By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 8, 2011 at 8:14AM
About a week ago, it was reported that Paul Greengrass -- still on the hunt for this next film -- had added two more two his plate of potential gigs: the Somali pirate hostage story, now called "Maersk Alabama" with Tom Hanks attached or a Peter Morgan scripted Formula One racing movie, "Rush." But it looks like one film is finally taking the pole position.
Chasing Vulture's lead on the story, Deadline updates that Greengrass has formally been offered "Maersk Alabama" by Sony with talks to begin soon, and moreover, everything is expected to move quickly making this the director's next film. The movie is based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips who made worldwide headlines back in 2009 when he gave himself up to Somali pirates in exchange for the safety of his crew after his boat was attacked. Three days later, Navy SEALs stormed the lifeboat Phillips was being held hostage in and emerged with the captain, leaving three of the pirates dead. Billy Ray (”Shattered Glass,” “Breach”) wrote the screenplay.
It's a cracking story that seems perfectly suited to Greengrass' energetic filmmaking style. Of course, the question now remains of when this might go in front of cameras. Tom Hanks is set to start filming "Cloud Atlas" with The Wachowskis later this year, though depending on when that starts (a September date was mentioned at one point, but that could change), the actor could conceivably squeeze this one in beforehand. His only other immediate commitment right now is doing the press runs for his next directorial effort "Larry Crowne" which opens on July 1st.
And for those still pining for the delayed "Memphis," that project appears to still very much be possibility -- provided funding can be found -- but it has been put off for now, so it may be a while yet before it hits a theater near you. Meanwhile, "Rush" is only going out to potential buyers now so that one seems to be a farther off prospect.