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I'm glad to see that Tom Hanks is up for another artistic go-round with Tom Tykwer, who was, of course, one of the co-directors of "Cloud Atlas," last year's hugely ambitious movie in which Hanks played several roles that were all manifestations of one soul as it rippled across time.
I pay so little attention to box-office that I can't honestly tell you if "Cloud Atlas" was a modest hit, a total failure, or an international success story. I hope it did well enough to pay back the people who made it, at least, because I really admire that anyone was willing to pay for something that experimental. At the very least, Hanks must have enjoyed the experience, though, because now it looks like he's going to team up with Tykwer again, this time to adapt a Dave Eggers novel called "A Hologram For The King."
I haven't read the source material, but I'm certainly familiar with Eggers as a writer. This one is described as the story of "a struggling businessman who, after failing in America, heads to a rising Saudi Arabian city for a last ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter's college tuition, and do something memorable." That seems like a wide open description, and there are many different films that could be spun from that synopsis.
It's encouraging to see that the film will be independently funded, and there's no studio attached. Hanks is entering a phase of his career where not many people are able to maintain the same degree of movie star appeal, and he's got some really smart choices already in the can and waiting for release. There's "Captain Phillips," the intense-looking Paul Greengrass movie that is coming out in October, and at the end of the year, he's playing Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks," a film about the relationship between the studio boss and PL Travers, author of the "Mary Poppins" novels. He seems to still have a very canny eye for the type of material that manages to be both commercially viable and critically appealing, and this new collaboration with Tykwer could easily be more of the same for him.
At least I certainly hope so.
"Captain Phillips" hits trouble on the high seas on October 11, 2013.
"Saving Mr. Banks" jerks all the tears on December 20, 2013.