The United States really hasn't received any good news lately. With everything currently going on with the coronavirus pandemic, the US election, general White House drama, republicans vs democrats, and all of the recent debates with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Americans have plenty to be stressed about right now. So the latest news about Tom Hanks, recent COVID survivor and beloved actor, starring in his very first western film couldn't have come at a better time. Forget about the fly on Pence's head last night during the VP debate, this is the best news we've had all year! How is it possible it took this long to get Hanks out to the Old West?
News of the World is based on the 2016 novel written by Paulette Jiles. The book was a nominee for the National Book Award. The novel must have spoken to Hanks after the first time he read it because within months of its release, FOX 2000 snagged the movie rights with Hanks set to appear in the leading role of Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd. Kidd is a veteran who was perfectly content with his life as an itinerant news reader until he gets asked to escort a young girl, Johanna, who was recently rescued from a Kiowa reservation, down to her surviving relatives in San Antonio.
Similar to True Grit, the story of an old man and his young companion definitely looks like it will tug at your heartstrings. Just watching the trailer and seeing Hanks' character patiently explaining to the young German girl that the words on a newspaper tell a story or seeing him protect her from outlaws on their journey already has me tearing up. The film is currently set for a Christmas Day release, but considering the lockdowns still happening with theaters across the country, we will have to see if that still happens.
In the following New York Times review of the novel, it definitely sounds like an incredible story to watch on the big screen. My main takeaway is that it seems like the perfect role for Tom Hanks to make his debut in the Wild West. Hopefully we'll see more of that in the future. If you want to read the book before the film's release (and you should) you can find it here on Amazon.
"News of the World" is a narrow but exquisite book about the joys of freedom (experienced even by a raging river threatening to overrun its banks); the discovery of unexpected, proprietary love between two people who have never experienced anything like it; pure adventure in the wilds of an untamed Texas; and the reconciling of vastly different cultures (as when Kidd has to explain to Johanna, who is all set to collect a white man's scalp, that this 'is considered very impolite' and simply isn't done)," the New York Times review of the novel reads. "That's a lot to pack into a short (213 pages), vigorous volume, but Ms. Jiles is capable of saying a lot in few words."