Steven Spielberg's Cold War thriller titled 'Bridge of Spies' | EW.com

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Steven Spielberg's Cold War thriller gets a title, but John Williams drops out

(Jaap Buitendijk)

Steven Spielberg’s next movie with Tom Hanks is about Cold War spies, so perhaps it’s appropriate that it’s been cloaked in secrecy. Earlier this month, producer Marc Platt let slip to his university newspaper that the Untitled Cold War Thriller, filmed under the working title of St. James Place, would be released as Bridge of Spies. On Wednesday, Disney, which will distribute the DreamWorks/Fox 2000 film in the U.S., confirmed that. 

“A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, Bridge of Spies tells the story of James Donovan (Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot,” Disney said, in a statement. “Screenwriters Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen have woven this remarkable experience in Donovan’s life into a story inspired by true events that captures the essence of a man who risked everything and vividly brings his personal journey to life. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on Oct. 16, 2015.”

John Williams, however, who has scored every Spielberg film except The Color Purple, has dropped out of the film, due to a “minor health issue, now corrected.” In his place will be Thomas Newman (The Shawshank Redemption), a 12-time Oscar nominee. The Disney press release notes that Williams will reunite with Spielberg on the director’s next picture, The BFG

In real life, Donovan negotiated with the Soviets for the release of Gary Powers, whose spy plane was shot down in enemy territory in 1960, provoking a major international crisis for outgoing president Dwight Eisenhower. 

Bridge of Spies also stars Broadway superstar Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel, a KGB agent defended by Donovan; Scott Shepherd (Side Effects) as CIA operative Hoffman; Amy Ryan (Birdman) as James’ wife, Mary; Sebastian Koch (A Good Day to Die Hard) as East German lawyer Vogel; Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) as Thomas Watters, a partner at Donovan’s law firm; and Austin Stowell as downed pilot, Gary Powers.

[Note: An earlier version of this story did not include the information that Austin Stowell will play Powers.]