Colin Hanks Talks Knowing John Candy Growing Up Ahead Of His Documentary With Ryan Reynolds: ‘Sweet, Sweet Presence’

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Written By Maya Cantina

Colin Hanks is used to being around movie legends — he has one as a father, of course. And like any good nepo baby, he’s appeared alongside his famous parent in the 1996 fan favorite That Thing You Do. Growing up as Tom Hanks’ son no doubt had the young Colin encountering big-name stars like John Candy on the regular. And it’s an enviable history the A Friend of the Family actor recently relayed ahead of the release of his and Ryan Reynolds’ documentary about the beloved comedian. 

During a January 2023 episode of the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, Hanks detailed one of his upcoming projects: a documentary centered on the late, great Candy, who died of a heart attack at the age of 43 in 1994. He’s working on it with Ryan Reynolds, and he said:

Hopefully, touch wood, [I] start the next documentary at the beginning of the year. Trying to get a doc made about John Candy. Yeah. So, I produced a documentary about Willie Mays that just came out on Tuesday. It’s great. It’s on HBO Max, it’s called ‘Say Hey, Willie Mays!’

Per Variety, Amazon Studios was in negotiations to pick up the still-untitled John Candy-focused documentary, which will feature Hanks as the director and Ryan Reynolds as a producer. 

The doc, which reportedly has the approval of Candy’s family, would explore the life and legacy of the comedy icon, who famously starred in such funny flicks as Planes, Trains and Automobiles, The Great Outdoors, Uncle Buck and Cool Runnings.

Along with digging into never-before-seen home videos, archives and family interviews to depict the Canadian star, Hanks reportedly also had his own firsthand experiences to pull from for the documentary. His father had co-starred with Candy in 1984’s Splash, and both Tom Hanks and Colin’s stepmother Rita Wilson worked alongside the actor on the 1985 comedy Volunteers

So, Colin had known Candy as a “sweet, sweet presence” from when he was a young boy, as he relayed to Maron on the podcast:

I did [know him]. My dad and my moms, both my moms. He was around when my parents were still married, and then he was around when my dad and Rita fell in love. He was present in my life quite a bit when I was a kid. Incredible guy. And when I say that I’m saying that as an eight-year-old, about a guy I never really had a sit-down conversation with. Big presence. Sweet, sweet presence. I remember him just being funny, making me laugh, making me feel better if I’ve been feeling shy. He was a good dude.

As for which classic Candy movie is his favorite? With hilarious titles like Home Alone and Spaceballs, it’s nearly impossible to choose, but Hanks cites a few faves and praises the late actor for being “the glue” of a production, no matter how big or small a role he was in:

They’re all delightful and they’re all different. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is kind of tough to beat. That I think is like the most complete performance of his. But like I could get lost in the weeds in terms of the sort of smaller stuff. Just the little stuff that he does in Home Alone, or Spaceballs. Then also, Vacation, the thing that I really do like admire so much about him is that he did everything. He would be the main guy, like he’d be the lead guy, Uncle Buck, the name of the fucking movie. But he’d also be the guy that pops in for just a couple of scenes that is just a fully-fledged character, believable person in this world. There was no middle ground. It didn’t matter how much he was in, he was just the glue.

There’s still no official release date set for the John Candy doc, but we’ll keep our eyes on the 2024 movie schedule just in case. And you’ll want to make sure to have an Amazon Prime subscription, as the film will likely be hosted on that streaming platform.

As for whether the documentary director got any pointers from his megastar dad for the project, Colin joked: 

He’s never made a fucking documentary. He doesn’t have any pointers. He can give me notes…

Take that, Tom! After all, while to the rest of us he’s America’s Dad, to Colin, he’s just dad — albeit one cool enough to be hanging out with John Candy way back when. 

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