Tom Hanks saddles up as another Captain for filmmaker Paul Greengrass.
In his first-ever Western, the two-time Academy Award winning actor reteams with his Captain Phillips director. Vanity Fair debuted photos of the project (below) in its First Look preview from staff writer Anthony Breznican, along with Universal Pictures releasing an initial 60-second teaser (above) with a full trailer to follow.
In a story that sounds like a vague cross between Kevin Costner‘s The Postman with John Ford‘s The Searchers, Hanks plays a traveling news reader, working for tips in a cup. He goes from town to town throughout Texas to deliver news from around the world via performative reporting.
That’s the Postman part (albeit news rather than mail, and the Old West rather than a post-apocalyptic hellscape). Where it starts to sound more like The Searchers is when Hanks’s Captain Jefferson Kidd rescues a 12-year-old girl from the wreckage of a carriage accident (she’s played by young German newcomer Helena Zengel). Though white, she speaks the Native American language of the Kiowa tribe. Kidd sets out to help the girl return to where she came from, which leads to more danger than he could’ve imagined.
Hanks’s Kidd is altruistic and thoughtful. Those traits that set him apart from the Indian-hating racism of John Wayne‘s Ethan Edwards, but the premise of News of the World (based on the novel by Alan LeMay) inevitably explores similar Searchers themes of race mixing in the Old West and its implications.
From Universal Pictures and co-produced by Hanks’s production company Playtone, News of the World is (despite other films fleeing this calendar year) being promoted as opening in theaters on December 25, 2020. Given a possible clean path to a third Best Actor Oscar for Hanks, I’d actually be surprised if Universal doesn’t stick with it.
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