Tom Hanks plays heroic everyman in his first Western 'News of the World'

Tom Hanks plays a heroic every man in "News of the World." It's the first Western in his long career.
LOS ANGELES -- Tom Hanks heads back to the post-Civil War era for his new Western, "News of the World."

He plays a veteran who is now a storyteller - a man who travels from town to town reading interesting and entertaining information to his audiences.

Hanks says when they started out they were making an interesting comment on the media and the internet, involving the value of information. Even though the film is set more than 150 years ago, many of the situations seem very current.

"The power of truth versus alternative opinion, that oddly enough, that's been brought about, I think, because everything that's gone on since we actually made this film," said Hanks. "There's an awful lot of people out there who are only going to believe what they choose to believe. And that's a slippery slope. You can say, you know, weather forecasts are a hoax that are meant to scare us until that blizzard comes and shuts down power and then guess what? You might be more inclined to believe what you heard."

The central part of this story involves Hanks' character crossing paths with a girl who has no place to call home. He decides to take her to be with the only family she has - but their journey will be difficult and dangerous. It meant Hanks being involved in some precarious situations.

"When you're shooting outdoors and you really are, guess what, they'll say, 'How did you shoot that scene where you're up climbing along all those slippery rocks?' I said, 'Well, oddly enough, they found a mountain with a bunch of slippery rocks and they told us to go up and climb them.' And that's exactly what they did," Hanks says.

"News of the World" goes into theaters on Christmas Day and then on digital and on demand on Jan. 15.
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