Beachgoers at Orange Beach on the Alabama Gulf Coast got a surfside view this week when a vintage Navy PBY plane used during filming of USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage landed offshore and began to take on water. No one was injured and the pilot and co-pilot were rescued safely. Production on the movie, which stars Nicolas Cage, Thomas Jane, Matt Lanter and Tom Sizemore, was halted temporarily during efforts to save the flying boat that ultimately broke apart during salvage operations.
In the picture directed by Mario Van Peebles, Cage plays Captain Charles Butler McVay III, captain of the doomed Indianapolis, which was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sank. Nearly 300 went down with the ship and another 600 died in shark-infested waters in what remains the greatest single loss of life at sea in U.S. Navy history.
Jane plays Lt. Adrian Marks, whose PBY — the PB designates “patrol bomber” and Y identifies the manufacturer Consolidated Aircraft — was instrumental in the rescue of over 300 survivors of the Indianapolis in the Philippine Sea in July 1945. A different, untitled USS Indianapolis project from Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey’s production shingle Team Downey has been set up at Warner Bros to be directed by Tate Taylor and scripted by Mike Jones.
Producers of Men Of Courage said they believed the footage they already captured of the plane, including the water landing, and additional footage to be shot at nearby Wolf Bay, will allow completion of the necessary scenes. The movie is slated to open Memorial Day Weekend 2016. Saban is the U.S. distributor.