The Cape of Auden, near the Somalian coastline, is one of the most dangerous waterways in the world. The impoverished African country, victimized by the dumping of toxic waste by foreign vessels as well as its own civil wars, struck back by resorting to piracy, hijacking commercial ships coming into the area. In the new movie “Captain Phillips” Tom Hanks plays Richard Phillips, the American captain who survived the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship and was rescued by a Navy SEAL team.
“We certainly took license,” Hanks told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “Things happened that never did, things were said that never was. But in condensing down one fascinating story from one detail to the next [director] Paul Greengrass went an extra mile to have some brand of empirical truth to what we did. We did not take ludicrous liberties with what went on. We didn’t blow motivations out of proportions. We drew substantially on Rich Phillips’ book and his own recollections and a lot of after-action reports and facts once it was all done and they had become unclassified.”
Hanks says that as dramatized in the film, that the piracy problem still exists, despite the military action that was taken that landed one of the surviving pirates in jail for 33 years.
“There are six or seven groups of pirates that are out there being old school pirates just like there always has been,” Hanks says.
Now, he says, cargo ships do have armed guards. Until the Maersk Alabama was taken, part of the problem for pirates was gaining access to ships, which were much higher than their lifeboats. On the Maersk, the pirates configured a ladder to reach it.
Tom Joyner jokes that he’s sure that Chris Rock is in makeup as one of the pirates, but Hanks corrects that assumption.
“My now good Somalian friends Barkad, Barkhad, Mahmat and Faysal, together do not weigh as much as Chris Rock weighs. (The actors, ironically enough, are Somalian-Americans from Minnesota.), “Those are some skinny people. Barkhad Abdi, who plays the main guy, was watching TV and something came on and said ‘Somalis wanted for movie’ and he went the next day with like, 800 people.’”
“Captain Phillips,” is in theaters Friday.