Tom Hanks is nothing but smart about what projects he takes, and he’s been very good at managing his career as both a star and an actor. That – according to Deadline Hollywood – he’s circling Sony’s adaptation of A Captain’s Duty makes sense as he’s a perfect fit for the role. Based on the true story of Richard Phillips, the film is being produced by Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey. Billy Ray – director of Shattered Glass and Breach, and the current writer on The Hunger Games - has submitted the draft that got Hanks’ attention.
When the story of Phillips allowing himself to be taken hostage by Somali pirates instead of his crew, and then his subsequent rescue by Navy SEALs was made public in 2009, Hollywood was already clamoring for the story, and book publishers immediately courted Phillips to sell his story. The book A Captain’s Duty was published in April of 2010.The film was put in development shortly thereafter.
The story has everything one can see Hanks handling readily: nobility in the face of great danger, and the struggle to maintain hope in the face of capture. And if Ray was able to make that cinematic, it comes across as a strong Oscar contender on its face.
The only question is Hanks’s plate: He’s currently developing Jungle Cruise with Tim Allen, and he’s now shooting director Stephen Daldry’s adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close with Sandra Bullock and Max Von Sydow, which is also being produced by Scott Rudin. If Hanks jumps into this project – and his working relationship with Rudin was good – it will surely come together quickly.
Tom Hanks versus pirates, an easy sell or the easiest sell?