How do you make a full-length feature film about a flight that lasted for only a few minutes? That was the question raised when it was announced that Clint Eastwood would direct Tom Hanks as the lead in Sully, a drama centered on Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s miraculous handling of an airline emergency which could have easily ended in disaster.
Aside from the obvious, where is the drama? We know what happened. After taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, US Airways Flight 1549 lost both engines and was forced to make a water landing in the Hudson River. The whole thing developed and was over in minutes. Assuming the film will last a typical two hours, what’s the rest of it going to be about?
Judging by the trailer, the film will focus on the aftermath and how Captain Sullenberger dealt with the attention and scrutiny which followed. Despite being considered a hero by many, Sully came under suspicion of having applied poor judgment during the emergency. Simulations indicated that the flight might have successfully returned to the airport instead of ditching in the river. But simulations are not real life.
Sully glides into theaters on September 9th.