Bryan Cranston and Tom Hanks headline as the narrators of a new collection of audiobooks being released Tuesday. The audiobooks, curated by Tom Hanks, producer Gary Goetzman and documentarian Ken Burns, focuses on storytelling in American history and is the result of a collaboration between audiobook sellers and producers Audible and film and TV production company Playtone.
Fresh off his raving success with Breaking Bad, Cranston narrates The Things They Carried, the Tim O'Brien book on tales from the Vietnam War. The reading in Cranston's sometimes-gruff, sometimes-sensitive voice takes up just under 8 total hours of play time. And Cranston is joined on the new Americana collection by Tom Hanks, who narrates the introductions to two stories, Helmet for My Pillow and With the Old Breed. Those are the book sources for HBO's miniseries The Pacific, and the main story of each of those books is narrated by the main actors from the show, Joseph Mazzello and James Badge Dale.
Hanks, of course, has plenty of experience voice acting with his starring role as Woody in the Toy Story trilogy. Cranston has less starring work in the field, but has worked in smaller voice acting roles for some TV shows and video games.
Audible actively uses famous actors as narrators, including last year's memorable Samuel L. Jackson reading of Go The F— to Sleep. Earlier this year, Audible featured Homeland: Phantom Pain's narrator Damian Lewis, the actor from the Homeland show on Showtime. That was more of a move to garner publicity for the show, while this new release looks to be more of a new, fresh take on older stories. And with the Cranston and Hanks starpower behind them, these audiobooks should take on a life — and a voice — of their own.