EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. and Team Downey principals Robert Downey Jr and Susan Downey have enlisted Tate Taylor to direct and Mike Jones to script their untitled project on the USS Indianapolis. This is the harrowing WWII shark tale made famous by the chilling speech Robert Shaw’s Quint character delivered to shipmates Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws.
Set in 1996, the film tells the true story of 11-year-old Hunter Scott, who needed a project with which to compete in a National History Day Contest. He watched Jaws and came away inspired and researched how the warship got sunk by torpedoes on its return voyage from delivering the Hiroshima bomb. Because the mission was secret, the crew floated for five days, easy pickings for the giant sharks that swam the waters. The youth learned how ship captain Charles McVay was unjustly court-martialed. He set out to find the truth behind the worst U.S. Naval disaster in history. What he discovered was that the only proper designation was a hero, for McVay’s actions under horrible duress and unimaginable carnage. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the ship’s sinking.
Said Susan Downey: “We are excited about Tate’s unique visual and narrative approach in telling this complex story which features multiple time periods and many perspectives. Mike is a skilled partner who will help shepherd Tate’s creative vision and we are thrilled to have both as part of our team.”
Robert Downey Jr, Susan Downey and David Gambino are producing and Jon Berg and Nik Mavinkurve are overseeing for Warner Bros. This project has been around awhile, along with another that simply told the Indianapolis story. The scribe is going to start from scratch.
Taylor, who made his feature debut on The Help, most recently completed the James Brown film Get On Up. He’s currently writing to direct the Sandra Bullock-starrer Tupperware, and is writing and exec producing In The Heat Of The Night for Showtime with Warren Littlefield and John Norris.
Jones scripted Sesame Street for Fox and his Black List script In The Event Of A Moon Disaster is set at FilmNation.
Team Downey is coming off The Judge and developing Yucatan, Pinocchio, Perry Mason, and the third installment of Sherlock Holmes under their Warner Bros-based banner. They have a TV deal with Showtime and Sony on TC-83. Taylor is repped by CAA and Lichter, Grossman; Jones by CAA, Gotham Group, and Jackoway Tyerman. Team Downey is with CAA and Hansen, Jacobson.
In case you don’t remember the Jaws speech, here you go: