In recent years, Nicolas Cage has earned a reputation of taking on pretty much any kind of new project - be it big or small. If new reports are to be believed, then his latest feature will most definitely fall into the former category, as it has some pretty massive special effects plans organized to help tell its story.
News comes from Variety saying that Nicolas Cage is now attached to star in USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, a period war film one of the most horrifying naval incidents in history. In 1945, the titular ship was on a mission when it was struck by two torpedoes launched from a Japanese submarine. Of the 1,196 men aboard, 896 men survived the sinking of the ship, but what waited for them in the water was arguably even more horrible. Navy command was unaware of the ship sinking, and as a result the survivors were left stranded in the water for three and a half days. In this time, most of the men died from a variety of causes, including shark attacks, hypothermia, salt poisoning, dehydration, and suicide. Cage will be playing Capt. Charles Butler McVay, who was in command of the ship.
In order to bring this rather epic and tragic story to life on the big screen, director Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City)and the producers at the production studio Hannibal Classics are going all out with the presentation. They are planning to build a 500,000 gallon water tank to film in, and they are also going to utilize animatronic sharks. Obviously this is being done to insure that the entire production is as realistic as possible, and it seems that it's really being done to pay respect to the original story. After all, this isn't the kind of film where you want to half-ass it, as you want to make sure that you're honoring the people who lost their lives in service instead of just taking advantage of their story for entertainment value. It's worth noting that this project has been in the works for quite a while now, as Hannibal movie has been developing it for five years, and in that time has reportedly been "consulting with survivors, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard."
If you're feeling a sense of movie deja vu, it's because it wasn't a long time ago that we reported on another USS Indianapolis-centric drama currently in the works. As we told you about two weeks ago, Robert Downey Jr.'s Team Downey production company recently hired The Help and Get On Up director Tate Taylor to make a very different version of the famous naval story. That film will actually spend a good amount of time in 1996 and follow an 11-year-old boy whose research helped clear the name of the aforementioned Captain Charles McVay - who was court-martialed after the incident.
Of course, real cinefiles will always remember the story of the USS Indianapolis in the context of Steven Spielberg's Jaws and the epic monologue delivered by Robert Shaw's Quint:
USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage will be filming in Mobile, Alabama starting on June 10th.