Tom Hanks to Play Captain Richard Phillips in Somali Pirate Drama

     March 15, 2011


Tom Hanks has signed on to star in Sony Pictures’ adaptation of Richard Phillips’ memoir A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea.  Hanks would play Phillips, a captain of a cargo ship who gave himself over to Somali pirates in exchange for the safety of his crew.  Phillips was hostage to the pirates for three days and was eventually saved by Navy SEALs who killed three of his captors and left another in custody.  We reported back in 2009 that screenwriter Billy Ray (State of Play) was working on the script and Deadline reports that Hanks sparked to the latest draft.  The producing team behind The Social Network (Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti, and Kevin Spacey) will produce the adaptation of A Captain’s Duty.

Hit the jump for a synopsis of the memoir and other projects on Hanks’ schedule.

a-captains-duty-book-cover-01Hanks is currently shooting on Stephen Daldry’s adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  He’s also attached to an adaptation of Cloud Atlas, Kathryn Bigelow’s Triple Frontier, and he may co-star with Tim Allen in a family film based on the Disney theme park ride “Jungle Cruise“.  Hanks will next be seen in theaters in Larry Crowne, which opens July 1st.

Here’s a synopsis of A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea:

“I share the country’s admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips
and his selfless concern for his crew.
His courage is a model for all Americans.”
–President Barack Obama

It was just another day on the job for fifty-three-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, the United States-flagged cargo ship which was carrying, among other things, food and agricultural materials for the World Food Program. That all changed when armed Somali pirates boarded the ship. The pirates didn’t expect the crew to fight back, nor did they expect Captain Phillips to offer himself as hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. Thus began the tense five-day stand-off, which ended in a daring high-seas rescue when U.S. Navy SEALs opened fire and picked off three of the captors.

“It never ends like this,” Captain Phillips said.

And he’s right.

A Captain’s Duty tells the life-and-death drama of the Vermont native who was held captive on a tiny lifeboat off Somalia’s anarchic, gun-plagued shores. A story of adventure and courage, it provides the intimate details of this high-seas hostage-taking–the unbearable heat, the death threats, the mock executions, and the escape attempt. When the pirates boarded his ship, Captain Phillips put his experience into action, doing everything he could to safeguard his crew. And when he was held captive by the pirates, he marshaled all his resources to ensure his own survival, withstanding intense physical hardship and an escalating battle of wills with the pirates. This was it: the moment where training meets instinct and where character is everything. Richard Phillips was ready. [Amazon]

Latest News