Bourne Ultimatum director could soon be on board to direct captain’s story Maersk Alabama and grand prix tale Rush
Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass is eyeing a drama about Somali pirates and US Navy Seals for his next film, according to the Vulture blog. The project has Tom Hanks on board for the lead role of Richard Phillips, whose capture off the coast of Somalia and subsequent rescue following a daring American raid was big news in April 2009.
Maersk Alabama’s screenplay is based on Phillips’s own book about his experiences, A Captain’s Duty. The title comes from the name of the merchant seaman’s ship, which regularly negotiates the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean shipping lanes, among the most dangerous waters in the world. Since he was rescued, Phillips has been confronted by pirates trying to take him hostage on four subsequent occasions, most recently in May.
Three of the pirates were killed and one was captured during Phillips’s rescue two years ago. The then 53-year-old former taxi driver had offered himself as a hostage to safeguard his crew of 20. When the USS Bainbridge arrived at the scene, the pirates were forced to accept a tow as their lifeboat had run out of fuel. Hauled in closer to the American ship, they eventually came into range of snipers and were each killed with a single shot to the head – after US sailors refused an offer to give up their captive in return for their own freedom. Phillips was later hailed as a hero by his crew and received praise from president Barack Obama.
Greengrass is also considering a Formula One drama by Peter Morgan, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of The Queen and Frost/Nixon, and may end up shooting that project first. Titled Rush, the film centres on the famed rivalry between three-time champion Niki Lauda and English driver James Hunt, both on and off the track.
Mutual antipathy fuelled the 1976 championship, which Hunt won by just a single point. So fierce was Lauda’s competitiveness towards his rival that he insisted on returning to the track just six weeks after a horrific crash at the German grand prix, which resulted in him losing an ear and lapsing into a coma.