EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment is attaching Tom Hanks to play Captain Richard Phillips, the leader of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama who gave himself up as a hostage to Somali pirates to keep his crew from having to leave the ship with them. After three days alone with the armed pirates in a small lifeboat, Phillips was saved by Navy SEALs who staged a raid that left three captors dead and another in custody. Shortly after Phillips got a hero’s homecoming and signed with CAA to make a book deal, Sony Pictures optioned A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, Phillips’ memoir of the harrowing ordeal. Hyperion published the book last year. Sony Pictures’ The Social Network team of Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey are producing the film. Hanks sparked to a draft recently turned in by The Hunger Games scribe Billy Ray. Elizabeth Cantillon is supervising for Sony Pictures.
Hanks is currently working with Rudin in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the Stephen Daldry-directed Warner Bros/Paramount adaptation of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel that also stars Sandra Bullock and is under way in New York. Hanks doesn’t attach to many projects, but he also made plans to star with Toy Story cohort Tim Allen in a live-action version of Jungle Cruise for Disney. CAA reps Hanks.