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Paul Greengrass Offered Somali Pirate Pic By Sony Pictures, Talks Starting

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: I’ve learned that Memphis won’t be an impediment to Paul Greengrass directing this Somali pirate movie, so I expect this to move quickly and that this will be the director’s next film.

EARLIER: Director Paul Greengrass and Sony Pictures have moved a step closer to the filmmaker coming aboard to steer the Sony Pictures’ Somali pirate drama to star Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips. Greengrass was among a short list of directors for the gig but I’m told Sony Pictures has just offered him the picture and talks are about to begin. Phillips was the skipper of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama who gave himself up as a hostage to Somali pirates to keep his crew from having to leave the ship with them. After three days of being held hostage alone with the armed pirates in a small lifeboat, Phillips was saved by Navy SEALs who staged a dramatic rescue that left the captain unharmed, three captors dead and another in custody. The film is based on Phillips’ memoir A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, which was published last year by Hyperion. Sony Pictures’ The Social Network team of Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey are producing. Hanks signed on in March after sparking to a script written by Billy Ray. Elizabeth Cantillon is supervising for Sony Pictures.

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Tom Hanks Poised To Play Capt. Richard Phillips In Somali Pirate Saga

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment is attaching Tom Hanks to play Captain Richard Phillips, the leader of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama who gave himself up as a hostage to Somali pirates to keep his crew from having to leave the ship with them. After three days alone with the armed pirates in a small lifeboat, Phillips was saved by Navy SEALs who staged a raid that left three captors dead and another in custody. Shortly after Phillips got a hero’s homecoming and signed with CAA to make a book deal, Sony Pictures optioned A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, Phillips’ memoir of the harrowing ordeal. Hyperion published the book last year. Sony Pictures’ The Social Network team of Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey are producing the film. Hanks sparked to a draft recently turned in by The Hunger Games scribe Billy Ray. Elizabeth Cantillon is supervising for Sony Pictures.

Hanks is currently working with Rudin in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the Stephen Daldry-directed Warner Bros/Paramount adaptation of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel that also stars Sandra Bullock and is under way in New York. Hanks doesn’t attach to many projects, but he also made plans to star with Toy Story cohort Tim Allen in a live-action version of Jungle Cruise for Disney. CAA reps Hanks.

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