The studios have also set Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book “The BFG” for July 1, 2016.
Joel and Ethan Coen came on board last month to write the script for the Cold War project, which Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger will produce with Spielberg. The Coen Brothers, who won screenwriting Oscars for “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men,” are revising Matt Charman’s script.
The untitled project is based on the true story of James Donovan, who Hanks will portray. Donovan was the American attorney enlisted by the CIA during the Cold War to surreptitiously negotiate the 1962 release of Francis Gary Powers, the U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down over Russia two years earlier.
Variety reported that Hanks had come on board the project in mid-April. It’s the first directing gig for Spielberg since “Lincoln,” which was filmed in late 2011.
Spielberg is also considering directing the DreamWorks-Fox co-production “Robopocalypse” and the historical drama “Montezuma,” which Steve Zaillian is writing. But the dating announcement means he’ll direct “The BFG” following the Cold War project.
Hanks and Spielberg have worked together on three previous films: “Saving Private Ryan,” “Catch Me if You Can” and “The Terminal.”
The Cold War thriller is the second title to land on Oct. 16, 2015. Universal has already scheduled Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” for that slot.
As for “The BFG,” Spielberg officially committed in late April to direct the story of a little girl who leads a big, friendly giant and the Queen of England on a journey to stop the fiercer, man-eating giants from gobbling children. DreamWorks acquired rights in 2010, and Melissa Mathison, who last teamed with Spielberg on “E.T.,” will pen the script.
Frank Marshall will produce, with Michael Siegel and John Madden exec producing. Madden was originally set to direct “The BFG” but opted to direct the sequel to “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,”now in post.
“The BFG” is the fourth title to be dated for July 1, 2016 following Fox’s “Independence Day 2,” Sony’s “Angry Birds” and Warner Bros.’ “Tarzan.”