Tom Hanks to Host National Geographic Docu-Drama KILLING LINCOLN
National Geographic Channel President Howard T. Owens announced today that actor, producer, writer and director Tom Hanks is joining the two-hour television event KILLING LINCOLN from executive producers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott's Scott Free Productions.
Hanks, a two-time Oscar(R) winner known for his roles in Saving Private Ryan, Forest Gump, Apollo 13, The Green Mile, and The Da Vinci Code, among many others, will serve as the on-camera host, historical commentator and narrator.
Hanks joins director Adrian Moat (Gettysburg), Emmy Award-winning writer/Executive Producer Erik Jendresen (Band of Brothers) and producer Mark Herzog's Herzog & Co. (Gettysburg) on the film, which is based on Bill O'Reilly's New York Times best-selling book Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever written with co-author Martin Dugard.
Production on the historical thriller combines the stunning drama with CGI, in the signature style of the Scott brothers, with rare historical archives. Actor Billy Campbell plays Abraham Lincoln, actor Jesse Johnson plays John Wilkes Booth in the film which also stars Geraldine Hughes as Mary Todd Lincoln. Graham Beckel appears as Edwin Stanton (who served as secretary of war under the Lincoln administration) and Shawn Pyfrom portrays Private John W. Nichols.
"It's odd to say the killing of Abraham Lincoln is an unknown story, but it may as well be," said Hanks. "The depth of the intrigue, the breadth of the conspiracy and the bare-naked exposure of human nature is so timeless, it's a wonder how that seminal tragedy in our history could ever be explained in a few sentences: 'Ford's Theater... John Wilkes Booth,' etc. The murder of Lincoln is not a passage of our history - it was a signpost of our American character, then, now and forever."
"Having someone like Tom who is so passionate about history and such an incredible storyteller join National Geographic Channel on this project will add even more energy and gravitas to this epic historical moment being retold for contemporary audiences," said Owens. "
"Only Hanks can add that unique poise, intrigue and dynamism that are his trademark to a film about one of the most significant, life-changing events in America's young history," added Ridley Scott. "His mastery always shines through and we can't wait for viewers to be engrossed in this story."
The film is set to air globally on NGC in early 2013 in 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages.
Killing Lincoln is being produced by Scott Free Productions and Herzog & Co. for National Geographic Channel. Executive producers are Ridley Scott and Tony Scott, along with Bill O'Reilly, David Zucker, Mary Lisio, Mark Herzog, Erik Jendresen (also credited as writer) and Teri Weinberg. Producer for the project is Christopher Cowen of Herzog & Co., the director is Adrian Moat, who also produces. For NGC, president is Howard T. Owens, executive producer is Richard Wells, vice president of production and development is Charlie Parsons and executive vice president of programming is Michael Cascio.
About National Geographic Channels:
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support their mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels are carried by all of of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 84 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.
About the book Killing Lincoln:
Killing Lincoln is the first work of history from best-selling author and television news anchor Bill O'Reilly. The narrative recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history - how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased. In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington, D.C., John Wilkes Booth - charismatic ladies' man and impenitent racist - murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country's most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shoot-out and a series of court-ordered executions - including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt.