Audible and Playtone Launch Creative Partnership

Audible and Playtone Launch Creative Partnership

Playtone Partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and Historian Ken Burns, Curate a Line of Audiobooks Focusing on American History and Literature and Performed by Acclaimed Actors

NEWARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Playtone, the award-winning film and television production company, and Audible, Inc., the world's largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content, today announced a new collection of audiobooks available on curated by multiple Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman and by Emmy Award-winning documentarian Ken Burns. The collection is united thematically in its focus on the sweep of American history and in its commitment to superb storytelling.

Included in the audiobook line is a new recording of Tim O'Brien's Pulitzer finalist, landmark collection about the soldiers who fought in the War in Vietnam, The Things They Carried, narrated by "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston. This deluxe audio edition also includes a special new recording of O'Brien reading "The Vietnam in Me," an essay he published in The New York Times Magazine twenty years after returning from the war. Other books in the Playtone line are the classic war memoirs With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge and Helmet for my Pillow by Robert Leckie. These two memoirs, which inspired Playtone's award-winning HBO miniseries The Pacific, are narrated by the actors who portrayed Sledge and Leckie in the series, Joseph Mazzello and James Badge Dale, and both feature introductions by Hanks. Finally, celebrated documentarian Burns (The Civil WarThe Dust Bowl) has handpicked a selection of audiobooks covering the past 150 years of American history that has inspired his own work, personally recording introductions to each.

"Our common American story is complex, inspiring, occasionally infuriating and always fascinating," said Hanks. "Playtone has attempted to portray many of the dimensions of that story on screen. Now, thanks to our partnership with Audible and by working with some of the finest actors we have known, 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."

"I am thrilled to introduce this collection of important books, books that span a century and a half of American history and fiction," said Burns. "Audible and Playtone asked me to select audio editions of these works which in my view stand out as great performances, and which influenced me as a filmmaker. For me, listening to a great audiobook can be as satisfying an experience as watching a great story unfold on film."

"Over the years, Playtone has established itself as one of the great popularizers of the American experience," said Audible founder and CEO Don Katz. "We are thrilled to be able to enlist their formidable creative energies on behalf of Audible customers and new listeners, to shine a light on these powerful and important books and on these remarkable performances."

The complete list of titles that make up the Audible Playtone line is:

  • Helmet for my Pillow, by Robert Leckie, narrated by James Badge Dale, introduction by Tom Hanks
  • With the Old Breed, by E. B. Sledge, narrated by Joseph Mazzello, introduction by Tom Hanks
  • The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien, narrated by Bryan Cranston
  • The Civil War Trilogy, by Shelby Foote, narrated by Grover Gardner, introduction by Ken Burns
  • The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson, narrated by Robin Miles, introduction by Ken Burns
  • The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan, narrated by Patrick Lawlor, introduction by Ken Burns
  • O Pioneers!, by Willa Cather, narrated by Kate Reading, introduction by Ken Burns
  • The Song of the Lark, by Willa Cather, narrated by Pam Ward, introduction by Ken Burns
  • My Antonia, by Willa Cather, narrated by Jeff Cummings, introduction by Ken Burns

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The partnership with Playtone represents another significant venture in Hollywood for Audible, which continues to attract the very best actors and creators to the audio performance format. In 2012, Audible Studios launched the "A-List Collection," a series of significant works of literature performed by the world's most celebrated actors. Among the acclaimed actors who have recently performed audiobooks for Audible Studios are Anne Hathaway, Claire Danes, Colin Firth, Diane Keaton, Dustin Hoffman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Samuel L. Jackson.


Playtone is a celebrated television and film company founded in 1996 by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Their producing credits include the films Where the Wild Things Are, Charlie Wilson's War, Mamma Mia!, The Polar Express, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, That Thing You Do!, and television events Band of Brothers, The Pacific, John Adams, and Game Change.


Audible, Inc., an, Inc. subsidiary (NAS: AMZN) , is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment on the Internet, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible's mission is to establish literate listening as a core tool for anyone seeking to be more productive, better informed, or more thoughtfully entertained. Audible content comprises more than 150,000 audio programs from content providers including leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible is also the preeminent provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple's iTunes® Store.
Matthew Thornton, 973-820-0402

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  New Jersey  Washington


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