Tom Hanks re­lives pilot’s hor­ror and hero­ism on the wa­ter

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - By XU FAN xu­fan@chi­ PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Many peo­ple will re­mem­ber the mo­ment when a pow­er­less air­liner was forced to land on the frigid wa­ters of New York’s Hud­son River on Jan 15, 2009.

Thank­fully, all 155 abroad were saved thanks to heroic pilot Chelsey Sul­len­berger’s fly­ing skills.

But Sul­len­berger was then in­ves­ti­gated by Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board as the lat­ter thought his wa­ter land­ing was a mis­take.

That be­came the at­trac­tion for Os­car­win­ning direc­tor Clint East­wood to make Sully, based on the real in­ci­dent.

Nearly three months af­ter its United States premiere, Chi­nese au­di­ences can see the bi­o­graph­i­cal fea­ture, start­ing from Fri­day.

“It was a pos­i­tive out­come in a bad sit­u­a­tion,” says East­wood, who’s known to Chi­nese movie­go­ers for his 1995 ro­mance The Bridges of Madi­son Sully, County (1995), in a pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial tai­lored for the Chi­nese mar­ket.

Be­fore the in­ci­dent, the US was a dif­fer­ent place, says East­wood. “It was post-9/11. We had troops in the Mid­dle East. There was the 2008 fi­nan­cial melt­down … peo­ple were wor­ried,” he says.

“That hap­pened in Man­hat­tan and we sur­vived it, well, I think it gave peo­ple hope.”

When serv­ing in the US Army at 21, East­wood had a par­tic­u­lar ex­pe­ri­ence con­nect­ing him with the movie. He caught a free naval flight from Seat­tle to Alameda, but the plane went down off Point Reyes, Cal­i­for­nia. And he found him­self in the wa­ters of the Pa­cific and had to swim a few miles to­ward the shore.

Sully has a glit­ter­ing cast: Tom Hanks stars as the hero, and Aaron Eck­hart plays Sully’s co-pilot Jeff Sk­iles.

As one of only two ac­tors in his­tory to win back-to-back Best Ac­tor Acad­emy Awards, Hanks again shows why he de­serves his ac­co­lades.

“At some points I for­got he’s Hanks but took him to be the real Sul­len­berger. His au­thor­i­ta­tive per­for­mance is amaz­ing,” says Wang Xiaoyang, a viewer who was at the Bei­jing pre­view last week.

Hanks won his first Os­car in 1994 for Philadelphia, and in the fol­low­ing year he took home his sec­ond Os­car for For­rest Gump.

But even Hanks, who has the tal­ent to take au­di­ences into the char­ac­ter’s world, says he felt in­tim­i­dated to play a real-life hero. “Sully is an ac­com­plished pilot from ev­ery per­spec­tive ... No one has ever trained for an in­ci­dent like that,” says Hanks.

Emma Stone at­tends the premiere of Lion­s­gate’s on Tues­day in West­wood, Cal­i­for­nia.

Land LaLa



which will hit Chi­nese main­land the­aters on Fri­day. Right: Direc­tor Clint East-

Left: Tom Hanks stars as the hero in wood (left) with Hanks.

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