Tom Hanks returns to the big screen in the post-Civil War western NEWS OF THE WORLD, in which Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks) is thrown together with a young girl (Helena Zengel) who, years before, was taken by the Kiowa people. Capt. Kidd agrees to escort her across Texas to be with her aunt and uncle, but the journey quickly transforms into a fight for survival.
We had a chance to speak with both Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel, as well as director Paul Greengrass, who previously directed Hanks in CAPTAIN PHILLIPS. Hanks first spoke about what drew him to this role, saying, "The newsreader, the guy who traveled from town to town, to enlighten and connect an audience, in diverse, small towns. I thought that’s a job I would have liked to have had if I had been alive in the 1870s." He added, "you’d be delivering a connectivity that people wouldn’t have. Everybody wants to belong to something bigger than themselves. Sometimes that’s just being a member of an audience but the enlightenment that would come along from stories big and small, how wonderful the world could be, and also, how dangerous."
Director Paul Greengrass told us about working with the budding new star, eleven-year-old Helena Zengel. "I remember being anxious on the first day of shooting," he said, "because she’s eleven years old and she’s going to work with Tom Hanks. You never know how it’s going to be." Turns out that Zengel was more than up to the challenge. "I knew literally after the first hour. I found all my anxiety just fade away. I knew she was going to be fantastic. She had great confidence. She had great chemistry with Tom. They were great friends off-screen, and stories seem to tell themselves honestly and truly."
Zengel echoed that same sentiment. "Paul is such a great man," she said. "I always felt welcomed and always knew, if I had something, we could change it. I think that’s a nice feeling to go on set (with)."
Hanks ended the interview by telling us even though he and Greengrass shared different visions of the character at times, those are the critical conversations that shape a film, saying, “It’s the best kind of loggerheads to be in when you’re making a movie because you’re arguing about how to get to best get to the same desired place.”
Check out our full interviews for NEWS OF THE WORLD:
NEWS OF THE WORLD opens on December 25!
All images courtesy of Universal Pictures.