Clint Eastwood: 'Sully' Sullenberger biopic is a perfect fit for the director

Eastwood will reportedly direct a movie about Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, who successfully landed a plane in the Hudson River in 2009 after the plane encountered trouble. 

Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Clint Eastwood arrives for the National Board of Review gala in 2015.

Director Clint Eastwood has found his next project.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Mr. Eastwood will reportedly helm a biopic about Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed a plane in the Hudson River in 2009 after the plane encountered trouble.

“I am very glad my story is in the hands of gifted storyteller and filmmaker Clint Eastwood, and veteran producers Allyn Stewart and Frank Marshall,” Mr. Sullenberger said in a statement. “The project could not have found a better home than Warner Bros. Pictures. This is truly a dream team.”

Eastwood won the Oscar for Best Director for his 1992 Western “Unforgiven” and for his 2004 boxing drama “Million Dollar Baby.” The 85-year-old director is extremely prolific, having released two movies last year and doing the same in 2008 and 2006. 

Those who know Eastwood's work have already spotted themes in Sullenberger's story that are similar to those found in some of Eastwood's other movies. A.V. Club writer Ignatiy Vishnevetsky wrote, “Eastwood… has a long standing fascination with America’s heroic iconography and with notions of duty, and has spent the most of the last decade making movies on real-life subjects." Some of the films that looked at America’s heroic iconography include his 2006 films “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima,” which looked at both sides of the Battle of Iwo Jima, as well as his Westerns, including “Unforgiven,” which examined the narrative of the American West. Recent movies that looked at real-life subjects include his 2014 movie “Jersey Boys,” which looked at the formation of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, as well as 2011’s “J. Edgar” and “Invictus,” which told the story of Nelson Mandela’s efforts to rally the country of South Africa behind its rugby team. 

Variety writer Justin Kroll agreed that the narrative falls right in Eastwood’s wheelhouse. “Eastwood has always been drawn by stories like ‘American Sniper,’ ‘J. Edgar’ and ‘The Changeling’ based on real-life individuals,” Mr. Kroll wrote. 

Eastwood has selected his next project following the 2014 release of his movie “American Sniper,” which was the biggest financial success of his career, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and was nominated for Best Picture but also came with controversy. Monitor film critic Peter Rainer wrote that “the movie avoids any overt politicizing… If the film had plumbed his psychological state with anything like the acuity of his marksmanship, we would have a masterpiece. But Kyle, the regular guy with super-honed killer instincts, remains an enigma.” 

Among other reactions, director Michael Moore wrote,

while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich responded, 

Eastwood himself said of the film, “The biggest anti-war statement any film" can express is including "the fact of what [war] does to the family and the people who have to go back into civilian life like Chris Kyle did.” Actor Bradley Cooper, who starred in the film, said, “This movie was always a character study about what the plight is for a soldier… It's not a political discussion about war.” 

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