EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Tom Hanks is set as the on-camera host, historical commentator and narrator of Killing Lincoln, National Geographic Channel‘s two-hour historical thriller from Ridley and the late Tony Scott’s Scott Free Prods. It’s based on Bill O’Reilly best-selling book with co-author Martin Dugard that chronicles the conspiracy behind Lincoln’s assassination.

Hanks joins director Adrian Moat (Gettysburg), Emmy-winning writer/executive producer Erik Jendresen (Band of Brothers) and producer Mark Herzog’s Herzog & Co. (Gettysburg) on the film, which combines drama with CGI — in the signature style of the Scott brothers — with rare historical archives. “The murder of Lincoln is not a passage of our history — it was a signpost of our American character, then, now and forever,” said Hanks, who has been involved in a number of historic TV projects including the HBO miniseries Band Of Brothers and The Pacific, which he exec produced, and the PBS docu-series Freedom: A History Of Us.

In Killing Lincoln, Billy Campbell plays Lincoln, Jesse Johnson plays John Wilkes Booth and Geraldine Hughes is Mary Todd Lincoln. Graham Beckel appears as Edwin Stanton (who served as Secretary of War under the Lincoln administration) and Shawn Pyfrom portrays Private John W. Nichols. “Having someone like Tom who is so passionate about history and such an incredible storyteller join National Geographic Channel on this project will add even more energy and gravitas to this epic historical moment being retold for contemporary audiences,” said Nat Geo president Howard T. Owens. Added Ridley Scott, “Only Hanks can add that unique poise, intrigue and dynamism that are his trademark to a film about one of the most significant, life-changing events in America’s young history.”

The film, set to air globally on NGC in early 2013, is one of the last projects of the late Tony Scott, who is credited as an executive producer alongside Ridley Scott, O’Reilly, David Zucker, Mary Lisio, Herzog, Jendresen and Teri Weinberg.