'A Man Called Otto': Mariana Trevinho and Manuel García-Rulfo Discuss Working With Tom Hanks
They also discussed the most challenging scenarios and what drew them to the project.
In Mark Foster's adaptation of "A Man Called Otto," Academy Award winner Tom Hanks plays a cranky widower who seems to think that nothing is right in the world around him. After the death of his beloved wife, Otto (Hanks) withdraws from society and even finds himself contemplating suicide. When a lively and friendly family moves in next door and a cat happens to roost with him, Otto begins to realize what life is really about.
Based on the New York bestseller by author Frederik Backman, this touching and moving film is about love found and lost, and the importance of community helping to rebuild. Actress Mariana Trevinho (Overboard) and action star-turned-father Manuel García-Rulfo (The Magnificent Seven) play married couple who move their growing family next door to the unwelcome Otto. It's not until Treviño's pregnant Marisol insists on pulling her temper with the neighbor out of his shell that Otto's hard heart begins to soften.
Collider's Steve Weintraub talks with Mariana Treviño and co-star Manuel Garcia-Rulfo about the film ahead of its release. In their interview, they discuss how they got involved with A Man Called Otto and the film most attractive to them. They also shared the most challenging scenes from other projects, the importance of cats in our world, and what it was like working with Tom Hanks. For all this and more, check out the interview in the video above, or you can read the full transcript below.
I want to start with congratulations. You both are great in the movie. I think this Tom Hanks is going to have a career of his own. He is about to stand up.
GARCIA-RULFO: You think so? I do not know. I do not know.
Mariana, I can't believe you're the same person I saw in Narcos: Mexico. I can not believe it. When I was about to talk to you, I said, "It's not the same woman. No way." So I just want to give you huge props.
TREVIÑO: Yes, thanks.
Manuel, I'm curious, I read that Tom suggested you for this role after you worked with him before, you can sometimes be considered a serious actor, it's such a different role for you. How do you feel when someone casts you in a role like that? Gift?
GARCIA-RULFO: Well, first of all, yes, you're right. It's hard for me to do comedy, at least for me, and I don't feel like I'm confident enough to do it. But then I heard Tom say, "No, Manuel. Let's take Manuel." I thought, if Tom says, I have to do it. But yes, I did give him, first of all, a big thank you. I did bring him... Remember, [to Trevino] cómo se dice “manteles”?
TREVIÑO: For a table, like a tablecloth?
Oh yes, the tablecloth.
GARCIA-RULFO: Yeah, yeah, because he's telling me about his house, blah, blah, blah. So I brought him and (Hanks' wife and producer) Rita [Wilson] some presents. We had tequila and I drank it there too.
What was the script and material for "I really need to do this" for both of you?
TREVIÑO: Well, obviously because Tom and (director) Marc [Forster] were involved in the project, working with them was like a dream come true. It's a beautiful script. Fiction is great. I think it's very faithful to (Screenwriter) David McKee did and remodeled for this movie. It's just a beautiful story that's being told to all of us at this moment, about community, about finding your own family. And we've become very isolated in the pandemic and fragmented in many ways, and I think it's a good time to see this movie.
GARCIA-RULFO: Yeah, I think so too. I mean, to me, the relevant people. Of course Tom invited me. I've always wanted to work with Mark Foster. I met him a few years ago and I told him I liked his work and I wanted to work with him sometime. That's it, this story. Also, I want to take my mom to a movie where there are no guns. Something she'd cry about... because it's just a beautiful story, so I'm proud to be a part of it.
I like cats. This movie has a cat. I was just wondering, do you think one of the morals of the movie is that a cat can help save your life?
TREVIÑO: Completely. It saves me time every day. I have three cats, um, I love that aspect because they really comfort me, they are my life partners and I love them. I just love that Otto found a savior in the house cat.
Yes, I love that aspect of the movie. I love talking about people's careers and what they've done. A question I like to ask a lot of people, for both of you, when you think back on all the projects you've worked on, which specific shot ended up being the toughest shot you worked on?
GARCIA-RULFO: I think, for me, it [was] doing Michael Bay's 6 Underground, rolling on cars, being strapped to things, just rolling, rolling and rolling. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done, because I'm claustrophobic, so being strapped into a car and doing [gestures] like this over and over again, I think that's the hardest thing.
Trevino: Yes. Well, I just did a series called "Looking Eyes" and there was a scene where she had a breakdown, a bit of a breakdown at a very important family meeting. It's challenging to get into that State, then roll back and do it again. I mean, it was emotionally challenging, but it was very rewarding because of all the work that had been done before leading up to that moment. This is the fulcrum of emotion. When it's done, it feels so fulfilling when you're doing it with other people. It's difficult, but rewarding.
Obviously, like everyone, and I believe you both, I think Tom Hanks is just an amazing actor. He can read the phone book, and I want to, too.
I'm curious, what's it like to observe someone like this up close? Because he's so professional, and he's not a diva. So what exactly is it like to work with such a person, and what can you learn from it that you can bring to your own work?
GARCIA-RULFO: I mean, for me, this is the second film I've worked with him on, and I can't stress it enough, I don't understand how a character or someone as big as Tom Hanks can be It is—it should be, but—so humble, so passionate. And me Think he's the captain, so whatever he brings to the set, the energy he brings, the attitude he brings, everybody's like that...so that's why I think, I mean, especially the ones I shoot Two movies with him, they work really well because of the energy he brings, everyone is on the same page.
TREVIÑO: Yes, it's really the scene where we work together, he's always been so real. He works from a real place, which he can portray effortlessly, but which is so genuine in the moment. He is a generous actor. He stands with you, He gives you everything, even if it is yours. He will work with complete openness. His heart is like... so has been working with so much truth, and he just happens to be a genius in every sense of the word. He's so smart, he's so resourceful in every possible way, and it all shows in his performance. So as a recipient of all this content, obviously, it just makes your performance better, no matter what. I mean, it's just pretty lucky.
a man Called Otto is playing in select theaters now.