U enlists top soldier

Hanks to star in scandal pic after 'Da Vinci'

Tom Hanks will star for Universal in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” an Aaron Sorkin-scripted drama about a rogue Texas congressman.

Pic, to be produced by Hanks and Gary Goetzman under their U-based Playtone banner, will be the next film Hanks makes after he completes “The Da Vinci Code” for director Ron Howard and Sony. Universal has set a tentative spring start date for “War”; a director has not yet been chosen.

Hanks will play a congressman whose penchant for booze and women earned him the nickname Good Time Charlie. He watched his political career almost go down the drain in the early 1980s when he was caught in a hot tub tryst with two cocaine-sniffing showgirls in Las Vegas.

He survived the scandal and ended up overseeing the largest and most successful covert CIA operation in history; his efforts to fund resistance fighters in Afghanistan hastened the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Wilson is now a D.C. lobbyist.

Hanks and Goetzman optioned the book by “60 Minutes” producer George Crile in 2003 and set Sorkin to write right after he completed his run on NBC drama “The West Wing.” U production prexy Donna Langley and veep Damien Saccani will oversee the film.

Project comes at a busy time for Playtone. The producer has a Sept. 23 release date for the Imax moon landing pic “Magnificent Desolation,” a mid-September production start for the 10-part HBO miniseries based on the David McCullough book “John Adams” and an Aug. 4, 2006, release date for Warner’s CGI pic “The Ant Bully.”

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