Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.
Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks
"For 365 nights, I slept with the producer to get the part," the two-time Oscar winner, 66, joked Monday during a screening and Q&A for A Man Called Otto at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.
Conveniently, that producer just so happens to be his wife of 34 years, Rita Wilson.
In the uplifting tearjerker, Tom plays a grumpy elderly man whose wife died months ago and who is planning suicide until his new nosy neighbor (Mariana Treviño) takes him in as part of her family.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
David Livingston/WireImage Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
Tom and Wilson's son Truman Hanks plays the younger version of his dad's crotchety character. "I talked [to him] a little bit about some physical gestures and the way to walk when you're pissed off," Tom said.
"The good news is that I looked like him when I was 26. The bad news is he's gonna look like me in another 40 years," he joked in addition. "He is just gonna have to deal with that."
Working with Treviño, 45, was a joy. When Tom saw her audition on Wilson's iPad, he said, "There was just no denying" she should play the part.
And the Forrest Gump star is more than pleased with how it turned out.
"If you want to live a better life, have a busybody Mexican woman knock on your door and say, '¿Que paso?' " Tom quipped.
"And that idea that even though somebody's not in your life anymore, that I still have conversations with my parents, my friends that have passed away. And that conversation continuing," she explained Monday. "David and I thought about this idea that when someone's out for the day and you can't wait to get until they come home so you can tell them about your day.
"But also that maybe home was a place that was a spiritual home. And I wanted to be able to have it sung from two different points of view. Like a man could sing it, a woman could sing it," Wilson added.
A Man Called Otto hits theaters on Christmas Day (Dec. 25).