Sssh. Listen. Can you hear it? Can you hear the sound of dozens of keyboards in Hollywood excitedly typing at 90 words a minute to rush off story-board ready drafts of the movie version of yesterday's rescue of ship captain hero Richard Phillips? If ever there was a real news story ready for movie adaption, this is the one: the dramatic seafaring tale of evil pirates overcome by the ever-skilled US Navy SEALs, led by their brave captain in a shoot out rescue of the heroic American captain, and all set against an exotic high seas backdrop.
I am not making light of the situation, but merely observing and reflecting on the sensationalist reaction by the media to the story since the rescue news broke just a day ago. Since then, newspapers, websites, and of course TV news, talk shows, and gossip outlets have each had a field day with eye-catching headlines like HIGH SEAS RESCUE or AMERICAN HEROES. It's already like a Hollywood movie or a superhero comic book. So powerful was this seafaring tale that once the rescue news broke Sunday afternoon all the 'controversy' over Barack Obama bowing to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia got swept aside and instantly forgotten.
Hence, the question of whether or not there might be a movie made about this based-on-a-true-story, high seas pirate adventure is moot. Of course there will be a movie! At least one. Shoot, it's got every element you could ask for in an action-adventure blockbuster (complete with an built in happy ending -- it just needs a little love story thrown in for good meaure and even broader box-office appeal). It even has the President of the United States directly involved. Can't you just envision the Situation Room scene in the movie with the actor playing Obama overseeing the nail-biting proceedings?
So the question isn't if there will be a movie made, but rather, how soon can we expect it at our local multiplex? And, more importantly, who will be cast to play Captain Richard Philips? Aaron Eckhart? Philip Seymour Hoffman? Both good, but I don't think so. My money is on George Clooney -- with a beard of course -- as the cool hero captain of the Maersk Alabama who so unselfishly gave himself up as hostage to save his crew.
And although an actor like Colin Farrell might be closer in age to the real life U.S. Navy captain Frank Castellano, commanding officer of the USS Bainbridge, who choreographed the rescue mission, Tommy Lee Jones would be even better cast in that role. He's great in those roles. Meanwhile, the role of the Navy SEALs sniper who, with a skilled single shot, took out the pirate with the AK47 held up to Captain Philips could go to Matt Damon, while the other two SEALs snipers could be smaller roles given to some recognizable faces.
As for who would play the pirates? (Johnny Depp? No. Different type of pirate tale.) The more sinsiter pirate roles, much smaller and barely developed to help keep their characters dehumanized and easier to hate, would go to some up-and-coming actors or rappers turned actors. Maybe Lil Wayne could play one of the pirates? And speaking of music, the original soundtrack would go to a favorite like Danny Elfman with some carefully selected established songs for the chase scenes and grand finale -- songs with 'saved' or 'rescue' or 'free' in their titles -- some rap, some emo, and some classic rock.
Feel free to suggest soundtrack songs or actors for this future film in the comments below. Thanks!