Beloved actor Tom Hanks has famously lent his voice to a cowboy in several of Pixar’s Toy Story movies, but he’s never appeared in a full-fledged Western…until now.
Hanks stars in this year’s News of the World, a Universal Western which reunites “America’s dad” with his Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass and places him in a classic, archetypal situation as a man who discovers an abandoned young girl and takes her under his wing. Check out the first look photos and learn some more details about the film below.
News of the World First Look
Vanity Fair brings us these photos and some details about the movie, which stars Hanks as Captain Jefferson Kidd, a widower who rides across Texas performing a one man show featuring true stories in an effort to expand peoples’ perspective about the world. But his stories don’t always resonate: some townspeople feel threatened by the news he spreads to their communities when it clashes with their firmly-held beliefs.
Sound familiar? That’s very much on purpose. “Information was suspect,” Greengrass explained to the outlet about the era in which this story is set. “The world was filled with division, loss, economic hardship. The world was filled with rumors and false narratives. Audiences were never sure whom they could trust to tell them the truth.”
The division that formed between and within communities in this film’s 1870 setting is another way for the director to draw a straight line to today. “Even though it’s set then, it’s a film about our times,” he said. “Neighbors and families and communities were in stark and often violent conflict with each other, and Americans needed to decide who they were as Americans.”
The story really picks up when Hanks’s character discovers a smashed carriage with only a single survivor: a 12-year-old girl (12-year-old German actress Helena Zengel) who was raised by the Kiowa tribe and doesn’t speak the same language he does. “In this story of this man and this little girl, these two characters, both of them for very different reasons are lost,” Greengrass said, citing John Ford as an inspiration for this movie. “The story for them is to work out where they each belong and how that works. And that’s what I wanted this Western to do.” Head over to VF for more.
As of now, Universal still plans to release News of the World theatrically on December 25, 2020 – although considering the most recent cascade of theatrical delays, it could be only a matter of time until this movie also gets bumped into 2021.
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