Thesp may take lead

Tom Hanks wasted no time in snaring rights to a crime story that took a Manhattan D.A. chief investigator three decades to solve.

Outbidding two other studios, Hanks’ production shingle at Universal, the Playtone Co., inked a six-figure advance against close to $1 million for “A Cold Case,” an article in the Feb. 14 New Yorker by staff writer Philip Gourevitch. The issue hit newsstands Monday.

The true story of a detective’s quest to solve the 1970 murder of a Manhattan restaurateur, it’s the first article that Gourevitch, author of the award-winning “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories From Rwanda,” has sold to Hollywood.

Playtone confirmed that Hanks is interested in the lead.

Deal was brokered by Brillstein-Grey Management’s Michael Siegel and Kassie Evashevski on behalf of the Andrew Wylie Agency and Universal VP of business affairs James Horowitz.

Hanks and partner Gary Goetzman set up Playtone at Universal in late 1997 in a three-year first-look deal.

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