It is odd to think about how the announcement of any upcoming films starring Tom Hanks would end up being such relieving news to hear. Of course, practically any project that involves the beloved, two-time Academy Award-winning star of Forrest Gump, the Toy Story movies, and some very memorable Saturday Night Live hosting gigs, to name a few, is most often met with universal excitement from even the most casual moviegoers. However, the endurance of Hanks’ career is a means for celebration more than ever today, especially in light of recent events.
It was in March of 2020 when Tom Hanks revealed over social media that he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, had tested positive for Covid-19 while the actor was working on the upcoming Elvis Presley biopic in Australia. While the couple (who were both 63 years old at the time) would, thankfully, make a speedy recovery, the news incited a major wake-up call in Hollywood to the severity of the contagion. It also would have a crucial role in the decision shared by most major studios to put their biggest theatrical releases on delay (some for indefinite amounts of time) and shut down production on virtually all movie sets while filming was still in progress.
Since recovering from his diagnosis, Tom Hanks has been boldly active in continuing to share his talent with the much appreciative world, including hosting Saturday Night Live’s first remotely shot episode, promoting the World War II epic Greyhound (which he acted in and also wrote), and, more recently, the cameras began to roll again on that Elvis movie (with strict health safety regulations in tow). We are happy to report that said music biopic is just one of several films we can expect to see from the beloved actor (in front of or behind the camera, or both) in the not-too-distant future, starting with one that is actually slated to come out later this year.
News Of The World - December 25, 2020
While it may share a title with the 1977 studio album by Queen, News of the World is not, in fact, a sequel to Bohemian Rhapsody, the Academy Award-winning 2018 biopic chronicling the British rockers' career. Based on the 2016 novel by Paulette Jiles, the film tells the story of a native Texan tasked with traveling the post-Civil War Wild West to keep local townsfolk informed of international events, who accepts the offer to rescue a young girl from her kidnappers in the post-Civil War West.
The True Grit-esque historical fiction thriller (right now in post-production) reunites director Paul Greengrass, helmer of the last three of Matt Damon’s installments in the Jason Bourne movies, with his Captain Phillips star Tom Hanks (who also produces) in the role of its central hero: an aging veteran of the Confederate Army named Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd.
Finch - 2021
Also currently in post-production is a drama that has often been referred to as “that one sci-fi dog movie with Tom Hanks,” as the relationship between his elderly character, Finch (also Earth’s last living human), and his dog is focal point. However, I would at least bet that Finch (formerly called BIOS), in which Finch builds a robot he hopes can take care of his trusted canine after he passes, will be far from some post-apocalyptic update of Turner & Hooch, the 1989 buddy cop comedy that paired the actor with a French Mastiff.
Caleb Landry Jones, of Get Out and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri fame, co-stars as the mechanical pet protector named Jeff. Finch is committed to teaching Jeff how to be more human, in this futuristic drama originally scheduled for an October 2020 release before three Covid-19-related delays resulted in a release date of August 20, 2021. Now, Finch is expected to release sometime during that year's awards season since its was acuired by AppleTV+ in May 2021.
Untitled Elvis Presley Project - June 3, 2022
One production involving Tom Hanks that is decidedly more famous for its Covid-19 related problems is this much-anticipated retelling of one of the most celebrated music careers in history that earned said performer the title of Rock ’n Roll’s “king” in the eyes of many.
Former Nickelodeon star Austin Butler, best known more recently as Quentin Tarantino’s Tex Watson in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, stars in the lead role of the still untitled film, along with Hanks as his longtime manager, Dutch-born Col. Tom Parker, and Aussie actress and The Visit star Olivia DeJonge as Elvis Presley’s bride, Priscilla Presley. As previously mentioned, director Baz Luhrmann and co. eventually resumed production in Australia (with health safety as a top priority) for the biopic, which was originally slated for October 2021 before Warner Bros. moved it back a month and then nearly an entirely year for a June 2022 release.
Pinocchio (Release Date TBD)
Disney giving the live-action treatment to its animated 1940 classic about a sentient marionette aspiring to be human, even with a darker interpretation by Guillermo del Toro in the works, is of no surprise to anyone. However, to learn that Pinocchio may see Tom Hanks reunite with director Robert Zemeckis for the first time since The Polar Express (aside from Zemeckis producing Finch) is enough to raise eyebrows, I will admit.
Despite reports of its cancellation in early 2019, it looks like the remake is back in motion with the Forrest Gump director at the helm and Hanks in talks for the role of Gepetto, the technical father of the titular wooden boy with a built-in lie detector in his nose, but with no word of when filming for the production is set to begin or if there is a confirmed release date at the moment.
In The Garden Of Beasts (Release Date TBD)
It's also unconfirmed when this historical drama will be released or even if reports that Tom Hanks is attached to star in the central role will prove true. We can confirm, however, that Hanks is serving as producer for this adaptation of Erik Larson’s book In the Garden of Beasts: true story of William E. Dodd - a Chicago professor who moved his family to Berlin in 1933 after becoming the first American ambassador to Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler.
English filmmaker Joe Wright (who is certainly no stranger to period dramas as the helmer of Atonement, Anna Karenina, and Darkest Hour, to name a few) will direct this pre-World War II era film for Hanks’ Playtone Productions, who optioned the rights to adapt the original book with producing partner Gary Goetzman soon after it was first published in 2011.
A Man Called Ove (Release Date TBD)
It is more likely that Tom Hanks will play the title role of this American remake of a comedic drama that his company, Platyone Productions, gave the green light in 2017. Based on the international bestseller by Swedish author Fredrik Backman, which was adapted a 2015 film nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, A Man Called Ove is about a cranky widower who begins to see the brighter side of things after striking up a friendship with his next door neighbors.
Recent updates on when the dramedy will officially start filming are scarce, but we can, at least, make the justifiable claim that playing a curmudgeon on the road to redemption will be quite the change of pace for Hanks not long after his Academy Award-nominated performance as the king of positivity, Fred Rogers, in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
Upcoming Films Produced By Tom Hanks
In addition to the films that will see Tom Hanks on the big screen, there are other forthcoming releases on the horizon which he is not confirmed to act in, but he has put his name on in a different way. In 2018, the history buff signed on as executive producer of No Better Place to Die, the directorial debut of military veteran, actor, and war movie consultant Dale Dye, whom Hanks has previously collaborated with on the sets of Saving Private Ryan and the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, to name a few.
A release in time for D-Day’s 75th anniversary in 2019 was intended, but filming has yet to take place, much like the music biopic Beautiful, an adaptation of the Broadway hit about singer-songwriter Carole King that Hanks opted the rights for in 2015, which has also remained in development since.
So, what do you think? As a fan of one of America’s most beloved talents, are you excited see what Tom Hanks will do with these forthcoming releases on the big screen, or do the chances of these films actually making it to the big screen amid the ongoing pandemic still feel a bit low to you at this point, hindering your general anticipation? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the star and writer of Greyhound, as well as even more inside looks at what upcoming movies and TV shows you can expect from your favorite celebrities, here on CinemaBlend.