“Captain Phillips,” Paul Greengrass’ fact-based story of the hijacking of a U.S. cargo ship by Somali pirates, will have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival.
Organizers announced the news Monday, saying the Tom Hanks film will debut on the festival’s opening night of Friday, Sept. 27. Sony Pictures opens the film two weeks later, on Oct 11.
Centering on the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama off the coast of Somalia, "Captain Phillips" co-stars a number of first-time Somali actors as they and Hanks' titular character standoff over the course of a hijacking. The movie marks Hanks' return to the big screen after his Tony nominated-turn this spring in "Lucky Guy," in which he played a late tabloid journalist in Nora Ephron’s final work.
Greengrass, of course, is the acclaimed British director who has moved between big-budget action fare such as “The Bourne Ultimatum” and gritty lower-budget titles such as “United 93.” In announcing the selection, organizers touted Greengrass’ versatility.
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“At this point in his working life, Paul Greengrass has become a master of immersive reality-based narratives set along geopolitical fault lines,” said Film Society of Lincoln Center director of programming, Kent Jones, adding that the movie is “through Greengrass’ distinctive lens, simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization.”
It is not the first time Greengrass has examined a standoff with international overtones set in a confined space — “United 93,” a critical darling when it was released in 2006, followed some of the same trajectory in telling the story of a 9/11 hijacking. And his Matt Damon, Iraq-set pic "Green Zone" several years ago also used a major Hollywood star to describe violent and ambiguous events overseas.
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