Close
BRAND NEW ON E!
  • News/ 

    Hanks Turns Attention to JFK, Double Agents

    Tom Hanks is giving Jim Garrison a run for his money.

    After taking on the space race and World War II, respectively, with 1998's Emmy-winning From the Earth to the Moon and 2001's Band of Brothers for HBO, the actor-producer and the cable network are reuniting for another small-screen epic—this one about JFK.

    According to the Hollywood Reporter, Hanks' shingle, Playtone, will develop and produce a 10-part miniseries based on Vincent Bugliosi's recently published tome, Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    The HBO miniseries will take a different tack from director Oliver Stone's Oscar-winning 1991 film, JFK, which delved into the conspiracy theories surrounding the young President's murder through the investigation of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. In contrast, the Hanks project is based on the Warren Commission's conclusion, and Bugliosi's tireless research, that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

    Hanks' production company got involved at the behest of Bill Paxton, whose HBO series, Big Love, is produced by Playtone, after Paxton brought the book to Hanks and partner Gary Goetzman. All three will be executive producers on Reclaiming History.

    "The successful creative partnership we have enjoyed with Tom, Gary and Bill over the years imbues us with a confidence...that Bugliosi's riveting book will make a very powerful transition to the screen," said HBO Films president Colin Callender.

    Bugliosi's massive 1,600-page book debunks the various conspiracy theories that have been floated ever since eyewitnesses claimed to hear shots coming from the grassy knoll on that fateful day on Nov. 22, 1963 when Kennedy was gunned down while riding in his motorcade in downtown Dallas' Dealey Plaza.

    The author is a former Los Angeles deputy district attorney who first came to the public's attention prosecuting Charles Manson and chronicling the infamous case in the bestselling Helter Skelter.

    "Seventy-five percent of the American public believes in the falsehood that there was a conspiracy in the assassination of President Kennedy, and only 19 percent accept the findings of the Warren Commission that Oswald;acted alone," Buglioci said.  "Working with Playtone and HBO, I'm confident that we can reverse those numbers and finally bring the truth to the American public."

    Paxton has a personal stake in telling the story, considering the native Texan saw President Kennedy speak on the day of the assassination as an eight-year-old boy in his hometown of Fort Worth.

    "It's a story that has haunted me and my generation our whole lives," the Big Love star said.  "Now, with the 50th anniversaries of President Kennedy's inaugural address and assassination looming in the next few years, we felt it was the right time to pursue this project."

    This isn't the only history lesson Hanks has in the pipeline.

    The two-time Academy Award winner is also taking on the Nazis again. Hanks and company will develop and produce a movie for New Line Cinema adapted from the just-published biography, Agent Zigzag: A True Sdory of Nazi Espionage, Love and Betrayal.

    The book focuses on the the life of Eddie Chapman, a criminal, con-man and philanderer who agreed to secretly spy for Hitler's Third Reich during World War II.  However, while sent to destroy an airplane factory in Britain, he approached M15, Her Majesty's Secret Service, and became a double agent working on behalf of the Allies.

    New Line paid seven figures for the book in a bidding war, beating out corporate sibling Warner Bros., after the New York Times gave Agent Zigzag a spectacular review last week. It's certainly not the first flick about Chapman.  Warners made a 1966 film on the same subject based on the tome, The Eddie Chapman story.

    Playtone is also teaming with HBO on John Adams, a highly anticipated miniseries based on historian David McCullough's biography about the life of the second president of the United States. That tale stars Paul Giamatti as Adams, Laura Linney as his wife, Abigail, and David Morse as George Washington and debuts next March.

    Given the success of Band of Brothers, it was only a matter of time before the Saving Private Ryan soldier returned to the Greatest Generation. Hanks is also joining forces again with director Steven Spielberg to executive produce The Pacific, a 10-part miniseries relating three intertwining stories about marines who served in the Pacific theater during America's fight with the Japanese during World War II. It's slated to premiere on HBO in 2009.

     

    FROM AROUND THE WEB
    MORE ON EONLINE

    RELATED VIDEOS: