Tom Hanks serves as executive-producer and appears briefly in the upcoming independent film, Ithaca. The film is the directorial debut of Meg Ryan. The story is based on the late William Saroyan’s 1943 novel, The Human Comedy.
The story has been around in a number of formats under its original name, including a feature film, a TV movie and a musical. Ithaca is the second film adaptation.
Ithaca is a coming-of-age tale about Homer Macauley, a fourteen year old bicycle messenger whose big brother is off at war. Homer has to look after his widowed mother, sister and youngest brother while yearning to be the fastest two-wheeled messenger in the world.
The messages he delivers to the local people run the gamut of love, hope and horrible news from the war front. Tom Hanks plays Mr. Macauley, the deceased family patriarch (presumably seen via flashback). Meg Ryan is Ms. Macauley, the wife and mother. Both parts are small. The starring role is that of Homer, played by relative newcomer, Alex Neustaedter.
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have headlined three major romantic comedy films: Joe Versus the Volcano (1990), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), and You’ve Got Mail (1998).
Though rather different in genre and scope, Ithaca marks their fourth feature-film collaboration. Ithaca was filmed for a somewhat paltry five million dollars and is a joint production venture involving several independent companies.
It is slated for release on December 31, 2015.
Tom Hanks is currently filming the mystery thriller, Inferno, which is slated for release in October, 2016. Meg Ryan’s work in Ithaca marks her first film appearance in more than eight years.