We don’t talk about books a whole lot around here, but many on The Playlist are avid readers, and one novel that I’ve been telling everyone to read immediately is Paulette Jiles‘ “News Of The World.” A point of comparison might broadly be “True Grit,” as the book tells the story of Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a war veteran who earns money in 1870 by traveling town to town in the South, reading headlines and news stories of the day from newspapers around the globe. His world changes when he’s tasked with bringing a 10-year-old white girl, who was kidnapped and spent much of her childhood with Native Americans, back to her real family in California. It’s a lean premise, told with great detail and heart, with an emotional punch that had me reaching for some Kleenex. Now, it’s headed to the big screen.
Tom Hanks has been tapped to star in the feature film, which is currently in development, and has Luke Davies (“Lion“) penning the script. While Hanks is very capable, I’m not sure he’s right for the lead role of Kidd at all (someone like Jeff Bridges or Sam Elliott or actors in that range would be a better fit). That said, he could certainly pull the big heartstrings that are at the center of the story. The role of the young girl would be a breakout part for a young actress, as the character doesn’t have much knowledge of English, having lived with Native Americans for so long, and her oddball habits make her both vulnerable and colorful.
No word yet on a director, but I’d imagine Luke Davies will knock out the script, and Hanks and Fox 2000 will go from there. [Deadline]