When it was announced earlier this month that Clint Eastwood was going to make a movie about Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and the "Miracle on the Hudson," our ears perked up - as happens when a high profile director signs on to a high profile film. Now the project has gotten infinitely more impressive, however, as Tom Hanks is now in talks to play the lead role in the movie.
Deadline has the scoop on the story, saying that negotiations are still on-going to have Hanks sign on to the movie - which doesn't appear to have a title at this time. The movie is being based on the book "Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters," that was written by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow, and Todd Komarnicki (Perfect Stranger) has been tapped by Warner Bros. to write the script.
For those that don't remember, Captain Sullenberger is famous for events that occurred back in 2009, when a plane he was flying out of La Guardia Airport in New York ran into some serious trouble. Just after take-off, a flock of geese got sucked into the plane engine and caused it to stall out. In an act of quick thinking, Sullenberger managed to land the plane in the Hudson River, and he managed to save all 155 people that were aboard.
While Tom Hanks isn't officially on-board yet, a pattern in his career suggests that he will ultimately sign on the dotted line for this project. From Apollo 13 to Captain Phillips, the guy has shown a tendency to gravitate towards roles where he can play a true-life hero. To Hanks' credit, he's awesome in both of those movies, so perhaps he's just playing to his strengths.
The combination of the true story element, Clint Eastwood, and Tom Hanks suggests that this film is guaranteed to be in Oscar conversations the years its released - but I do have my questions about how the movie will operate. After all, this story isn't like the one in Captain Phillips, which played out over a long period. There wasn't exactly a ton of time in between the plane hitting the geese and landing in the Hudson, so you can't really stretch that single event out over the course of an entire film. As such, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the narrative is filled out.
We haven't seen Tom Hanks on the big screen since his turn as Walt Disney in 2013's Saving Mr. Banks, but he has some huge projects coming up. Later this year he will be seen reteaming with Steven Spielberg in the period thriller Bridge of Spies, and he has also completed work on Tom Tykwer's drama A Hologram For the King, and Meg Ryan's directorial debut Ithaca. In 2016 he will be also back playing Robert Langdon in Ron Howard's Dan Harris adaptation Inferno.