Chet Hanks on Portraying Addiction on Screen After Overcoming Personal Struggles: 'It Was a Blessing'

The star appears on Wednesday's episode

Photo: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Chet Hanks is taking on a very personal role.

Hanks, the son of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, has struggled with addiction issues and spent time in rehab. Now clean, he’s guest starring on Wednesday’s Maron, in an emotional and funny role that bares a striking resemblance to his real life.

His character Trey is an aspiring rapper and comes from a wealthy Los Angeles family. He’s doing a stint in rehab alongside comedian Marc Maron, who plays a fictionalized version of himself in the IFC comedy.

Hanks, 25, says channelling his real-life experiences with addiction was a rewarding experience.

“It was awesome to be able to do that. The whole aspect of just turning an negative into a positive,” Hanks, 25, tells PEOPLE. “Creatively, it was a blessing.”

His co-star Maron, who is 16 years sober after having his own real-life stints in rehab, says working with an actor who was more recently celebrating sobriety added an extra layer to their scenes.

“All that stuff was very fresh to him,” says Maron. “It was a great emotional thing, that there was real recovery on the set like that.”

Though Maron and the team had Hanks in mind for the role, the aspiring rapper still had to audition to win the part. When Hanks saw the script, he recognized himself in it.

“I was like, ‘Oh my god, If i don’t get this role, then something is really wrong with me,’ ” he recalls. “I was just kind of like, ‘Hey, this is me.’ ”

Maron airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on IFC.

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