A Man Called Otto: Release Date, Cast, And More

Swedish author Fredrik Backman's bestselling novel "A Man Called Ove" is being adapted into another movie. Previously, Swedish filmmaker and screenwriter Hannes Holm turned the story into a 2015 film of the same name (it released a year later in the U.S.), which earned two nods at the 89th Academy Awards in the best foreign language film and best makeup and hairstyling categories. 

The English-language adaptation, titled "A Man Called Otto" (with the protagonist's name changed to reflect its American setting) will be helmed by Marc Foster ("Finding Neverland," "World War Z"). Two-time Oscar nominee David Magee ("Life of Pi," "Mary Poppins Returns") is penning the script. Foster and Magee previously worked together on "Finding Neverland" (2004), starring Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp.

"A Man Called Ove" has often been regarded as a life-affirming novel — the winsome sincerity of its characters and the way friendship shapes their lives is inspiring to say the least. Following the release of the first film adaptation, Swedish actor Rolf Lassgård's charming performance as Ove was praised by critics and readers of the book. Now, it's time for Tom Hanks to take the reins.

A Man Called Otto release date

As reported by Collider, the release date for "A Man Called Otto" is slated for Christmas Day, 2022. Per Deadline, production on "A Man Called Otto" is set to begin this year, but there is no word on the filming locations yet.

The project has been in the works for a few years now and will be produced by actress Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman. Fredrik Wikström Nicastro of SF Studios, the company that released the Swedish adaptation, will also serve as producer. The first adaptation was globally recognized and became the highest-grossing foreign-language film in the U.S. in 2016.

The hit novel has sold over 7 million copies worldwide, and 18 months following its English translation, it remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 77 consecutive weeks. We can only hope that the English adaptation does right by its predecessor, which has been so special to fans of the book. If Tom Hanks can successfully capture the earnestness with which Rolf Lassgård brought the character to life, we can be rest assured that "A Man Called Otto" will be another stellar adaptation for the books.

What Is A Man Called Otto about?

Originally written in Swedish, "A Man Called Ove" was masterfully translated into English a year after its release in 2013 by Henning Koch. The story follows Ove, a grumpy, old widower, and the community that thaws his heart.

The synopsis on the U.S. edition of the book reads: 

Ove is a curmudgeon — the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him 'the bitter neighbor from hell.' However, behind the cranky exterior, there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning, a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

The cast of A Man Called Otto

Actor Tom Hanks — who has been associated with the project since 2017, is set to appear as Otto, a grumpy older man who has been forced to retire. Rolf Lassgård's stellar interpretation of the character in the 2015 film surprised fans of the books — he appeared to have jumped on the silver screen right from the pages of Backman's novel. Tom Hanks' filmography is proof that the actor does not disappoint when he is called upon to give a nuanced, heartfelt performance, and Otto seems like a notable role for him to tackle next.

The movie will kick off production this year, and the rest of the cast is currently unknown — but considering the many characters in Backman's novel, we can expect a great ensemble cast to join Hanks. Aside from Ove/Otto, there's Sonja, Ove's deceased wife. There's also Parvaneh, Ove's neighbor, a pregnant woman of Iranian descent and a mother of two (can we cast Hiam Abbass as Parvaneh already?), and her husband Patrick. There's also Rune, Ove's friend-and-neighbor-turned-nemesis, his wife Anita, the neighborhood mailman Adrian, and Jimmy — another neighbor of Ove's.