Tom Hanks Plays a Civil War Veteran in News of the World

People who like stories set in Texas should see the drama News of the World from the Oscar-nominated director Paul Greengrass. The film was released on Dec 25 at local theaters and stars two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks. He plays Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who is a Confederate veteran and takes responsibility for a 10-year-old orphan girl that he finds during his travels across the Texas plains in 1870.

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) and Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) in News of the WorldPaul Greengrass’ News of the World

Kidd, who is the former owner of the newspaper printing press in San Antonio, works as a newsreader. Leaving his wife in Alamo City to fight in during the war, he rides from town to town with his newspapers from different regions and charges people a dime to hear him read what is going on across the country that is developing quickly.

News of the World was adapted by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Luke Davies and Greengrass. Spoiler alert: In the novel and film, the family of the young girl Kidd finds has been killed by a Native American tribe. When she learns that she has an uncle and aunt living in Castroville, he reluctantly volunteers to escort her 400 miles back to safety.

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News of the World
After the journey through run-ins with evil kidnappers and rough terrain, sandstorms, and outlaws, Kidd makes good on his promise, traveling to what looks to be a town square in San Antonio. There is a sign on one building that says “The Buckhorn.” However, according to Buckhorn Museum downtown, the saloon didn’t open until 1881. That would be 11 years after the events in the movie took place.

Perhaps Davies and Greengrass made a sneaky Buckhorn reference as an homage to the saloon that has a long history in San Antonio, or maybe, it was just a specific decision that was made by the production design team.

Maybe as a history buff, Tom Hanks will find News of the World interesting enough to produce a TV miniseries soon and dig deeper into the past of San Antonio. This is exactly what happened when he finished shooting Saving Private Ryan back in 1998.