American pilot Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger captured the heart of a nation. In a day and age where horrifying misfortunes paint the headlines, Sullenberger emerged as a singular heroic figure who did what some would have considered the impossible. In January 2009, the airline captain managed to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York City, and in doing so, took the media by storm.
In 2010, Sullenberger wrote a memoir with the late New York Times bestselling writer Jeffrey Zaslow, detailing the events of that now famous day. This book is now serving as the source material for an upcoming film from Warner Bros.,which is currently titled Miracle On The Hudson.
THR announced this week that legendary director Clint Eastwood will helm the project. Eastwood’s recent work on the biopic American Sniper was a huge draw in bringing the director to the Sullenberger project, according to Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman:
Simply put, Clint Eastwood is at the top of his game, not to mention a global treasure. On the heels of his extraordinary work in American Sniper, it is tremendously exciting to see him explore the life of another captivating true-life hero. It is also great to be collaborating with Frank Marshall and Allyn Stewart to produce this compelling script by Todd Komarnicki.
While Todd Komarnicki has a varied producing background, he did write the thriller Perfect Stranger in 2007, and the Daniel Craig war drama Resistance in 2003. Eastwood is definitely the bigger name of the two, however, and his involvement definitely gives the project some fresh momentum. Eastwood’s 2014 biopic American Sniper, which followed the life of U.S. sniper Chris Kyle, scored multiple Oscar nods and much critical acclaim. Now that Eastwood is onboard, the next big challenge will be casting Sullenberg himself.
Though no names are officially attached to the project just yet, the pilot does share a striking resemblance to Dexter and Fargo actor Keith Carradine. Casting Sullenberger will, however, be key to bringing depth to an already riveting story. Fortunately for Warner Bros., Eastwood has a long history of putting strong talent on the big screen, from Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby to Bradley Cooper in American Sniper.
One of the remarkable things about Sullenberger is the fact that his hero status has remained intact over the last six years, despite heavy scrutiny. The Hudson Landing thrust the pilot into the spotlight, but the media could have uncovered unsavory details about his past, tearing the man down just as quickly as they’d built him up. “If it bleeds, it leads,” as they say. This didn’t happen though. Instead, Sullenberger has seemingly been proven to be a good man who did a heroic thing, worthy of the praise he received.
This is yet another reason casting is so crucial. Eastwood needs an actor who can play “good” while at the same time keeping it three-dimensional and compelling for the audience. Without a diverse lead and the right details to contextualize the heroic act, the film might not be able offer much beyond a thrilling sequence recreating that incredible Hudson River landing.
At this time, Miracle on the Hudson has yet to receive a release date.