Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tom Hanks to play Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger in Eastwood-directed biopic

A few weeks ago, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that American Sniper director Clint Eastwood had signed on to direct Sully, the story of airline pilot Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who famously landed a US Airways flight in the Hudson River after an emergency situation prompted a disaster mid-flight. With Eastwood's current success with big biopics (American Sniper was the top-grossing film of 2014 and surprised with 6 Oscar nominations), I felt like he was a natural pick for Sully when I heard the news and reported on it myself. Less than two weeks later, Deadline is now reporting an even bigger steal for the film and one that feels like an even more obvious choice. But I'm not complaining.

According to Deadline, Tom Hanks is in negotiations with Warner Bros. to play Sullenberger in the biopic, which currently does not have a release date. No more information was given by the insider source, but I don't think there's that much more that needs to be said. This will certainly be a major awards player and many are speculating that Warner Bros. might push Sully through production to get it in theaters by the end of this year. Personally, I don't see that happening. And here's why.

Hanks has three films set to hit the cinemas before the end of the year, and he has wrapped production on all three. Ithaca and A Hologram for the King will find an audience, but Hanks' other 2015 release is the one that could prevent Sully from debuting this year. Bridge of Spies is going to be an Oscar heavyweight, with a strong theme and Steven Spielberg in the director's chair. Hanks will undoubtedly be campaigning hard for an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, and frankly, I don't think he wants to compete against himself. Plus, he's in the middle of filming Ron Howard's Inferno right now and I'm not sure how fast Sully can be produced. In all likelihood, they'll hold out on this one until Fall 2016 if it's good, or they'll dump it into the Spring/Summer months if it's more Jersey Boys than American Sniper. We shall see, but I definitely like having Hanks in the cast. He's one of my favorite actors and I can't wait to see what he does with this character.

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