Fresh off a banner year that saw him appear in the acclaimed indies Eighth Grade and Vox Lux, up-and-coming actor Fred Hechinger is set to join Tom Hanks in Paul Greengrass’ period film News of the World, Collider has exclusively learned.
Sets in the days before the Civil War, News of the World stars Hanks as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who travels from town to town reading the news to locals, who would otherwise not know what is going on in the world. A set of circumstances lead him to be tasked with escorting an ornery young girl (Helena Zengel) to her aunt and uncle in San Antonio after she’s rescued from the Kiowa Indian tribe who kidnapped her and killed her family. Together, the duo face an inhospitable frontier. Hechinger’s role is being kept under wraps.
Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing News of the World through their Playtone banner with Gail Mutrux of Pretty Pictures, as well as Gregory Goodman (22 July). Lion scribe Luke Davies adapted the bestselling novel by Paulette Jiles, though Greengrass wrote the latest draft of the script himself. The project was previously set up at Fox 2000, but moved to Universal shortly after Fox was acquired by Disney.
Hechinger (pictured above on the left) is a rising star who recently wrapped Joe Wright‘s star-studded thriller The Woman in the Window, in which he plays the son of Oscar winners Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman. Hechinger will also soon be seen in the indie drama Human Capital as well as the indie comedy Two Against Nature from power-producer Scott Rudin. He previously appeared in the Netflix movie Alex Strangelove, and he’s also among the young ensemble starring in Leigh Janiak‘s upcoming adaptation of R.L. Stine‘s beloved Fear Street books. Hechinger is represented by Abrams Artists Agency and attorney Ryan LeVine.
Zengel is a relative newcomer herself, and like Hechinger, a discovery for Greengrass. She most recently starred in System Crasher, which made its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival back in February, and which will represent Germany as that country’s official submission for the newly-renamed Best International Feature Film Oscar.