Looking to build on the slate of compelling original programming they already have at their disposal, HBO is currently in talks to acquire Neil Gaiman’s 2002 novel American Gods. Deadline reports that HBO would like to develop the fantasy tome into a series after having been presented with the material by Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Word has it that Hanks and Goetzman were initially made aware of the property by Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (The Aviator) who, as it were, will most likely co-write the pilot alongside Gaiman.
Briefly, American Gods documents the struggle between two sets of gods: the mythological ones who have garnered their power via society’s willingness to believe in them and a contemporary set made up of technology, celebrities, drugs, and the like. For more on the project, hit the jump to read a full synopsis of Gaiman’s novel.
Pajiba reports that Tom Hanks, through his company Playtone Productions, is developing an American remake of the critically adored 2009 French drama Summer Hours. The original flick follows three middle-aged siblings who, upon the death of their mother, reunite to see to her affairs and, in the process, “witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish their family belongings to ensure their deceased mother’s succession.” It was directed by Olivier Assayas and stars renowned French actress Juliette Binoche. Hanks and co. have spent the past few months searching for a screenwriter to Americanize the film, which A.O. Scott of the New York Times hailed as being “packed nearly to bursting with rich meaning and deep implication.”
Pajiba is reporting that Playtone Productions (which is owned by Tom Hanks) is now developing a movie based on the life of Mitzi Shore . Shore, who is also Pauly Shore’s mom, owned L.A.’s The Comedy Store during the stand up comedy boom of the 70′s and 80′s. The venue has now become an important and legendary part of comedy history with such comedians as Eddie Murphy, Tim Allen, Chevy Chase, Jim Belushi, Jim Carrey, David Letterman, and Jay Leno getting their start there. Chances are if you’ve seen a biography of any older stand up comedian on The Biography Channel, you’ve heard them mention The Comedy Store.
The film’s narrative will be based on the nonfiction book I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up Comedy’s Golden Era by William Knoedelseder. The book focuses on the time period during the late 70′s when Shore refused to pay comics while she made a fortune off of their efforts. This resulted in comedians going on strike against Shore, which all lead to comedian Steve Lubetkin committing suicide by jumping off of a hotel across the street from The Comedy Store after he was banned from the club for going on strike. His suicide note read, “My name is Steve Lubetkin. I used to work at the Comedy Store.”
Hit the jump for why I think this project could be the goods.