The project is adapted from William Saroyan's 1943 novel The Human Comedy, which centers on a 14-year-old telegraph bicycle messenger named Homer Macauley. Homer is left to take care of his widowed mother, his older sister and four-year-old brother Ulysses after his older brother is sent off to fight in World War II. The plot shows how the war affects this family in California's San Joaquin Valley through the messages Homer delivers, including one that will change his life forever.
Tom Hanks will play Homer's father, joining a cast that already includes Sam Shepard, Jack Quaid and Melanie Griffith.
Meg Ryan is directing from an adapted screenplay by Erik Jendresen, who worked with Tom Hanks on the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. Before he signed on to cameo, Tom Hanks was already attached as an executive producer, alongside Gary Goetzman, with Janet Brenner and Laura Ivey set to produce. Production will begin next month in Virginia.
Tom Hanks, who recently wrapped A Hologram for the King, starred alongside Meg Ryan in the romantic comedies Joe Versus the Volcano, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail.