Be­yond the head­line

> Acad­emy Award-win­ning di­rec­tor Clint East­wood at­tempts to tell the true story of the Mir­a­cle on the Hud­son in his lat­est drama, Sully

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

O NJan 15, 2009, Cap­tain ‘Sully’ Sul­len­berger glided his dis­abled plane onto the frigid wa­ters of the Hud­son River, sav­ing the lives of all 155 peo­ple on­board.

How­ever, even as Sully was be­ing praised by the pub­lic and the me­dia, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was un­fold­ing that threat­ened to de­stroy his rep­u­ta­tion and ca­reer.

His story is re­told in the film, Sully, di­rected by Acad­emy Award-win­ning di­rec­tor and pro­ducer Clint East­wood and star­ring Tom Hanks as the pi­lot.

The movie also stars Aaron Eck­hart as Sully’s co-pi­lot Jeff Sk­iles, and Os­car nom­i­nee Laura Lin­ney as Sully’s wife Lorrie.

The film is based on a screen­play by Todd Ko­mar­nicki, which is adapted from Sul­len­berger and Jef­frey Zaslow’s book, High­est Duty.

In an in­ter­view tran­script pro­vided by Warner Bros, East­wood talks about what at­tracted him to this movie.

What is about the story of Cap­tain ‘Sully’ Sul­len­berger that’s so in­spir­ing to peo­ple? “What im­pressed me when I first read the screen­play was that Sully was a real Amer­i­can hero, some­body who did the right thing at the right time and ad­justed to the el­e­ments that he had to face.

“And the fact that some peo­ple tried to say oth­er­wise shows that he had to over­come a lot of things he maybe hadn’t an­tic­i­pated.”

Was there any­thing about Hanks’ per­for­mance that sur­prised you as a di­rec­tor? “I’d watched his ca­reer over many years, and seen him do some re­ally fine per­for­mances.

“[Hanks] is ter­rific. He’s a di­rec­tor’s dream, as far as work­ing with him goes, be­cause he’s al­ways there on time; he’s al­ways ef­fi­cient; and he knows his stuff.

“Yes, I’ve worked with a lot of ac­tors and a lot of ef­fi­cient peo­ple, but never any­one more ef­fi­cient than he is. He was great. He knows [to] come well pre­pared and knows what he’s do­ing. I thought he was splen­did.”

How did you cre­ate the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the two ex­pe­ri­enced pi­lots in a way that makes us be­lieve what they’re go­ing through? “It was a well-writ­ten script. The writer had been very dili­gent in his re­search. We had Sully [him­self] there. He had writ­ten a book about it, and he’s very de­tail­minded. So, the de­tail was there – all we had to do was [to] make it be­liev­able.

“Now, that is very dif­fi­cult to do. It’s im­pos­si­ble to go get an­other plane ... You might do it quite a few times and still not be as suc­cess­ful.

“So, it took a com­bi­na­tion of var­i­ous effects to get it all to work to­gether, and to bring those 208 sec­onds to life with all the ten­sion and power of the real thing.”

What did you see as your great­est chal­lenges? “Af­ter read­ing the script, I was try­ing to think, what was the worst thing that could have hap­pened?

“And I said: ‘We’ll do that as a dream se­quence’ – just to show peo­ple what a real tragedy it could have been, and, by the same to­ken, to show how much of this went through Sully’s mind. So, I added that scene, and it gave me a good start for the picture.

“Then you go through the prob­lems Sully had ex­plain­ing what hap­pened and what his thought process was all the way through the Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board (NTSB) hear­ings.

“The NTSB was do­ing its job, which is ask­ing all the ques­tions to try to find out ex­actly why they lost [the] air­plane. You just have to go through that much like they did in real life, and the ac­tors all un­der­stood that.”

East­wood (third from left) at the premiere of Sully (top), to­gether with (from far left) Eck­hardt, Sul­len­berger, and Hanks.

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