Even as America’s indelibly favorite white, Tom Hanks, starts to push his return to directing, Larry Crowne out into the world he’s already keeping an eye out on the future. The actor/producer/former AMPAS Vice-President is looking to get into the children’s toy adaptation business with Universal Studios, but he’s digging a little deeper than a Hasbro board game or a piece of 80s Saturday morning cartoon nostalgia. Instead, he’s looking to take the boomers back to their childhood as he brings Major Matt Mason to the screen.
If you’re a youngin’ like me and are already opening up a new tab to bang out a wiki search, just know that Major Matt was a popular astronaut action figure that began as a straightforward science toy line, and eventually morphed into something more based in science fiction. It was a fairly progressive toy line, featuring a black astronaut long before that particular landmark occurred in reality, and the property’s giant, perpetually-laser-handed villain, Captain Lazer sounds like a classic menace. This could potentially be a 3D live-action directing gig for Robert Zemeckis, and he’s apparently negotiating with Hank’s Playtone to take on the project. Hanks wrote the script with Graham Yost, who apart from writing Speed and Broken Arrow, has written a number of space related scripts like From The Earth to the Moon, and… well, Mission To Mars. He’s also written on The Pacific and Justified though!
This is something Hanks has talked about before, and he’s had no lack of opportunities to discuss his love for the toys, considering he’s the main voice of a nearly two billion dollars franchise that revolves around them. Now this toy-based project has serious movement behind it, and Hanks and co. are aiming for a tentpole sci-fi production with a +$100m budget.
Will Hanks and toy nostalgia be enough to drag the boomers out to the theater for a night in 3D? It seems like a possibility, and I have to cross my fingers that the film contributes what it can to resparking the American fascination with space travel. MMM definitely harkens back to a time when every little kid in the country hoped to rocket to the moon one day, and when it would have been inconceivable to think we wouldn’t have bases on the moon and even mars by 2011! Despite scientists discovering or witnessing some new amazing cosmic wonder on a nearly daily basis, we need reminding that our fate and best hope lies out in the stars.
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