Hanks, Goetzman to produce mini for HBO

HBO and Playtone have teamed to buy rights to David McCullough’s book “1776,” and will use it as the basis for a multi-part miniseries about George Washington’s charge against the British.

The mini will be exec produced by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman.

The network and producers are negotiating with screenwriter Kirk Ellis to spearhead the project. The deal comes right as HBO and Playtone prep the miniseries “John Adams,” based on McCullough’s last book. Ellis wrote nine of the 11 hours of the mini, which will go into production this fall.

Though he mined the setup and behind-the-scenes political maneuverings of the American Revolution in “John Adams,” McCullough went right back to the subject with “1776,” an excerpt of which is the current cover subject of Newsweek.

The mini will be devoted to how Washington waged the war. It will explain his strategy in leading the troops and the chess game he played with the British. He was vastly outmanned, but luck, courage and character drove Washington and his troops to vanquish the Brits.

It’s the fourth project for HBO and Playtone. They have a January bow for the series “Big Love,” which stars Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin, Harry Dean Stanton and Bruce Dern.

The network and Playtone are also prepping Steven Spielberg’s “The Pacific,” another massive historical mini about the WWII battle against Japan in the Pacific. Playtone is partnered with Spielberg on that 13-part mini.

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