In January of 2009, a US Airways flight leaving New York City and climbing over the Hudson River experienced double engine failure, putting all 155 passengers in serious risk. It was only due to the skill of the flight’s captain that the aircraft made a safe water landing on the Hudson, and were successfully evacuated from the partially submerged frame of the plane. Although many passengers suffered injuries — some of them serious, and one requiring overnight hospitalization — there were no fatalities, and the flight’s captain was quickly regarded as a hero who made possible the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
We now know that captain to be Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, a man who is identified with ensuring the survival of everyone onboard his plane. Sullenberger, who also gained the rank of Captain in the United States Air Force when he was active in the late sixties and early seventies, it also became apparent what kind of man he was. In his luggage onboard the plane, he left a library book entitled Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability. When he called the library to let them know the book had been recovered but badly water damaged, the library — thankfully — waived the usual fees. A few weeks later, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg replaced the book when presenting Sullenberger with the key to the city.
According to Variety, director Clint Eastwood (American Sniper, Gran Torino) has been enlisted by Warner Bros. to create a new film about the “Miracle on the Hudson,” and about Sullenberger himself. The source material for the film’s screenplay will be Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters written by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow. The official synopsis for the book reads, in part,
Born to a World War II veteran and dentist father and an elementary school teacher mother, Sully fell in love with planes early. He learned to fly as an eager 16-year-old from a crop duster, an older neighbor in north Texas, who took off and landed his fragile plane on the grass field behind his house. While Sully′s father encouraged his interest in flying, he also imparted stern advice he′d learned from his Navy service during World War II: a commander is responsible for everyone in his care-and those words have shaped Sully′s life and work and continue to guide him today.
HIGHEST DUTY reveals the important lessons Sully learned through childhood, in his military service, and in his work as a commercial airline pilot. At heart, it is a story of hope and preparedness-that life′s challenges can be met if we′re ready for them-reminding us that, even in these days filled with war, tragedy, and economic uncertainty, there are values still worth fighting for.
Producer Frank Marshall acquired the film rights to Sullenberger’s book in 2010, and has apparently been working for the past five years to develop it into a feature film. Eastwood follows upon some of his other biographical films like the immensely successful American Sniper, and the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring J. Edgar, with this project definitely serving in his wheelhouse.
For more on this film as it takes shape, keep an eye on GeekNation.
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