EXCLUSIVE: In the first project that has come unglued from Fox since the Disney acquisition, Universal Pictures has picked up rights to The News of The World, an adaptation of the Paulette Jiles novel that is re-teaming Captain Phillips’ director Paul Greengrass and star Tom Hanks.
Scripted by Lion’s Luke Davies, the novel is set in 1870, revolving around a road trip through the untamed West taken by unlikely traveling partners. On the one hand is Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a Texan who travels from town to town to read the news to locals who would otherwise not know what is going on in the world. While Kidd’s idea of excitement is spreading the word of the passage of the 15th Amendment that gave voting rights to all men, he gets a jolt when he agrees to escort a 10-year-old white girl to her aunt and uncle in San Antonio after she was rescued from the Kiowa Indian tribe that kidnapped her and killed her family four years earlier. His traveling partner is an ornery youngster who didn’t want to be rescued and brought to her relatives. Together they face the inhospitable frontier.
Playtone’s Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing with Pretty Pictures’ Gail Mutrux and Gregory Goodman, latter of whom teamed with Greengrass on 22 July and Jason Bourne. Playtone has a long relationship with Fox 2000 and Elizabeth Gabler, and Hanks and Goetzman set up the picture with her label in May, 2017.
Gabler was surprised to learn that there won’t be a place for her or her Fox 2000 label at Disney, in a development that was a shocker to the town and every filmmaker who has a project there. This is the first project to come unglued and find a new home.
It was an easy move for Playtone, which collaborated with Universal on the Mamma Mia! movies and other films. Hanks will next appear in Toy Story 4 and It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a film about the beloved and iconic children’s television host Fred Rogers.
Greengrass returns to Universal where his credits include multiple Jason Bourne movies, as well as Green Zone and United 93, for which he scored an Oscar nomination. He most recently directed the Netflix drama 22 July.
Hanks and Greengrass are represented by CAA