Hanks to star, produce with partner Goetzman

Universal-based Playtone has set up the Elinor Lipman novel “The Ladies’ Man” at the studio for Robert Benton to adapt and direct with Tom Hanks in the title role. Playtone partners Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce.

Hanks will play Nash Harvey, a serial womanizer and commercial jingle writer who returns to Boston to make amends with a woman he stood up at the altar.

Lipman is the bestselling author of “The Inn at Lake Devine” and “Isabel’s Bed.”

Benton, who last directed “The Human Stain,” said Hanks had the innate affability necessary to make you believe he could be forgiven.

“The central character is extraordinary and unlike any I’ve met in a long time,” Benton said. “He comes back to say he is sorry and is forced to look at the trail of wreckage he’s left through his whole life. But he is an immensely lovable and I couldn’t imagine anyone who could play that role like Tom. I’ve wanted to work with him for a long time and this was the first time we found something we felt was a perfect fit.”

Benton said he will start adapting the book immediately in hopes of making it his next directing assignment. U’s Damien Saccani and Mary Parent will supervise the project and Harry Gittes will be exec producer. CAA packaged the deal.

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