12/03/2001 AT 12:40 PM EST
The official title of the new teen comedy is "Orange County," but perhaps it really should be called "Hollywood -- The Next Generation." Besides Jack Black, who is currently starring in "Shallow Hal," the movie's cast includes such chips off the old blocks as Colin Hanks (son of Tom Hanks) and Schuyler Fisk (daughter of Sissy Spacek), and it is directed by Jake Kasdan (son of "The Big Chill" director Lawrence Kasdan). Hanks, 24, who plays a budding writer in the movie, told PEOPLE he knew he wanted to be an actor from the time "I did plays in grade school." After majoring in theater in college, "I eventually thought, this is the only thing I could do as a profession, I can't really do anything else." Perhaps surprisingly, he never discussed his career choice with his father, 45. (Mom is Samantha Lewes, to whom the elder Hanks was married from 1978 to 1985; he married current wife, actress Rita Wilson, in 1988.) "He always understood this was something I liked, and he made it clear, 'Well, if this is what you want to do, you could cut it,'" says Colin, who has had parts on TV's "Roswell" and "Band of Brothers" (coproduced by Tom). As for dad's influence, "I seldom ask him any advice about acting," insists Colin. "I think I have that down. And if I am ever in a bind I will call my old theater professor in college. But advice I do seek him out on is how to handle the other 50 percent of being an actor, like publicizing a movie."