‘The Artist’ director nabs Tom Hanks and eyeing Natalie Portman for next film

Winning an Oscar sure does tend to open some doors.

French director Michel Hazanavicius, who took home one of the little gold men earlier this year for helming Best Picture winner “The Artist, is in talks to direct a new film starring Tom Hanks and, potentially, Natalie Portman – both of whom, incidentally, have also experienced the thrill of having their names announced at the big ceremony (Hanks for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump,” Portman for “Black Swan”).

The project in question is an adaptation of Erik Larson’s 2011 non-fiction book “In the Garden of Beasts,” a New York Times bestseller that charts the career of William Dodd, the American Ambassador to Germany from 1933-1937. Living in Berlin with his family during the early years of the Nazi government, Dodd initially believed reports of antisemitism to be exaggerated but gained an increasing awareness of the party’s horrific agenda as the months wore on. Meanwhile, Dodd’s adult daughter Martha engaged in a series of liaisons with several Nazi higher-ups, including Gestapo head Rudolf Diels.

His efforts to inspire action falling on deaf ears, Dodd resigned his post in December 1937 and returned to the U.S., later campaigning to raise awareness of the approaching tragedy until his death in 1940.

Hanks, who will star as Dodd, is also attached to produce through his Playtone shingle, and according to Deadline he and producing partner Gary Goetzman are actively pursuing Portman for the role of Martha, though no official talks have begun.

Hanks will next be seen in the adaptation of David Mitchell’s 2004 sci-fi novel “Cloud Atlas,” which recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival (review). Directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, it’s slated for release on October 26.

Were you a fan of “The Artist”? Does “In the Garden of Beasts” sound like a film you’d like to see? Give us your thoughts below.