Universal Pictures and Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty) have taken a vow of silence ... starting now. Studio has picked up John Francis' memoir Planetwalker and tapped Shadyac to direct. Who is John Francis and why do we care about his memoir? Well, following the collision of two oil tankers back in 1971, Francis swore off motor vehicles and staged a one-man protest to raise environmental awareness by walking (yes, walking!) across the country. Oh, and he also took a vow of silence which lasted a whopping 18 years. Geez, I could never do such a thing, as my vow of silence would last about 10 minutes (or as long as it took for me to get hungry and want to order take-out Chinese food). As far as Francis goes, he finally broke his vow when he decided to defend his oil spill-related Ph. D. thesis.
Where is Francis now? Well, he's taking part in a 1,000-mile Alaskan canoe trip in an attempt to unite Eskimo tribes. In fact, Justin Zackham (who is set to pen the script) will not be able to meet with Francis until after he returns from his trip ... that's if Francis doesn't suddenly decide to take another vow, one that involves living out his days inside an igloo. No word yet on potential casting, but I imagine this would be an interesting role for an actor to take on, what with the bulk of the film involving no dialogue whatsoever. Sounds like perfect material for Tom Hanks -- after all, the guy did a pretty good job acting alongside a volley ball in that gigantic Fed Ex commercial of a film, Cast Away. Well, except Francis is black ... so there goes that. Jamie Foxx? Anyone?