Sarita Choudhury is making her parents proud.
The actress, who plays Tom Hanks‘ love interest in A Hologram for the King, said working alongside the veteran actor was an especially meaningful experience because of what it meant to her parents.
“To do a movie with someone like Tom Hanks that when you tell your dad, your dad knows who Tom Hanks is – it feels like you’re finally giving back to your parents,” Choudhury, 49, tells PEOPLE. “It’s like you’ve actually done something that they can recognize and there’s something in me that makes them super proud.”
And it turns out, acting alongside Hanks was everything Choudhury hoped it would be.
“I loved working with him,” says Choudhury, who describes him as “present” and “funny.”
And it seems the feelings were mutual. Hanks also praised his costar while attending the premiere of A Hologram for the King on Wednesday.
“Both with Sidse [Babett Knudsen] and with Sarita in this, we spent a long time just hanging over food, going over the lines, talking about the scenes and then, of course, all the rest of our lives end up getting folded into it as well,” Hanks, 59, told reporters at the Tribeca Film Festival.
In A Hologram for the King, Hanks plays an American businessman who travels to Saudi Arabia to sell a holographic teleconferencing system to the king and ends up falling for a doctor (Choudhury) who treats him while he’s there.
“The great thing about having to play [with] a girl you gotta kiss and you gotta hangout with and look all dreamy into their eyes and stuff like that is that even before you get to that, you’re really good friends, and then right after that, you’re friends with somebody you went on this kind of like magical journey,” added Hanks.
With this film under her belt and having worked on the final Hunger Games movie, Choudhury says that even after 25 years in the industry, she still gets just as excited to work on a new project as she was when she got her breakout role opposite Denzel Washington in 1991’s Mississippi Masala.
“I feel like you grow as an actor, but you still feel that same excitement when you get a role and you still feel shocked to get to work with Tom Hanks or Denzel,” the Homeland alum says. “I feel like that side of me hasn’t changed much. You just can’t believe you’re given that opportunity. The only that changes is that I feel more comfortable on sets.”
A Hologram for the King opens in theaters Friday.