This article was updated on July 9, 2004.
COLOGNE — Tom Hanks and DreamWorks have picked up the rights to the life story of Dean Reed, an American singer, actor and filmmaker whose 15-year career in East Germany was halted by his mysterious death in 1986.
Hanks, who has been interested in the project since 2001, will star as Reed. Biopic is a Playtone production being produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman with DreamWorks’ Walter Parkes. Writer is Sacha Gervasi.
Hanks went to Berlin last year to meet Reed’s widow, Renate Blume, as well as East Germany’s last head of state before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Egon Krenz. Blume and her son gave their permission for the pic last week.
Reed, who developed a following in South America in the 1960s and was deported from Argentina for his political views, went to communist East Germany in 1971 at the invitation of a documentary film fest in Leipzig, where he met his first German wife, and decided to stay.
He starred in major productions by Eastern Germany’s DEFA alongside Armin Mueller-Stahl; Rolf Hoppe; and Blume, whom he married in 1981.
Reed toured constantly through Eastern bloc countries, but in 1986, he was found dead in a lake outside Berlin, and the circumstances of his death were never clarified.