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Zemeckis Considering Major Matt Mason

He may reunite with Tom Hanks

It would seem that Robert Zemeckis is definitely looking to plunge back into the world of live-action filmmaking. Because not only is he now sitting in the cockpit for plane thriller Flight while time-jumping drama Replay bubbles away in development, he’s now in talks with Tom Hanks’ Playtone company to direct the actor in toy-based pic Major Matt Mason.

Getting a movie made about the astronaut plaything has been something of a passion project for Hanks, who has strong childhood memories of acting out the adventures of Moon-based hero Mason with his own toys.

The Mason line launched in 1966, at the height of the space race and just three short years before man made it to the Moon itself. While the success of the toy was short-lived (it was discontinued in the mid 1970s), it clearly struck a chord with the likes of Hanks. He’s co-written a screenplay with Justified show-runner Graham Yost and wants Zemeckis – who worked with him on Cast Away, Forrest Gump and The Polar Express – to direct the movie in 3D.

While we’re naturally suspicious of more toy adaptations, Hanks does seem to work well when playing an astronaut (Apollo 13) or a toy (the Toy Story franchise).

But that’s not all the actor/director/producer is cooking up. The Hollywood Reporter’s story on Mason also contains the thrilling news that Playtone’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is officially in development at HBO, and has been slated for six seasons of around 10-12 episodes, with a budget of around $35 million a season. It’s incredible to see even the brave cable channel taking such a chance with this before anyone has seen a finished script, but with legendary cinematographer Bob Richardson and Gaiman himself aboard as executive producers/writers, there’s good reason to be excited.

Plus the sprawling story, which follows various deities from Greek, Nordic and Judeo-Christian mythology figuring out a world where fewer people believe in them, will be getting the full-on effects treatment. “There are some crazy things in there. We’ll probably be doing more effects in there than it’s been done on a television series,” says co-executive producer (and Playtone partner) Gary Goetzman.

Oh, and there’s also the film adaptation of Green Day’s American Idiot musical, which will apparently feature lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong in the lead role he played on Broadway...