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Helena Zengel to Star Opposite Tom Hanks in ‘News of the World’

Newcomer Helena Zengel has been tapped to star opposite Tom Hanks in Paul Greengrass’ upcoming “News of the World,” sources tell Variety.

News of the World” is based on the best-selling 2016 novel by Paulette Jiles, which is set in the days following the Civil War. It charts the unlikely friendship between Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks), an early precursor to today’s newscasters, and the 10-year-old girl (Zengel) he is tasked with bringing to her relatives.

The historical drama was originally set up at Fox 2000, but following the recent Disney-Fox merger, the film was let go. Universal quickly acquired the rights and fast-tracked the film into pre-production.

Luke Davies penned the first draft of the script, with Greengrass writing a more recent version. Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce the film through Playtone with Gregory Goodman and Gail Mutrux through her Pretty Pictures. Production is expected to start later this year.

Zengel most recently starred in “System Crasher,” Nora Fingscheidt’s film that will represent Germany as the official submission for the 92nd Oscars’ best international feature film category. She has also appeared in “Dark Blue Girl.”

Greengrass has directed multiple movies for Universal including “Green Zone,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Jason Bourne,” and “United 93,” for which he received an best director Oscar nomination. He most recently worked with Hanks on 2013’s “Captain Phillips.”

Zengel is repped by Bahl for Actors.

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