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Last April, as his name was being tossed around in the derby for choosing a director for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Stephen Daldry went far classier by choosing to direct an adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close instead. The novel about a young boy coping with his father's death on 9/11 was much more in line with Daldry's track record of Billy Elliott, The Hours and The Reader, and I also assumed he'd once again pluck a young actor out of obscurity to play the lead and make him a star, as he did for Jamie Bell and David Kross.

While the role of the lead character, a clever nine-year-old growng up in Manhattan is still up for grabs, IndieWire reports that Daldry has cast two of his leads. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock will play the boy's parents, and though the father character is dead for much of the book, apparently he'll be seen in a series of flashbacks. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button writer Eric Roth adapted the screenplays, and given Hanks's Oscar pedigree, Bullock's recent win and Daldry's three nominations, this is about the most Oscar-baity cast you could imagine without making the movie about the Holocaust.

Production is set to start in January in New York City, and as the search for the lead character is just beginning, it might be a while before we see a name finalized. Still, with Bullock and Hanks on board-- it will the first film Bullock has made since she won an Oscar, got a divorce and adopted a baby in the course of a few months-- the movie has been guaranteed a clear road through production. Oscar season 2012 may well have its first entry.

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