Tom Hanks is in negotiations with DreamWorks to topline and produce the studio’s project “Comrade Rockstar,” based on the life of the late rocker Dean Reed.
Born in Denver in 1938, Reed moved to Hollywood at a young age and landed a recording contract with Capitol Records by the time he was 20. However, he never rose to the kind of fame in the United States that he found in other countries, prompting him to move to South America, where he became known as “the Red Elvis.”
After several albums, movies and television appearances, Reed moved on to Rome and in 1966 toured the Soviet Union, where he became a megastar. But he remained relatively obscure in his homeland. Along with his music and acting career, Reed – who starred in more than 20 films and TV shows – was heavily involved in leftist politics and became an active protester of the Vietnam War, which continually got him into trouble with the U.S. State Department.
His body was found in an East Berlin lake in 1986; it’s not known whether his death was suicide or homicide.
The DreamWorks project is understood to be based on a documentary on Reed’s life that aired on the BBC. The project has no writer or director. Hanks will produce with Gary Goetzman through the duo’s Universal Pictures-based Playtone Prods. along with DreamWorks co-heads Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald.
DreamWorks executive Paul Lister is overseeing for the studio.
Hanks also recently signed on to star in and develop DreamWorks’ dramatic feature “Terminal” (HR 12/11). He next stars onscreen in DreamWorks’ “The Road to Perdition” for director Sam Mendes. Hanks is repped by CAA.