Tom Hanks And Oprah Winfrey Team Up For ‘Hamlet’ Redo ‘Edgar Sawtelle’

Dog-lovers and Shakespeare fans have a new movie to look forward to, together. Oscar-nominated screenwriter William Broyles Jr. has been hired by Universal Pictures to pen an adaptation of “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” Variety reports. David Wroblewski’s debut novel, based on “Hamlet” and including some elements of “Call of the Wild,” was a selection of the Oprah Book Club back in 2008. It will now be brought to the big screen by Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks, who will co-produce through their respective companies.

“Edgar Sawtelle” is about a mute boy who runs away from home after the murder of his dog-breeding father and other subsequent misfortunes. He travels through the wilderness of Wisconsin and Canada followed by three pups from a litter he’d been raising himself until he decides to return home and face the man he suspects is the killer.

Even if you know how it ends, whether from reading the book or from the Shakespearean influence, this should be an exciting movie. It’s got ghosts and tornadoes and cute dogs. What more could American moviegoers ask for? And given that it’s about a mute, “Edgar Sawtelle” will hopefully feature some strong visual storytelling.

Broyles has worked with Hanks a few times before, having scripted “Apollo 13,” “The Polar Express” and “Cast Away.” The last of these seems closest to “Edgar Sawtelle.” Think of the boy as Tom Hanks’ role and the three dogs as substitutes for the volleyball, “Wilson.” Meanwhile, the last movie Oprah put her name on was “Precious,” which received six Oscar nominations just today.

Now, depending on when this film is released, we could be looking at multiple “Hamlet” updates in theaters at the same time. “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke has a “scary-cool” university-set adaptation starring Emile Hirsch (who did his own wilderness exploration in “Into the Wild”) in the works too. Both movies are currently set for 2011 release.

What interests you more about “Edgar Sawtelle”? It’s the dogs, right? Or the Shakespearean plot? Oprah’s involvement? Those who’ve read the book, who would be good to cast as Edgar?