Tom Hanks occasionally stars in historical dramas, but he’s always quick to take on a producing role when it comes to American history. According to Variety, Hanks and his Playtone Pictures partner Gary Goetzman (The Pacific) will produce Peter Landesman‘s script, Parkland, which is about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The movie will reportedly revolve around the events leading up to the assassination and Abraham Zapruder‘s 8mm film that captured the event. Parkland refers to Parkland Memorial Hospital where Kennedy his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Oswald’s killer, Jack Ruby, all died. The film will be an ensemble piece that views how multiple characters, including “an FBI agent, a young doctor, a reporter, several Secret Service agents, Kennedy’s staff, Oswald’s older brother, Jackie Kennedy, and Zapruder.”
Hanks and Goetzman are no strangers to putting together big ensemble dramas, but it’s usually in the form of a mini-series. It will be interesting to see how they plan to pull it together in a single film. Landesman will make his feature directing debut on Parkland.
Director James Bobin is now onboard to direct the spy film Agent Zigzag. The Muppets director will helm the adaptation of the Ben McIntyre novel for New Line and Playtone Pictures, with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman producing. The story centers on a professional criminal who became a double agent during World War II. “He won the trust of German intelligence services even as he reported back to the spymasters of MI5.” Rowan Joffe (Brighton Rock) was hired to write the script early last year for Mike Newell (Prince of Persia) to direct, but it appears Newell is no longer with the project.
Agent Zigzag is a bit of a change of pace for Bobin, as last year’s The Muppets was his feature directorial debut following stints on comedy series like Da Alie G Show and The Flight of the Conchords, but the novel apparently includes farcical elements. Hit the jump for more, including a synopsis of the novel.
In Yahoo’s first ever scripted show, Tom Hanks will not only play the creative force behind-the-scenes but will also lend his voice to the lead character. Electric City, an animated sci-fi series, is a production of Reliance Entertainment and Playtone, a TV and film company owned by Hanks and Gary Goetzman. About twenty episodes, each around four minutes long, should begin streaming this spring exclusively on Yahoo. While already a popular news outlet, Yahoo is looking to build franchises and hopes to start with Electric City. If successful, the property could find other avenues of media, such as games, home video, TV and perhaps even a feature release. The first look at Electric City will be at this week’s CES in Las Vegas. Hit the jump for more.
HBO has recently landed some heavy hitters with the incomparable Tom Hanks and the bankable Alan Ball both developing projects for the network. Hanks, teamed with long-time producing partner Gary Goetzman, will reunite with the network for Players, a half-hour comedy following the lives of college athletes.
Ball is switching tactics from the campy, sexy success of True Blood to develop Wichita, an hour-long medical drama about a Kansas abortion doctor caught at the nexus of a political, cultural and ethical conflict. Ball will executive produce the project, based on the life of Dr. George Tiller, along with Devin Friedman, who authored the related GQ article “Savior vs. Savior.” Hit the jump for more on both projects.
Tom Hanks initiated development Major Matt Mason, a feature based on the Mattel astronaut action figure, in 2009. Hanks wrote the screenplay with Graham Yost (who scripted episodes of Hanks-produced miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific) and, as a producer with Playtone partner Gary Goetzman, earmarked the lead role for himself. For a director, Hanks is turning to the man who directed him to Oscar nominations in Forrest Gump and Cast Away: Robert Zemeckis.
According to THR, Zemeckis is in talks to direct Major Matt Mason in 3D with a tentative budget over $100 million. We heard recently that Zemeckis’ next project is likely to be Flight, which may shoot as early as the fall. Post-production could occupy Zemeckis through a good portion of 2012, though Major Matt Mason could get in front of cameras next year when schedules align.
Hit the jump for background on the toy.
HBO started kicking the tires of Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods back in April as a possible series to be produced by Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, with Gaiman on board as writer and executive producer. Goetzman revealed details this weekend to THR: Playtone is planning six season of 10-12 hourlong episodes with a budget of $35-40 million each season. American Gods will premiere in 2013 at the earliest.
That’s a lot of money for a weekly series — minimally $3 million per episode, more than most broadcast shows. Playtone is used to the Daddy Warbucks treatment from HBO — the network reportedly budgeted The Pacific around $225 million (over $20 million per hour). But Goetzman promises they’ll put the money to good use:
“There are some crazy things in [American Gods]. We’ll probably be doing more effects in there than it’s been done on a television series.”
Hit the jump for a synopsis of the crazy things in Gaiman’s novel after the break.
It appears that the musical rock opera concept album that shot the punk rockers from Green Day into superstardom just cannot be stopped. After the success of their 2004 album, Green Day transformed American Idiot into a successful, one-act stage musical, which also includes music from their follow up album, 21st Century Breakdown.
Even though the musical has yet to debut on Broadway, Deadline has just reported that talks are underway with Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman to turn the musical into a feature film. For those that are unfamiliar with Playtone, they were responsible for the box office smash, Mamma Mia!, which of course was originally a Broadway musical adapted from the music of Abba. Apparently, Playtone has a first look deal with Universal, but Hanks and Goetzman are working on actually getting the rights to American Idiot before they bring it to the studio.
Based on the material, it’s clearly obvious that the film will be more Rent than Sweeney Todd, but feel free to judge for yourself. Hit the jump to check out a brief synopsis and the official video for “21 Guns”, featuring the cast of American Idiot.
If you were to make a list of the Top 5 Miniseries of All-Time, HBO’s “Band of Brothers” would have to make the list. An in-depth personal examination of the soldiers of Easy Company told in 10 parts, it may be the best cinematic depiction of the European Campaign of World War II of all-time. But exploring the Pacific Campaign and America bringing its vengeance to Japan remains hazy in the public mindset with the flag-raising at Iwo Jima and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In March 2010, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman are throwing us back in the shit with the HBO miniseries, “The Pacific”. Watching its new teaser trailer, I was thrown right back into the war and I can’t help but wonder if “The Pacific” may join “Band of Brothers” on that Top 5 Miniseries list. Hit the jump to see the new teaser. Click here to see the first teaser trailer which debuted this past June.