At the age of 85, Clint Eastwood directed the #1 movie of 2014 in American Sniper, so there was heavy interest in what he’d choose as his follow-up. So what’s the winning project? Another true story tale. Per Warner Bros., Eastwood has settled on a drama about real-life hero Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the veteran pilot who safely flew U.S. Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River in 2009, saving everyone onboard from a disastrous crash.
Eastwood will make the picture for (surprise!) Warner Bros., his home for decades, and Allyn Stewart and Frank Marshall are onboard to produce alongside Eastwood, who will both produce and direct. Marshall and Stewart optioned the rights to Sully’s memoir Highest Duty in 2011, and landing Eastwood as director will no doubt rocket this project into production. Todd Komarnicki (Resistance) is writing the screenplay. The movie is described as follows:
The film will go beyond Sullenberger’s almost impossible and much-heralded achievement of safely landing a jumbo jet on the water, which was captured on video and viewed around the world. But behind the scenes, a drama was unfolding that could have cost him his reputation and his wings.
Sully’s actions were no doubt heroic and will surely make for a compelling and thrilling set piece, but I’m curious to see what this “behind the scenes drama” was that the rest of the film’s will focus on. Eastwood’s films have become somewhat careless and dull as of late and I lost optimism for his projects years ago, but I’d love nothing more than to be pleasantly surprised by this Sully film.
Eastwood was previously mulling over the prospect of directing Jonah Hill’s developing Richard Jewell biopic next, which would tell the story of a security guard who thwarted a bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, but Warner Bros. couldn’t work out a deal to bring that film under their roof, so Eastwood bowed out of consideration. He was also trying to get a new iteration of A Star Is Born off the ground a few years ago, and one imagines he could’ve used his American Sniper clout to resurrect the project, but THR notes that he’s decided against doing that film, which now has Bradley Cooper eyeing the director’s chair.
No word on how soon this Sully movie will materialize, but Eastwood works incredibly fast so I wouldn’t be surprised to see filming get underway this fall.