I am not making this up. If I were, I might have chosen different actors!
Multiple Academy Award winner Tom Hanks has signed on to play the lead role of the colorful Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, who was pivotal in creating and sustaining US support for Pakistan during the Afghanistan war.
Julia Roberts, also an Academy Award winner — is slated to play the role of Joanne Herring, a right-wing Houston socialite who was a close friend and confidant Gen. Zia-ul-Haq and the then Honorary Consul General of Pakistan in Houston.
Aaron Sorkin, the Emmy-winning writer for the hit NBC series “The West Wing” has put together the script, and Hanks himself and Gary Goetzman are the producers.
The book is an absolutely brilliant and riveting account, described on its cover as “the extraordinary story of the largest covert operation in history” and Dan Rather was exactly right in saying that “Tom Clancy’s fiction pales in comparison with the amazing, mesmerizing story told by George Crile.”
According to an earlier story in Variety:
Tom Hanks will star for Universal in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” an Aaron Sorkin-scripted drama about a rogue Texas congressman…. Hanks will play a congressman whose penchant for booze and women earned him the nickname Good Time Charlie. He watched his political career almost go down the drain in the early 1980s when he was caught in a hot tub tryst with two cocaine-sniffing showgirls in Las Vegas. He survived the scandal and ended up overseeing the largest and most successful covert CIA operation in history; his efforts to fund resistance fighters in Afghanistan hastened the fall of the Iron Curtain. Wilson is now a D.C. lobbyist… Hanks and Goetzman optioned the book by “60 Minutes” producer George Crile in 2003 and set Sorkin to write right after he completed his run on NBC drama “The West Wing.”
Universal Studios has tentatively set September 15, 2006, as the production start date, and expects to release it in 2007.
I, for one, will wait anxiously for the release of the movie and hope that it does justice to the book. But what I am really dying to find out is who will play the roles of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq and Gen. Akhtar Abdul Rahman; both of whom are, of course, key characters in the story.