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When Tom Hanks chooses a project you can be almost certain it's going to be a movie worth seeing. This time we know it for certain, because Hanks' next film was already a hit once, in Sweden. It's now being reported that Tom Hanks is attached to play the lead in an English-language remake of the Oscar-nominated Swedish film A Man Called Ove.
Tom Hanks' production company Playtone will produce the new film and Deadline reports Hanks himself will play the film's protagonist. A Man Called Ove is a 2015 Swedish film which sees its main character, Ove, lose his job and his position running his neighborhood association in quick succession. With nothing else to live for, the elderly man resolves to commit suicide, but he is continually delayed in performing the act by circumstances which put him in touch with neighbors in need. While the subject matter seems to be depressing, the movie won the award for Best Comedy at the 2016 European Film Awards, so it's all handled in a somewhat light-hearted manner.
A Man Called Ove was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards earlier this year though it lost out to Iran's The Salesman for the prize.
This sounds like an absolutely perfect role for Tom Hanks. The story is a mix of drama and comedy, and Hanks can handle both with skill. While the original story may be Swedish, the story about a man who comes to a point where he feels he has nothing left to contribute in the world is the sort of story that literally anybody can understand. As a foreign language film, A Man Called Ove obviously wasn't seen by a large US audience, so a remake starring a major movie star means that the movie will be available for many more people to experience.
Tom Hanks will next be seen on screen in Steven Spielberg's The Post, about the Washington Post newspaper's publishing of the Pentagon Papers. After that, however, the only other project the actor currently has officially announced is the World War II drama Greyhound which Hanks also wrote. Whether Greyhound will go into production first, or this remake will, is unclear. Neither film even has an estimated release date.
Seeing Hollywood remakes of movies that were originally done in other countries is a fairly common practice that has seen remarkable success in the past. Martin Scorsese's The Departed was originally a Chinese film. The Magnificent Seven was famously produced (twice) as a western version of Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai.
With Tom Hanks behind the production of a film that has already been nominated for Academy Awards before, one can't help but wonder if the remake may do the same thing. We'll be keeping an eye on this one, whatever the new version ends up being called.