EXCLUSIVE: Clint Eastwood has found Sully. Eastwood and Warner Bros are negotiating with Tom Hanks to play Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who became an instant American hero in 2009 when he engineered a miraculous emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after a flock of geese hit the plane just after it took off from La Guardia Airport. His courage under fire saved the lives of all 155 people aboard the plane, who famously crowded the wings waiting rescue.

When Eastwood recently declared his intention to make that film at Warner Bros — where his last American-hero pic, American Sniper, grossed $543.4M worldwide — many wondered whether there was anybody but Eastwood who should play Sully, the nickname by which the veteran pilot became known. Well, the other guy would be Hanks, who, from Apollo 13 to Forrest Gump to Captain Phillips, has been Hollywood’s other go-to guy for hero turns. This gives Warner Bros a heckuva combination to tell this story.

ChesleySullenbergerInter200Eastwood will direct the new biopic from a screenplay by Todd Komarnicki, which was based on the book Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters, by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow.

Hanks completed A Hologram For The King with Tom Tykwer and reprised his Robert Langdon role in the Ron Howard-directed Inferno based on the novel by The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown. He’s also been circling the James Ponsoldt-directed The Circle, an adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel which had all the buyers salivating at Cannes. Hanks is repped by CAA. Sullenberger is with Brillstein Entertainment Partners.