In April 2009, off the coast of Somalia, four Somali pirates hijacked the MV Maersk Alabama cargo ship. It was the first successful pirate seizure of a ship registered under the American flag since the early 19th century. The surreal experience included the pirates’ initial struggle to board the ship as the crew shot flares at them, also capsizing their boat, and then a stand-off between the two groups, as each took the other’s leader hostage. Phillips soon volunteered to sacrifice himself to the pirates in return for his crew’s safety, and he was ultimately rescued.
So when Phillips wrote a book about the whole ordeal (A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea), it was almost immediately optioned by Sony Pictures.
If you feel like you haven’t seen Hanks in a leading big-screen role in a while, it’s because you haven’t. The Academy Award-winning actor has been spending most of his recent time in film production and TV work. You may have heard him, though, as Woody in Toy Story 3.