October 16, 2013
Bryan Cranston, Tom Hanks, Ken Burns team up for American history audiobook series
by Nick Davies
Now that Breaking Bad has wrapped up, people will be waiting to see what Bryan Cranston’s next move is; and one of them, at least, will be to record the audiobook version of The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien’s 1990 collection of stories set during the Vietnam War.
Jason Boog writes for Galleycat that this is part of a larger audiobook project, featuring some big names. Ken Burns is working with producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman to create a series of audiobooks for Audible and their production company/record label Playtone. Titled “The American Story As You’ve Never Heard It,” it includes:
- Helmet for my Pillow, by Robert Leckie
- With the Old Breed, by E. B. Sledge
- The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
- The Civil War Trilogy, by Shelby Foote
- The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
- The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan
- O Pioneers!, by Willa Cather
- The Song of the Lark, by Willa Cather
- My Antonia, by Willa Cather
Along with the Cranston narration of The Things They Carried, it seems that the only other new recordings in the collection are With the Old Breed and Helmet for My Pillow, war memoirs that were part of the inspiration for the HBO miniseries The Pacific. Both of those books will be narrated by the actors who portrayed the authors, Joe Mazzello and James Badge Dale, respectively.
The rest of the collection has been curated by Burns, who picked his favorite audiobooks about American history that have inspired his own documentary filmmaking, for each of which he’s recorded a personal introduction.
“By working with some of the finest actors we have known,” Hanks said, “we will give voice to the best fiction and nonfiction ever written about America. We are happy to continue the telling of our American saga through Audible and the spoken word.” You can see an interview Cranston about the project below, along with several clips of him in the recording studio.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.