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Two months ago, Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood made big, early Oscar-related waves when it was announced that the two men would be teaming up to make a biopic about Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger - the pilot who was controlling the plane during the famed "Miracle on the Hudson." Now the project has added a second big name to the cast, as its been confirmed that Aaron Eckhart will be co-starring in the film as well.
The Hollywood Reporter has the details about this development, noting that Eckhart will be playing Jeff Skiles in the movie. During the aforementioned averted plane disaster, Skiles was Captain Sullenberger's first officer and co-pilot, and was flying the vehicle when birds crashed into the engine - causing it to fail. Both he and Sullenberger were responsible for safely landing the Airbus A320 into the nearby river. Their actions resulted in them saving the lives of 155 people, but also potentially hundreds more because of the safe landing zone.
Todd Komarnicki, whose most well-known credit is the 2007 Halle Berry/Bruce Willis thriller Perfect Stranger, is writing the film, and using material from Captain "Sully" Sullenberger's memoir, "Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters." What remains unclear is exactly how the movie will expand upon the actual "Miracle on the Hudson" moment, given that the event could essentially be summed up in one big action sequence. With Eckhart now involved, it's a potential sign that the film will deal as much with the aftermath of the incident as what happened to Sullenberger in his life before it.
In case you couldn't already figure this out, this biopic is already carrying a lot of clout - and it's arguably the best role that Aaron Eckhart has landed in about seven years. It's true that the guy has still been playing leading man roles, and I will give a lot of props to the 2010 drama Rabbit Hole, but it feels like the days of Thank You For Smoking and The Dark Knight were a long time ago. He's a talented actor, though, and while titles like I, Frankenstein have hurt his reputation, he's not down for the count. A collaboration with Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood could be a great opportunity for him, and eventually lead to some even bigger roles in more high profile titles.
At this time, there doesn't seem to be an announced production schedule for the Captain "Sully" Sullenberger movie, though it's pretty easy to imagine that this one is to be starting to shoot soon. Not only is casting starting to pick up, but Tom Hanks will have a hole in his schedule soon - specifically once he's done reprising his role as Robert Langdon in Ron Howard's Inferno. The only movie competing for the star's attention is the sci-fi thriller The Circle starring Emma Watson. Stay tuned for more updates about the project, because we will likely be hearing more very soon.