Tom Hanks fans won’t have to wait long for the Oscar winner to follow-up his Apple TV+ hit movie “Greyhound” from earlier this year. Next up for the beloved actor is “News of the World,” a reunion with his “Captain Phillips” director Paul Greengrass that Universal Pictures has dated for a theatrical release on Christmas Day. Oscar pundits are keeping a close eye on “News of the World,” arguably Universal’s biggest contender and one whose release is identical to that of the studio’s “1917,” a 10-time Oscar nominee and three-time winner earlier this year. Vanity Fair has the official first look at Greengrass and Hanks’ latest.
“News of the World” stars Tom Hanks as a widower in the Old West who “travels through the Texas desert to perform a one-man show about true stories from afar. His goal, apart from gathering coins in his cup, is to bring people together and expand their perspective of the world.” The widower gets thrust into a dangerous journey after he discovers a young girl (Helena Zengel) who is the lone survivor of a carriage accident in the middle of nowhere.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Greengrass calls Hanks’ character, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a “thread who connects one community to another.” While the film is set in the Old West, Greengrass found the story of Kidd and his connection with the young girl as emblematic of contemporary American society.
“Even though it’s set then, it’s a film about our times,” Greengrass said. “Neighbors and families and communities were in stark and often violent conflict with each other, and Americans needed to decide who they were as Americans…That’s what I wanted the film to explore. What’s the road out of this? What’s the road to healing look like? And in this story of this man and this little girl, these two characters, both of them for very different reasons are lost. The story for them is to work out where they each belong and how that works. And that’s what I wanted this Western to do.”
The film is the first Western offering from both Greengrass and Hanks, whose 2013 survival thriller “Captain Phillips” was a six-time Oscar nominee and a box office hit with $218 million worldwide. While “Captain Phillips” competed for Best Picture, Hanks was notably snubbed in the category for Best Actor.
“News of the World” opens December 25, 2020. Check out a selection of first look photos from “News of the World” below. Head over to Vanity Fair’s website for the complete first look.