Hannibal Classics is going full steam ahead on their version of the U.S.S. Indianapolis story, which has a finished script. They are looking to cast the picture with the title “U.S.S. Indianapolis: Men of Courage.”
Hannibal Classics is the sales division of Hannibal Pictures. They plan on shopping the budgeted $30 million project at the Toronto Film Festival. No director has been signed to come aboard.
The script was co-written by Cam Cannon (“Rough Hustle,” “Silver Falls,”) and Hannibal chairman and CEO Richard Rionda Del Castro. He’ll produce with Patricia Eberle, Richard Salvatore, Douglas W. Miller, and Jeffrey Andrick; Tim Cavanaugh will be the executive producer.
Del Castro said his film would not explore the court martial and subsequent exoneration.
“Our film is an action-oriented homage to the brave crew of the U.S.S. Indianapolis,” Del Castro told Variety. “It is a testament to their will to survive in the face of certain death.”
On its return home from delivering parts for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, the Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese sub. Because its mission was secret, the ship was not reported missing, leading to the largest single loss of life in Navy history. Of 1,196 crewmen, 300 went down with the ship and nearly 500 more died as they swam for four days in shark-infested waters.
Many attempts have been made to dramatize those events, which the shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) famously recalled in “Jaws.” A project went into development at Universal in 1998, with Chris Moore (“Good Will Hunting”) producing. In 2006, Robert Nelson Jacobs was tapped to pen a version with J.J. Abrams attached to direct. Playwright John B. Ferzacca wrote “The Failure to ZigZag” in 1978, and Stacy Keach played McVay in the 1991 made-for-TV movie “Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis.”
On Wednesday, it was announced that Warner Bros. Pictures, Robert Downey, Jr., and his wife Susan would produce a film based on the historical naval sinking, the unjust court-martial of the ship’s captain Charles McVay, and how the captain’s reputation was exonerated by a young boy.
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 with Captain Quint. Scott began researching the topic; he discovered how the warship sank and how the remaining crew was stranded for four days on the open sea, while at the mercy of man-eating sharks.
Scott 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.