It’s looking like Tom Hanks will re-team with director Paul Greengrass for News of the World, a road drama from writer Luke Davies (Lion) based on the historical fiction novel by Paulette Jiles. (Variety reports that the deal isn’t final, but “negotiations are taking place”.) The last collaboration between Hanks and Greengrass, Captain Phillips, grossed $218 million worldwide on a $55 million budget en route to six Oscar nominations. Even if you’ve never seen it you have definitely told someone you are “the captain now.” It’s okay to admit this.
For News of the World, Hanks will also be the captain now…again. The actor will play Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a veteran who travels from town to town in the wake of the Civil War reading news to illiterate locals. Kidd’s journey through the United States is upended when he’s tasked with delivering a young kidnap victim from Texas to her relatives in San Antonio.
Here is the official synopsis for Paulette Jiles’ book:
It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.
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, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.