Giamatti flips wig for Playtone project

Paul Giamatti will play John Adams in a seven-episode miniseries about the American Revolution that Playtone is producing for HBO Films.

Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are exec producing the project based on the David McCullough bestseller “John Adams.”

Co-exec producer Kirk Ellis scripted the mini, which begins shooting in January in Virginia.

HBO will begin airing the seven hourlong segments in March 2008.

Though Adams became the second U.S. president, Giamatti will play him when he was a Massachusetts lawyer working behind the scenes to mobilize the revolt of the colonies.

Book was partly based on letters between Adams and wife Abigail, and their relationship figures into the mini as well.

Playtone and HBO also are planning to address the battlefield side of the Revolutionary War, after acquiring McCullough’s “1776,” a book about the tactics used by George Washington to win freedom from the British monarchy. Ellis is aboard to adapt, but it is unclear whether the project will be a mini or a movie.

Playtone, which previously produced the HBO American history minis “From the Earth to the Moon” and “Band of Brothers,” is also teaming with Steven Spielberg on miniseries “The Pacific.” The 10-parter focuses on the WWII battle against Japan. Playtone also got a greenlight for a second season of its HBO series, “Big Love.”

Giamatti just opened alongside Edward Norton in “The Illusionist” and is playing Santa Claus alongside Vince Vaughn and Kevin Spacey in the David Dobkin-directed Warner Bros. comedy “Fred Claus.”

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