Remember when comedic-turned-serious actor Tom Hanks provided his voice for Woody in the two Toy Story movies? Remember when he did such a great job? Well, it seems, over a decade later, he will be gracing our screens as another toy: this time playing a live-action version of the vintage Mattel action figure, Major Matt Mason.
Anyone born in the late ’70s or beyond will probably never have heard of the Major Matt Mason action figure (excluding those avid toy collectors out there – you know who you are). The story of Major Matt Mason was that he was an astronaut who lived in a space station on the moon. The toy gained popularity during the time period leading up to the moon landing in 1969; soon after, the Matt Mason line was abandoned by Mattel in the early ’70s, although the toy is still fondly remembered and collected today.
Universal will be the studio to develop the Major Matt Mason movie (say THAT three times fast), along with Hanks and his Playtone producing partner, Gary Goetzman. It is being developed with Hanks specifically in mind to star, and will be written by Graham Yost, whose writing credits include Speed and Mission to Mars. Yost has also worked as a supervising producer and writer on the Hanks executive produced series From the Earth to the Moon, and was a writer/producer on other Hanks/Goetzman projects such as Band of Brothers, John Adams and The Pacific.
Hanks clearly isn’t messing around when it comes to the projects he pursues – not only does he pursue them as an actor, but he always seems to dive in head first with producing or developing them, or at least seems to take more interest in them than most people in the industry would.
I’ll admit I had never even heard of the Major Matt Mason action figure before today (being born a couple of decades too late doesn’t exactly help…), but it does sound like an interesting idea for a film. I mean, it’s about a toy, so clearly there isn’t all that much storyline to build off of, but that’s okay. Graham Yost has shown he’s very competent at what he does (particularly with Speed and his involvement in various other projects with Hanks and Goetzman), and I’m sure he’ll come up with something half decent (although hopefully he aims for a higher level than that).
And just on a related note, this isn’t the only movie currently being developed from a toy line – He-Man, Hot Wheels, Monopoly (being directed by Ridley Scott), Stretch Armstrong (being written by Steve Oedekerk), Candyland and Ouija are all in the works.
So is there any fans of the original Major Matt Mason action figure out there? What do you think of Hanks playing him?