Tom Hanks prepares to write, direct 'Larry Thorne' with Julia Roberts to co-star

First time as a filmmaker since 1996... will the wait be worth it?

<p>Hey, look, it's Tom Hanks doing that thing he did on 'That Thing You Do' which he'll do again now on a new film called 'Larry&nbsp;Crowne'</p>

Hey, look, it's Tom Hanks doing that thing he did on 'That Thing You Do' which he'll do again now on a new film called 'Larry Crowne'

Credit: Fox Home Entertainment

Oh, this makes me happy.

When Tom Hanks wrote and directed "That Thing You Do!" in 1996, the film came out and vanished pretty quickly, and it seemed to me at the time that the perception of the film was that it was a failure.  That blew my mind, because I thought the film was well-observed, smartly-directed, and filled with a genuine joy.  It absolutely seemed to be an extension of the public persona of Tom Hanks, and if I'd been writing for a website at the time, I would have named it to my year-end lists and advocated for it tirelessly.

It's been 14 years since it came out, and it looks like Hanks is finally ready to give writing and directing another chance.

Proving twice in one day that Nikki Finke was wise to hire him for Deadline, Michael Fleming broke the story that Hanks is writing, directing, and starring in "Larry Thorne," a film that Fleming describes thusly:

"I’m told that Hanks will play the title character, a man forced to reinvent himself and find a new career as he navigates the second act of his life."

Sounds like a film that is very much of the moment, and I trust Hanks to do something special with it.  He's such a smart guy, and there such a huge wellspring of decency in his work and in his personality that I am curious to see what that synopsis really means.  Julia Roberts is now onboard as well to play the female lead in the film, and based on their chemistry in "Charlie Wilson's War," I'm curious.

Hanks has always made unusual choices, and it's been hard to predict his career from year to year.  That's one of the things I've always liked about him.  I'm sure he could move from blockbuster to blockbuster if he wanted to, and occasionally he makes something like the Robert Langdon films, but for the most part, I think he genuinely follows his muse, and that is something that impresses me.

As news of this one comes in, look for us to cover it closely here at HitFix.

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