After already leaving his mark on the early days of man's journey into space and World War II's Pacific theater of operations, film icon Tom Hanks is set to contribute to yet another notable event in U.S. history. The actor has agreed to narrate and host the National Geographic special "Killing Lincoln," based on the best-selling book by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard.
"It's odd to say the killing of Abraham Lincoln is an unknown story, but it may as well be," said Hanks. "The depth of the intrigue, the breadth of the conspiracy and the bare-naked exposure of human nature is so timeless, it's a wonder how that seminal tragedy in our history could ever be explained in a few sentences: 'Ford's Theater... John Wilkes Booth,' etc. The murder of Lincoln is not a passage of our history -- it was a signpost of our American character, then, now and forever."
The two-hour event, directed by "Gettysburg"'s Adrian Moat, will combine historical archives with dramatic footage. Billy Campbell ("The Killing", "The 4400") will portray President Abraham Lincoln in the dramatic scenes, while Jesse Johnson ("Redline") will play assassin John Wilkes Booth. Additional roles include Geraldine Hughes ("Gran Torino", "Rocky Balboa") as Mary Todd Lincoln and Graham Beckel ("L.A. Confidential", "Longmire") as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
Ridley Scott, whose Scott Free Productions is behind the docu-drama, added: "Only Hanks can add that unique poise, intrigue and dynamism that are his trademark to a film about one of the most significant, life-changing events in America's young history. His mastery always shines through and we can't wait for viewers to be engrossed in this story."
The television movie is scheduled to air on National Geographic Channel in early 2013.