Tom Hanks is to be the principal attraction at next month’s London Film festival – with his films opening and closing the festival.
His modern piracy thriller Captain Phillips will launch the event on 9 October and feelgood movie Saving Mr Banks will bring the festival to a close on 20 October 20, organisers announced today, while the Hanks-produced Parkland, starring Zac Effron and Paul Giamatti, will also feature.
Captain Phillips is based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of US container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates and sees Hanks in the title role.
In Saving Mr Banks, Hanks plays Walt Disney, experiencing frequent bouts of exasperation when dealing with Mary Poppins writer PL Travers over the film adaptation of her classic tales.
Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass told this morning’s launch event that it was “a real honour for Tom and myself to open this year’s festival”.
“It means a lot to me as a Brit,” he added. “It’s good for me as a film maker. The London Film Festival is a major major event on the international calendar.”
Also expected to attend the festival will be Sandra Bullock, whose new film Gravity has already garnered rave reviews, and Daniel Radcliffe whose latest movie, Kill Your Darlings, in which he plays writer Allen Ginsberg, will be in competition for the Sutherland Award for first time directors.
The Festival will screen a total of 234 fiction and documentary features, including 22 world premieres, 16 international premieres and 29 European premieres.
Running from October 9 to 20 it will also include screenings of 134 live action and animated shorts at venues ranging from the Odeon West Ed to the Curzon Mayfair.
Greengrass said the event would showcase a resurgence in British cinema.
“Something very important is happening in this country,” he said at the launch at the Empire Leicester Square. “People are coming here to make film, people like Alfonso Cuaron who came here to make Gravity because he knows we have world-class technicians. British film making has never been stronger.”