Men Who Set the Time: Colin Hanks

Men Who Set the Time: Colin Hanks

The star of Life in Pieces keeps it together by loving ‘the work.’

Colin Hanks

Following in your father’s footsteps has daunted men for generations, but when your dad is one of the most successful and beloved actors of all time, it’s a whole different game. That was the challenge Colin Hanks, Tom Hanks’s son, faced when breaking into the family business. So how did the star of CBS’s hit sitcom Life in Pieces get through it? With perseverance and perspective. That’s why he’s one of our Men Who Set the Time, inspired by the Tiffany & Co. CT60.

“I’ve never had the moment when I finally thought, ‘I’m successful,’” says the 39-year-old actor. “I could tell you all the moments in which I thought maybe I missed my chance and that my window has closed.”

Hanks’ first big part was as a series regular on Roswell back in the ’90s. From there, he bounced around from small movie roles to bigger parts on TV — from playing a priest on Mad Men to a serial killer on Dexter — before breaking out on the first season of FX’s Fargo. As the mild-mannered sheriff on Billy Bob Thornton’s tail, he scored rave reviews and an Emmy nomination in 2014. Although the spotlight was a long time coming, the best advice he ever received was “Don’t be in a rush.” “What drives me is making sure that the window remains open, and that I keep myself interested in the work. ‘Cause I love the work.”

Today, Hanks has a golden perch on Thursday-night TV, and his comic interplay with legendary actors Dianne Wiest and James Brolin has drawn strong ratings and reviews. But Hanks is keeping it all in check. Married for six years and the father of two, Hanks says his wife and kids are his first priority. When he needs to get inspired, “I try to just turn the world off for a moment,” he says. “That just means not worrying about where I need to be and what I need to be doing. I find just tuning out for a bit and taking some time really helps me — not getting complacent or lazy, but not being so focused as to lose sight of the little things that can help, or as a wise man once said, get you through the night.”

The moment he realized his life had changed? “If anything, I’ve learned that it’s always changing and evolving,” says Hanks. “That’s part of the experience. Once I learned to roll with that, things got a lot easier.”