The Circle is no doubt another in a long line of topical dramas starring the great Tom Hanks. Everyone loves Tom Hanks, the actor, yet his roles have become predictable. If you’re making a movie and you want to bring instant sympathy, respectability, or authority–especially if the source material doesn’t have much of its own character development–Hanks is your guy. He reportedly brings in $10 million to $20 million per film, and double or triple that if he negotiates profit sharing deals, which may explain why he’s not in many special effects-heavy films. Where his performance is always reliable, it’s the films themselves–the stories and settings–that have often let us down once we crossed into the 21st century. What will be his next Philadelphia or Forrest Gump? His next Splash or Big? These days he’s the go-to guy for biopics (Charlie Wilson’s War, Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks, Sully), historical teleplays and documentaries (Band of Brothers, The Pacific), and novel adaptations, especially the never-ending Robert Langdon series (The DaVinci Code, etc.). The Circle fits in as a novel adaptation, this time an adaptation of a novel about the horrors of our modern technological age written by Dave Eggers and directed and co-scripted by James Ponsoldt.
But Hanks isn’t the real draw for this film, it’s the mega-sized co-lead actors who all hail from the biggest genre franchises that really make this a movie we might want to check out in the theater this April and not wait for the home release. The star is Emma Watson, Hermione of the Harry Potter franchise whose other big 2017 film–Beauty and the Beast–with Watson in the lead role as Belle, will be released only six weeks prior to The Circle. Star Wars: The Force Awakens and this year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi star John Boyega (ex-Stormtrooper Finn) has next billing. Oddly enough someone just as popular in the U.S., the U.K., and Asia should have next billing in the trailers, yet she’s seen but not listed in the title credits. That’s the popular Doctor Who companion Amy Pond and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy, Karen Gillan. That’s some pretty popular acting names and pop culture street cred for a flick outside the sci-fi and fantasy realm. But that’s not all. The Circle also features beloved comedian and nerd crusader Patton Oswalt, fan fave Bill Paxton (Aliens, Apollo 13, Edge of Tomorrow, Training Day), and familiar face Glenne Headly (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Monk).
The plot follows a new worker (Watson) at a trendy tech company (think Google), where this fictional company and its outlandish benefits encompass and suffocate the workers’ private lives. Here’s a new trailer for The Circle, followed by an earlier version of the trailer: