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Aside from maybe "Miracle on the Hudson" pilot Sully Sullenberger, it's hard to imagine a more inspiring recent American hero story than that of Captain Richard Phillips, the leader of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship that was captured by Somali pirates in 2009. Phillips gave himself up as a hostage to the pirates in order to spare the rest of his crew, and attempted escape once before being rescued by Navy SEALs. Obviously, his story has been optioned for a movie, and now the most obvious but probably best possible actor has signed on to play him: Tom Hanks.

According to Deadline Hanks will star in the Sony project, based on Phillips' memoir A Captain's Duty and produced by the team behind The Social Network-- Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey. With Larry Crowne coming out this summer and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close shooting now in New York, Hanks is returning to live-action films as an actor for the first time since Angels & Demons-- quite a relief for those of us who would rather forget that one ever happened.

The obvious comparison for this seabound tale of adventure is Cast Away, but I"m hoping for something more along the lines of Apollo 13-- life-or-death stakes, Hanks as the fearless leader, and a dynamite cast to back him up. There's no director yet on board, but with Hanks in the lead you can probably count on someone stellar signing up. One American treasure playing a bona fide American hero? I'll proudly be waving my flag whenever this one opens.
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