'Lick' sticks for Levinson at Playtone


Barry Levinson has signed on to direct Larry McMurtry's Western "Boone's Lick" for Playtone.

Tom Hanks and Julianne Moore are attached to star in the long-gestating project, which centers on a headstrong woman (Moore) who drags her family on a rickety wagon from Boone's Lick, Mo., to the Wyoming fort where her husband lives. Her brother-in-law (Hanks) escorts her on the dangerous journey and along the way falls in love with her.

Diana Ossana, who won an adapted screenplay Oscar with McMurtry last year for "Brokeback Mountain," penned the "Boone's Lick" script with the author-screenwriter and frequent collaborator.

Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing the film, which is aiming to start shooting in early fall.

Helmer Lasse Hallstrom originally was attached to bring the novel, which was published by Simon & Schuster in 2000, to the big screen.

Levinson, who most recently helmed "Man of the Year" for Universal Pictures, is in preproduction on 2929 Entertainment's "What Just Happened," starring Robert De Niro. He is repped by ICM.