In Steven Spielberg’s film “Jaws” shark hunter Captain Quint (Robert Shaw) relates a story to Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) and Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfus) about the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis after it delivered the Hiroshima atomic bomb to Tinian during W.W. II. On its return voyage to Laytee, a Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into the ship, which quickly sank.
In 1996, Hunter Scott was an 11-year old looking for a topic for a national History Day competition when he watched “Jaws” and was inspired by the scene in question from the film. Scott began researching the topic; he discovered how the warship sunk and how the remaining crew was stranded for five days on the open sea, while at the mercy of man-eating sharks.
Scott heard from survivors how the captain, Charles McVay, was unjustly court-martialed, and set out to correct the miscarriage of justice, eventually testifying before Congress. He was eventually instrumental in getting legislation passed in October 2000 to exonerate McVay, who committed suicide in 1968, and in July 2001, the U.S. Navy amended his record.
The story will be told through the eyes of Scott. Warner Brothers, Robert Downey, Jr., and his wife Susan are developing the project. This is not the first time Hollywood has tried to produce this story into a full length feature. Director J.J. Abrams made an attempt at Universal Studios to get the film made, but it was put into turnaround in the late 2000’s.
No production date or director has been announced for the U.S.S. Indianapolis project, but Robert Schenkkan (“The Quiet American,” “The Pacific”) will write the screenplay.