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'Luck is when preparation meets opportunity' — Cleveland man featured in Tom Hanks film after career change

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Posted at 9:13 PM, Jan 12, 2023

CLEVELAND — The Cinemark Valley View hosted a special screening of the Tom Hanks movie named A Man Called Otto, which features Cleveland's Peter Lawson Jones.

However, Lawson Jones' life could be a movie of it's own.

He's worked hard since he was a kid. He graduated from Harvard Law School and began a career in law, and then progressed to a lifetime of public service as a member of Shaker Heights City Council. He then became a state representative in Ohio's Congress and served on the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissions.

"When younger folk ask me for counsel or advice, I say, whatever is is, 'Work hard, and then work even harder,'" said Lawson Jones.

There couldn't be A Man Called Otto without A Man Called Peter, who plays a meaty role opposite of Hanks.

"This is really Tom Hanks! How the heck did I end up doing a scene with Tom Hanks?" he asked.

It's a good question, but one that is answered with a great support system. His family, wife Lisa, friends in law, politics and acting have all contributed to his success.

However, it always stems back to hard work.

For this film, Lawson Jones survived callbacks and got the part. Marc Forester is also known for directing other films such as Disney's Christopher Robin, and World War Z starring Brad Pitt.

"He [Forester] says, 'Peter, that scene you did with Tom, it was so beautiful, it made me cry. And Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks wife made the same comment about that scene, what more could I ask for?" Lawson Jones asked.

Back in the day, he would have told you his goal in life was to be a baseball player, a politician or an actor.

Now almost 30 years later, Lawson Jones is lucky enough to work alongside three Academy Award winners and two EMMY winners with speaking parts.

"Luck is when preparation meets opportunity," he said. "You've gotta be prepared for it. Whatever I've done in life, I always wanna be better prepared than the next guy or gal."

Though, he joked being a baseball player isn't off the table for his next career move.

"Hey, it's not over yet! Haha," he said.

Thursday's special screening benefitted the Charles and Margaret Jones Scholarship Fund that Lawson Jones founded in memory of his mother and father. Over $40,000 in scholarships have been awarded.

A Man Called Otto hits movie theaters this week.
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