. He knows how to do it very well. He doesn’t necessarily like to be the PC type guy in terms of not embarrassing his bosses when they are doing a bad job. He’s just very headstrong and he’s got a way of doing things that he believes is right, which might not necessarily be the way to move up in his profession.
The way I look at it, they’re both no nonsense cops from different eras. Dan has no respect for the rules whatsoever. Jack has a little more respect for the rules, but not necessarily respect for doing them in the certain order in which they need to be done.
Is there a lot of action and stunts in this?
Yes, lots of action and a lot of stunts. I’m on the TV Hollywood action diet. It means going to the gym twice a day and eating as little bread and pasta as possible. There’s a reason why a lot of people in Los Angeles are miserable, it’s because they can’t eat what they want to, and I’m no exception. But it’s nice to get in shape for a role.
Did you have to learn anything new for the role?
We met with some members of the Dallas PD and we learned proper procedure. I’ve done similar stuff for other jobs it’s not something completely foreign to me, I don’t know if I’m going to be learning kung fu anytime soon, so maybe I can add that to the workout regiment.
Is it a double-edged sword being the son of Tom Hanks?
Of course, it’s always there with me, and I always know that’s going to come up. It’s a double-edged sword in that it’s the lens that everyone seems to look at me through. To try and break that or to step around it can be kind of difficult but at the same time I’m really much more interested in just trying to do work that is fun and exciting to me, and I don’t really care how other people tend to look at it. I’m comfortable with it, I just keep working.
You were in Roswell, this is another commitment if the series goes for many years, did that worry you?
As actors you want to work, that’s the main thing. And you want to work in stuff that’s good, and this is something that was good. I didn’t care necessarily what the commitment was, who knows how long it will be.
Did you ever think of doing anything except acting?
Yeah, there was probably a period there where I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. And it was around the time in college when everyone said, ‘What do you want to do?’ then I said, ‘Okay, I’d better make that decision.’ But I didn’t come up with anything other than acting.