Frank Marshall & Kathleen Kennedy Snag Captain Sully's Story
It's been well over a year since people were regaled with the story of Capt. Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger after a bird-strike forced him to land Flight 1549 in the middle of the Hudson River on January 15th, 2009. His quick thinking and amazing flight skills allowed him to save the lives of all 155 passengers on board his plane. Though the event was captured on security cameras, Variety reports the story is now set to go before Hollywood cameras as Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy have optioned the film rights to Sully's memoir Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, which was published earlier this year. Read on!
Flashlight Films is also prodcuing and currently searching for writers. No studio is yet attached to the project but with super producers like Kennedy and Marshall, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Though it seems like a move like this should've been a little more timely (I'm surprised a TV movie hasn't already been made), apparently Sully was leery about optioning the rights. Apparently it was Harrison Ford who convinced the pilot (no he's not involved with the project) at an aviation event that he should go to The Kennedy/Marshall Co. for the project. Marshall couldn't be more excited about the prospect:
"It was my lucky day. Kathy and I have always been attracted to regular people in extraordinary situations. This guy is a true American hero. What I love about this story is that it's positive at a time when everything is negative. The amazing thing was, Flight 1549 only lasted 3½ minutes, but Sully made all the right decisions, against all the odds. I do feel like all those decisions were informed by his past experiences and training. He is the pilot we all want to be up front in the cockpit."
The book apparently "reflects on that day, as well as Sullenberger's childhood love of planes and his flying career -- as well as how he and his family coped with the onslaught of sudden celebrity." Sure it's an interesting story to read, but I'm not entirely sure how this will translate to screen without some seriously dramatization and creative liberties. The closest thing that I can think of for this project to aspire to is United 93, but they each seem to be on quite different playing fields. Is what happens in the air enough of a struggle to build an entire feature film around it? Marshall's comments hint to the potential use of flashbacks, or some non-linear narrative device, but I guess we'll find out eventually. Do you think Captain Sully's story needs a film?