NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The glitz and glamor of a Hollywood movie premiere visited Downtown Norfolk Tuesday night. The Tom Hanks blockbuster Captain Philips had a special screening at Nauticus.
The screening made the movie version of what happened to Captain Richard Phillips and the Maersk Alabama available for some of the real-life players of the actual drama that unfolded before the world in April of 2009. Many of them were based in Norfolk.
MAERSK Line, LTD, the shipping company that owns the Maersk Alabama, is based in Norfolk.
"So, it was only natural to bring it home,” said MAERSK Line, LTD. President & CEO John Reinhart.
Captain Phillips saved the vessel and its crew from Somali pirates when he offered himself as a hostage in place of the ship and his crew.
"I think Captain Phillips spoke about it in his book and it's going to be spoken to in this movie,” Reinhart said. “He did what a Captain needed to do to protect his crew and to protect the cargo."
In the movie, A-list actor Tom Hanks plays the part of Captain Philips, who was held hostage on a covered lifeboat for several days.
"I can look in his eyes and you kind of see the emotions and fears that Richard probably was experiencing during that time as well …” said Andrea Philips, wife of the actual Captain Philips.
Andrea Philips says her husband’s only complaint about the movie is the title. The merchant mariner says he wishes it could have somehow given more credit to his crew and to the NAVY snipers he calls the real heroes.
"I will say as he would say -- the real heroes are the Navy,” Andrea Philips told WAVY.com. “The Navy SEALS, you know those young men and women that came to our aid, his aid, actually, and did their job and did it very, very well.”
Navy SEAL snipers aboard the Norfolk-based USS Bainbridge rescued Philips. The snipers were members of Virginia Beach’s SEAL Team 6. They killed three of the four Somali pirates and captured the fourth.
"Our mission was to bring him back safely to the United States to his family …” said Captain Frank Castellano, who was the skipper of the USS Bainbridge at the time of the rescue.
Castellano, along with the SEAL Team Commander, gave the order to shoot the pirates and rescue Captain Phillips. He said given the constraints of Hollywood, the movie is an accurate portrayal of what really happened.
"Now you've got to remember, the events happened over the course of a week or more, and to put it into approximately two hours ah, I think the team did a wonderful job,” Castellano said.
Critics are already calling “Captain Phillips” the most anticipated movie of the fall. It hits theaters this Friday.
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