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Tom Hanks and director Paul Greengrass are currently earning raves and healthy box-office returns for Captain Phillips, their thrilling re-creation of the Somali pirate attack that made headlines in April 2009.
But did Hollywood steer the true story down a path of pure fiction? The real-life crew members of Richard Phillips‘ MV Maersk Alabama think so.
In a new story in the New York Post, an anonymous crew member comes forward to refute the heroism portrayed by Hanks in the film.
“Phillips wasn’t the big leader like he is in the movie,” says the source, who describes the titular hero has having a 12-year reputation as a “sullen and self-righteous captain.”
According to the report, Phillips endangered the lives of his crew by disregarding warnings of potential pirate attacks and requests from the crew to avoid dangerous waters.
After the incident depicted in the film, 11 crew members sued Maersk Line and the Waterman Steamship Corp. for almost $50 million. Phillips acted as a witness for the defense.
The crew member details a routine plan for dealing with pirates that Phillips declined to follow. What we see as Hanks standing up to his captors is, from the crew member’s point of view, the captain disobeying orders.
“He didn’t want anything to do with it, because it wasn’t his plan,” says the source. “He was real arrogant.”
Best known for his entries in the Bourne franchise, Greengrass is also a former journalist and the renowned docudramatist behind Bloody Sunday and United 93. Under scrutiny, the details of Captain Phillips may not line up perfectly with the truth. Though even the crew member acknowledges it worked in the favor of the movie.
“They told us they would change some stuff,” the source tells the Post. “It’s a good movie. Real entertaining.”
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