Paul Greengrass' 'Captain Phillips' to Open BFI London Film Festival

Sony Pictures

The movie, starring Tom Hanks, will mark its European debut heralding the start of the 57th British capital movie shindig.

LONDON – Tom Hanks starrer Captain Phillips, directed by Paul Greengrass, will open this year's BFI London Film Festival.

Marking its European premiere, the movie is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates.

The movie focuses on the relationship between the Alabama's commanding officer Captain Richard Phillips (Hanks), and his Somali counterpart, Muse (Barkhad Abdi).

The 57th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, is will host the film as its opening night gala Oct. 9 at the Odeon Leicester Square.

Greengrass directs from a screenplay by Billy Ray based on the bookA Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty.  

Greengrass and Hanks are both scheduled to attend the event to support the debut for the film produced by Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, and Michael De Luca.

Sony Pictures rolls out the film in U.K. theaters Oct. 18.

BFI head of exhibition and festival director Clare Stewart said she was delighted to bring Greengrass back to the festival describing the Brit as "one of the great supporters of the BFI and British film".

Stewart described Captain Phillips as "an intense, high-stakes drama, focusing on two men forced onto a collision course by global political forces much larger than themselves."

The festival runs Oct. 9-Oct. 20.