Clint Eastwood to Direct Movie About Heroic Pilot Chelsey ‘Sully’ Sullenberger
On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 was struck by a flock of geese during takeoff from LaGuardia Airport. The plane’s captain, Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger, successfully brought the plane down in the Hudson River, where all 155 passengers and crew members were evacuated and survived. It was an incredible story, one that played out in real time on the news; I vividly remember being at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and watching the whole rescue play out on television.
Now the whole rescue will play out on film, as Variety reports that Warner Bros. “is in talks to acquire the rights to the biopic Sully,” about Sullenberger’s life and his heroic efforts on January 15, 2009. Currently Clint Eastwood is attached to direct the film:
Based on the book by Chelsey Sullenberg and Jeffrey Zaslow, the story takes a closer look at the man who became a national hero after his plane began to malfunction shortly after takeoff and he was forced to take drastic measures in order to save all those on the plane.
The book was acquired in 2010 by producer Frank Marshall; Eastwood comes aboard looking to make the follow-up to his surprise smash American Sniper, which earned more than $500 million worldwide. Sully would be Eastwood’s fourth straight biopic after J. Edgar, Jersey Boys, and Sniper. The man likes to make movies based on true stories.
So who plays Sully? 20 years ago, Eastwood himself would have been perfect. At 85, he’s too old for the part (Sully was 58 at the time of the crash). Looking at pictures of the real Sullenberger, the first guy to comes to mind is William H. Macy. He’s just the right age, and he could easily play the role of an unassuming hero. Eastwood might also look to reteam with Sniper star Bradley Cooper; he’s just 40, but that’s what makeup’s for (and given how successful the pair were together last time, they’ve got a reason to do it again). Or he could go really Hollywood with the whole thing and cast a really young guy in the part and have, like, Ansel Elgort as Sully. Kids love him.