Tom Hanks may play a gay cop solving his lover's murder. He'd reunite with director Ron Howard for ''Downtown,'' from a script by ''American Beauty'' and ''Six Feet Under'' writer Alan Ball
Tom Hanks
Credit: Tom Hanks: Robert Millard/ZUMA Press/Newscom


At this point in his career, Tom Hanks could probably play anything from Abraham Lincoln to a loaf of bread, and moviegoers would still line up to see him. So successful is his formula that he’s about ready to play what could be his biggest stretch in a long time: a gay cop in 1960s Cleveland who must solve his lover’s murder. Variety reports that he’s putting that film, ”Downtown,” on the fast track, hiring screenwriter Scott Frank (”Minority Report”) to polish the script and reteaming with Ron Howard to direct.

Hanks is producing the film, which was originally scripted by Alan Ball (”American Beauty,” ”Six Feet Under”). ”Downtown” sounds like a mix of several past Hanks successes: a proven director (Howard shot Hanks’ ”Splash” and ”Apollo 13”); a gay character in a homophobic environment (”Philadelphia”), and a period crime drama (”Road to Perdition”). Of course, Hanks plays a lawman in another ’60s crime tale in December’s ”Catch Me If You Can.” Next year, he’s starring as a crook in the Coen Brothers’ remake of the British classic crime comedy ”The Ladykillers,” as well as the more kid-friendly Christmas movie ”Polar Express.” Not sure when that schedule will leave him time to head ”Downtown.”

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