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In 2013, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS brought together filmmaker Paul Greengrass (THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM) and star Tom Hanks for a true story of American heroism. Now the two have reunited for NEWS OF THE WORLD, an adaptation of the novel by Paulette Jiles. While this isn't a true story, it is rooted in American history, and it gives Hanks the sort of surrogate father role at which he excels.
NEWS OF THE WORLD takes place in Texas a few years after the Civil War when an Army veteran is hired to escort a young girl back to her family in San Antonio. It's one of the few new Westerns we'll get to see on the big screen any time soon, and we can't wait for the Christmastime release. Here's everything we know about NEWS OF THE WORLD.
[Image Credit: Universal Pictures]
Universal Pictures will open NEWS OF THE WORLD in theatres on December 25.
There is a very good trailer for NEWS OF THE WORLD! It introduces the Hanks character, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, and shows how he meets a young woman, played by newcomer Helena Zengel — and the trouble they eventually get into as other people impede their journey.
The trailer shows off a great, sweeping Western vision. It also has a good joke for fans of CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, in which a Somali hijacker famously stared down Hanks, saying "I am the captain now." In this footage, Hanks gets the last word.
[Image Credit: William Morrow]
We expect the film story to follow the original novel by Paulette Jiles very closely. Universal explains that, five years after the end of the Civil War, widower and veteran Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) "moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news of presidents and queens, glorious feuds, devastating catastrophes, and gripping adventures from the far reaches of the globe."
In the book, while in North Texas, near Wichita Falls, Kidd is hired to transport a young woman to her remaining family, nearly 400 miles south in San Antonio. Today that's an easy day's drive; in 1870 it was a perilous journey. In the movie, it seems like the journey might begin in a slightly different way, but the outcome is likely much the same.
Then there's the fact that 10-year old Johanna (Zengel), isn't exactly interested in going to San Antonio. She was "taken in by the Kiowa tribe six years earlier and raised as one of their own." Her family and the law say she should be with her aunt and uncle in San Antonio, but she is willing to fight the law at every turn. Kidd agrees to take her south, but the journey into an unforgiving wilderness will force both the old man and young girl to face some new truths.
We don't need to introduce Tom Hanks, who produces and also stars as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd. Hanks is one of our great movie stars, and this role seems like it was made for him.
Opposite him is Helena Zengel, playing Johanna Leonberger. Zengel hails from Germany, which is somewhat appropriate as a lot of Central Texas settlers also came from Germany. She starred in SYSTEM CRASHER, which was submitted as Germany's choice for the 2019 Best International Feature Film Oscar. Even in the small amount of footage we see in the trailer, it's apparent that Zengel can hold her own against Hanks. She's got a tremendous screen presence.
Additionally, NEWS OF THE WORLD features Michael Covino, Fred Hechinger, Neil Sandilands, Thomas Francis Murphy, and Mare Winningham.
The novel by Paulette Jiles was originally adapted by screenwriter Luke Davies (LION), back in 2017. Once Paul Greengrass came on board to direct, he also did the final rewrite of the script. Greengrass is an interesting choice as he is known for gritty modern action movies and political thrillers, such as the Bourne movies (like THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, seen above), UNITED 93, GREEN ZONE, and the recent Netflix title 22 JULY.
We're curious to see how the director's usual hard-edge approach works for — or is somewhat changed by — this story of trust and personal evolution.
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