Tom Hanks is joining the Nat Geo TV movie "Killing Lincoln," based on Bill O'Reilly's book.
The Academy Award winner will serve as the on-camera host, historical commentator and narrator for the film, from executive producers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions.
Interestingly, Hanks apologized to O'Reilly in March after the Daily Caller website posted video of a 2004 school fundraiser in which Hanks made O’Reilly the butt of a joke during a skit that included a man in blackface and an Afro wig.
“I used Bill O’Reilly as the punchline of an uncomfortable joke that was hardly funny and [was] unfair,” Hanks told the conservative news site.
Hanks actor joins director Adrian Moat ("Gettysburg"), Emmy Award-winning writer/executive producer Erik Jendresen (who worked with Hanks on "Band of Brothers,") and producer Mark Herzog's Herzog & Co. ("Gettysburg.) The film is based on O’Reilly’s "Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever," written with co-author Martin Dugard.
The historical thriller combines CGI and rare historical archive material. Billy Campbell plays Abraham Lincoln, Jesse Johnson plays John Wilkes Booth, and Geraldine Hughes plays Mary Todd Lincoln.
“It's odd to say the killing of Abraham Lincoln is an unknown story, but it may as well be,” Hanks said. “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.”
The film is set to air globally on NatGeo Channel in early 2013, in 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages.