Hollywood A-lister Tom Hanks has been cast as a 10-year-old version of himself in a radical new film project.

The OSCAR-winning actor, who starred as a child trapped inside a man's body in the film BIG, will play around 20 parts in the $160 million (GBP110million) movie POLAR EXPRESS, due for release next year (04).

One role the film's director ROBERT ZEMECKIS - who brought FOREST GUMP and Who Framed Roger Rabbit to life - has set aside for Hanks is as a boy who still believes in Santa Claus.

Computer techniques pioneered in films like Gladiator and LORD OF THE RINGS have been used to simulate the actor as a child.

Hanks says, "It will be odder than odd and more miraculous than miracles."