Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks worked together on the harrowing Captain Phillips, and now they’re hoping to get the band back together for News of the World, based on the novel by Paulette Jiles – a Western set in the aftermath of the Civil War. This would be a bit of a departure for Greengrass, who has spent the last few years helming either films based on real-life events and tragedies, or Bourne sequels.
Paul Greengrass directing Tom Hanks in a Western? That might be pretty damn cool. Variety has the story that Greengrass and Hanks are in negotiations to close the deal on News of the World. The story, set in the direct aftermath of the Civil War, “charts the unlikely friendship between Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an earlier precursor to today’s newscasters, and the 10-year-old girl he is tasked with bringing to her relatives. Kidd makes his living traveling from town to town, reading the latest newspaper to the largely illiterate locals. The girl spent her childhood living with the Kiowa Indian tribe after she was kidnapped and her family was murdered. Kidd is widower with absent ties to his grown daughter, and he begins to feel a parental bond with the girl. Together, they battle the elements and a band of criminals who seek to kidnap the young girl.”
Hanks would play Kidd. The book’s official synopsis adds some more detail:
Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself.
This whole thing has a True Grit vibe to it, and I’m here for it. I can’t even picture what a Paul Greengrass Western would look like, but I suppose we’re going to find out. I imagine he’ll be keeping the camera a bit more still for this. As for Hanks, well, everybody loves Tom Hanks, right? His previous work with Greengrass yielded great results – Hanks’ performance in Captain Phillips is fantastic, particularly a climactic moment where he breaks down under the weight of everything that’s happened to him. In short, I’m excited for this project.
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