Tom Hanks will play a gutsy New York City newspaper columnist when he makes his debut on Broadway next year.
Producers of Nora Ephron's play Lucky Guy announced on Thursday that Hanks will play Mike McAlary in the stage biography. Hanks, a two-time Oscar winner, had been in negotiations for the role when Ephron died in June this year.
Previews begin on March 1 at the Broadhurst Theatre and an opening night is set for April 1.
McAlary, the city's one-time dominant tabloid reporter, got the first interview with Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was sodomised and beaten by white police officers at a station house in 1997. McAlary would win the Pulitzer Prize the next year but would die of cancer a few months later at age 41.
The director of Lucky Guy will be George C Wolfe.
In June, lead producer Colin Callender said his team could "think of no more fitting tribute to her extraordinary writing and remarkable body of work" than to proceed with plans to produce Ephron's play.
Hanks is the star of such films as Splash, Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Sleepless in Seattle, Apollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan.
Ephron, who died on June 26 at age 71, gained recognition as the writer of films such as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, which starred Hanks.
McAlary, who worked at both the New York Daily News and The New York Post, has already been the subject of a play - Dan Klores' The Wood, which opened off-Broadway at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre last year. He was said to be the inspiration for the character played by Randy Quaid in Ron Howard's The Paper.