Tom Hanks In Talks For Ithaca

Reuniting with Meg Ryan for her directorial debut

Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Ithaca

Dust off those mid-’90s portmanteau names because Megahanks is back in business. Tom Hanks is in talks to appear in his old Nora Ephron buddy Meg Ryan’s directorial debut, Ithaca, in a small but significant role as the father of a boy whose life is dramatically changed by war.

The film, an adaptation of William Saroyan’s 1943 novel The Human Comedy, is set in California's San Joaquin Valley during the War years. Its protagonist is a telegraph bike messenger whose brother is fighting overseas and who is thus charged with looking after his widowed mum, big sis and young brother. Hanks plays the boy’s dad in a role that will presumably unfold in early, first-act appearances or in flashbacks, unless screenwriter Erik Jendresen has added a supernatural element to the story and a Zombie Hanks will be grrrrnnnffff’ing his way around small-town America. That seems unlikely.

Ryan and Hanks, who hit the heights in You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless In Seattle and also appeared in Joe Versus The Volcano, have an on-screen chemistry that chimed with audiences in the ‘90s and has hopefully defied the years.

Sam Shepard, Melanie Griffith and Ryan’s son Jack Quaid are also aboard Ithaca, with filming due to get underway in Virginia next month. Hanks, meanwhile, also has another literary adaptation, Tom Tykwer's take on Dave Eggers' A Hologram For The King, and Steven Spielberg’s so-far untitled Cold War thriller in the works.