Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks staying serious with ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’

08.23.10 8 years ago 2 Comments

Fate stepped in and delayed some inevitable questions for Sandra Bullock after her stunning and improbable awards season ride this past winter.  Bullock won her first Oscar for Best Actress for “The Blind Side,” but before she could even be tempted by offers for follow up projects was embroiled in an unfortunate tabloid-friendly break up with her now former husband Jesse James.  Now, as the fall is upon Hollywood and pictures are locking down early 2011 start dates, Bullock appears to have found her next endeavor.

First revealed by Anne Thompson, Bullock is in negotiations to join fellow Oscar winner Tom Hanks in Stephen Daldry’s adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”  Set after the tragic events of 9/11, “Close” centers on a nine-year-old boy named Oskar who has lost his father in the terrorist attack.  He soon discovers a key in a vase that belonged to his father which inspires him to search throughout Manhattan for the key’s secret.  An unconventional and not necessarily critically adored narrative, it’s unclear whether Bullock and Hanks would be playing Oskar’s parents or his grandparents whose life stories are a key part of the novel.  Uber awards season and prestige picture producer Scott Rudin (“No Country for Old Men”) is also on board.

The project is significant because it would mean Bullock won’t immediately be jumping into her romantic comedy contort zone after “Blind Side.”  It’s also the first time Hanks and Bullock, arguably two of the biggest stars of the ’90s and early 2000s have worked together (which is pretty amazing considering how similar and endearing their personalities are).  The only other project Bullock has been attached to since the Academy Awards is a new untitled romantic comedy that would re-team her with Ryan Reynolds, but her “Proposal” co-star has been increasingly busy himself lately and that flick might be years down the road.

Intriguingly, Hanks is currently in post on “Larry Crowe,” a comedy he both starred and directed.  One has to assume he’ll be wrapped by the time “Close” begins shooting.

Daldry has flirted with a number of projects, but hasn’t shot anything since 2008’s “The Reader” which provided him his third Best Director nod.  This is also the third time he will have worked with Rudin after “The Hours” and “The Reader,” although the New York based producer famously removed himself from the film’s credits for numerous conflicting issues with co-producers the Weinsteins (obviously, his relationship with Daldry hasn’t suffered because of it). The Brit auteur is also on something of a winning streak having lead both Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”) and Kate Winslett (“The Reader”) in back-to-back Best Actress Oscar wins.  Could he go 3-0 with Bullock?  We’ll know more if and when “Close” hits theaters sometime in late 2011 or 2012.

For the latest entertainment commentary and breaking news year round, follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory .

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