When you watch the latest trailer for “News of the World,” does it give off those “Star Wars” vibes to you? Probably not. But according to the film’s star, Tom Hanks, his upcoming Western is pretty much just “‘The Mandalorian’ without lightsabers.” And yes, that’s a direct quote. Though it does require quite a bit of context.
Speaking to CinemaBlend, Hanks was tasked with describing his upcoming Western, “News of the World,” directed by Paul Greengrass. And as the actor described the film, he went on about how the industry doesn’t make any prototypical Westerns anymore, not like they did decades ago, at least. Now, when a studio makes a Western, it’s more of a Western-version of something else, like what George Lucas did with “Star Wars.”
“Nobody makes westerns; it’s as simple as that,” Hanks explained. “I mean, if you want to look at the business, I know of westerns that have been made that had absolutely no international distribution deals because it just felt their audiences don’t relate to westerns.”
He added, “The idea of a western, the genre of the western, kind of like the storytelling device, if you took John Ford, well, now John Ford has been Lucas-ized, George Lucas. The science-fiction movie has really taken the concept of the western away. Blasters and lightsabers instead of bows and arrows and six guns. Snow speeders, as opposed to horses. That’s not a bad thing. That’s just the way cinema works.”
So yes, he does describe the movie as “‘The Mandalorian’ without lightsabers,” but what he really means is how “News of the World” is a Western but not in the typical sense of the word. It’s a film about a guy tasked with delivering a child to their proper home. And yes, like “The Mandalorian,” ‘News’ is littered with Western tropes (probably more so, given the period setting of Hanks’ film). So, in that sense, “The Mandalorian” and the Paul Greengrass film are…cousins, sort of. Granted, the family tree that is required to make that sort of familial connection would be very, very jagged with wild numbers of branches.
“News of the World” arrives in cinemas on December 25 in the US and on Netflix around the world.