Hanks, Paxton set to produce 'History'
HBO is near a deal with Playtone that will turn Vincent Bugliosi’s 1,632-page book “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy” into a miniseries.
Ten-parter will debunk long-held conspiracy theories and establish that assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
HBO is wrapping up a deal to finance and air the mini, which will depict Oswald’s journey to becoming an assassin and his subsequent murder on live TV by Jack Ruby.
Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will exec produce along with their “Big Love” star Bill Paxton.
The network will make a companion documentary special, with Bugliosi addressing myriad conspiracy theories, including those involving the Mafia, the KGB or Fidel Castro in JFK’s assassination.
Project was hatched after Hanks, Paxton and Goetzman had a conversation about the shooting. They decided to look at Bugliosi’s book, published last month by W.W. Norton, as the basis for a possible project.
“I totally believed there was a conspiracy, but after you read the book, you are almost embarrassed that you ever believed it,” Goetzman said. “To think that guys who grew up in the ’60s would make a miniseries supporting the idea that Oswald acted alone is something I certainly wouldn’t have predicted. But time and evidence can change the way we view things.”
Bugliosi, who prosecuted Charles Manson and wrote the book “Helter Skelter,” was moved to write “Reclaiming History” after prosecuting a mock trial of Oswald for a British TV special. He walked away feeling the Warren Commission got it right and then spent the next two decades gathering evidence to prove it.
“Many more people will see the miniseries than will read the book,” Bugliosi told Daily Variety. “With the integrity that Tom, Gary and Bill bring, I think that we will finally be able to make a substantial dent in the 75% of people in this country who still believe the conspiracy theorists.”
Project comes along as Playtone nears a wrap on the seven-part HBO miniseries “John Adams” and preps for an Aug. 27 production start in Melbourne on “The Pacific,” the 10-part WWII mini for HBO that Hanks and Goetzman are exec producing with Steven Spielberg. The Playtone-produced series “Big Love” begins its second season on HBO this Monday.
Playtone is in the early stages of developing as a series the Jeffrey Eugenides’ “Middlesex,” the novel about a 41-year-old hermaphrodite that just became the latest choice of the Oprah Book Club.
Bugliosi’s deal was made by PMA Literary’s Peter Miller.