The lord truly has not smiled on Paul Greengrass over the last two years but where his Iraqi passion project Green Zone flopped, his falling out with Universal over the Bourne franchise led to his unceremonious exit from that series and the family estates of both Jimi Hendrix and Martin Luther King Jr respectively blocking significant biopics of both American icons – finally some light is at the end of the tunnel today for the accomplished helmer.
Vulture say Greengrass has entered talks to direct the Captain Richard Phillips/Somali Pirates hostage film that Tom Hanks attached himself to lead a few months back. Setup at Sony, the film would be an adaptation of Phillips’ memoirs “A Captain’s Story: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea”, and has been scripted by writer Bill Ray (State of Play, Breach).
Phillips, the leader of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama, famously gave himself up to Somali pirates back in 2009 in a hostage exchange for the safety of his crew after an armed ambush where he was then kept prisoner for three days before Navy Seals found him in a thrilling rescue attempt, killing three of the Pirate captors in the process.
The powerhouse producing trio of Scott Rudin, Michael De Lucas, Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey – the team who equally saw a compelling story in the formation of Facebook and spearheaded The Social Network – are behind this one too. But even with all those smart people, they can’t come up with a good title, Vulture saying at this point the film is going to be called Maersk Alabama, named after the Cargo ship. Yeah, good luck with promoting a movie with that title. A Captain’s Duty or A Captain’s Story is surely the way to go.
Shaky cam Greengrass tackling such a harrowing and tense hostage thriller which by all intents looks to be the big comeback for Tom Hanks into serious acting? Yeah, count me very much in for that. Hanks will be filming his part in The Wachowski’s ambitious Cloud Atlas movie this fall, so expect this one either to be put into production very fast or to be put aside until next year.
In the mean time Greengrass could end up helming something just as interesting but in a completely different genre. The filmmaker is also said to be eying a Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) scripted drama about Formula 1 racing champion Niki Lauda titled Rush. Yup… another movie that if Steve McQueen were alive today he would have been circling.
Rush would tackle Lauda’s near-fatal 1976 racing season and the rivalry between he and Englishman racer James Hunt. They say;
For those unfamiliar with the Formula One legend, on August 1, 1976, Lauda very nearly burned to death after his Ferrari swerved off the track in only the second lap of the German Grand Prix, crashed, and burst into flames. Lauda lapsed into a coma and ultimately lost his right ear; Hunt would go on to win the race.
Lauda so detested Hunt and was so obsessed with beating him that just six weeks later, he dragged himself out of bed and finished fourth at the Italian Grand Prix. Hunt would go on to win both the Canadian and U.S. Grand Prix, and, after Lauda dropped out of the Japanese Grand Prix due to heavy rain, he ultimately wrested the 1976 World Driver’s Championship title from Lauda, winning by a single point.
Now that sounds like something I would want to see too but wait… there’s more. Vulture also claim the existence of a third film that Greengrass is mysteriously working on but nobody is spilling the beans on what it is.
I do know Greengrass has been desperate to make a movie on the seven sea’s having circled both a Treasure Island adaptation and a movie about Blackbeard so don’t be surprised if it’s something along those lines but more recently there has been talk of a Travis McGee film with Leonardo DiCaprio loosely attached to star.
Honestly, all of them sound like movies I would want to see, especially from the hand of Greengrass. I’d even be happy if his mystery project was about the phone book just to be creating something again, but all of these sound top-drawer to me.