In Clint Eastwood’s newest film as a director, “Sully,” Tom Hanks plays Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in January of 2009 after a flock of geese crippled the engines in his jet. Written by Todd Komarnicki and co-starring Aaron Eckhart as Sullenberger’s co-pilot and Laura Linney as his wife, “Sully” focuses on the captain’s split-second decision-making in the air.
Even as Sullenberger was treated as a hero in the media, few knew that the decisions he made in a window of less than fours minutes after losing his engines would come under intense scrutiny — from both his airline and national safety regulators.
It would plague the pilot for months.
In a late-August interview, Eastwood and Hanks talked about the heroism of Sullenberger’s story, the thing that annoys them most about other directors and how a Democrat and a sometime Republican find common ground during one of the most contentious U.S. elections to date.
What made you think this four minutes would yield a larger story?
Eastwood: My assistant put the script on my desk along with about four other things, and it said, “Untitled story about Captain Sullenberger and the Hudson River,” and I thought, “Well, I know what that story is about. Everybody was saved. The iconic shot with 155 people on the wings in the Hudson.” But I read it one night and realized, “Oh … there is conflict there.”
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