Hanks dives into ‘Pool’

Thesp to play lead in father-son tale

Castle Rock and Warner Bros. will turn the Richard Russo novel “The Risk Pool” into a star vehicle for Tom Hanks, with Lawrence Kasdan writing the script and directing.

Playtone partners Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce with Kasdan, and Scott Steindorff and Joel Gotler will exec produce through their Stone Village Pictures.

Set in the same upstate New York location that is the usual haunt in Russo’s books, “The Risk Pool” tells the story of a man who is suddenly charged with raising his son, after his estranged wife has a nervous breakdown. Hanks will play a charming petty thief and gambler, whose unreliability puts him on the lowest rung of the insurance risk pool. While Castle Rock prexy Martin Shafer has worked for the past few months to make deals, Kasdan has nearly finished with a first draft of the script.

“(The) father is a charming but unreliable screw-up who introduces this sheltered boy to this wonderful and slightly dark world of pool halls and bars,” Kasdan said. “The relationship between them is funny and moving, and I don’t recall being so immediately struck by a book since ‘The Accidental Tourist.’ I took it to Tom because I thought he would be so perfect in the role.”

Charles Okun of Kasdan Pictures will also be involved in a producing capacity.

Russo, whose best-known screen adaptation so far is the Paul Newman starrer “Nobody’s Fool,” adapted his book “Empire Falls” for an HBO miniseries.

The deal marks the third film for Hanks and Castle Rock. He starred in “The Green Mile,” and he and Goetzman produced WB’s “Polar Express,” the live action-animated film that stars Hanks and reteams him with “Forrest Gump” and “Cast Away” helmer Robert Zemeckis. The pic is being readied for a November release.

Kasdan’s last film, “Dreamcatcher,” was also made for Castle Rock.

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