"Captain Phillips" to open London Film Festival

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The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.
August 1st, 2013

Tom Hanks' 'Captain Phillips' will open the 57th annual BFI London Film Festival.

The Paul Greengrass-directed drama - which is based on the real life 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates - will kick off this year's film gala by holding its European premiere in London's Leicester Square on October 9.

Clare Stewart, the British Film Institute's head of exhibition, said: ''We are thrilled to be opening the BFI London Film Festival by welcoming Paul Greengrass - one of the great supporters of the BFI and British film - back to London for the European premiere of 'Captain Phillips'. Our festival audiences will be captivated by Greengrass's virtuoso filmmaking; 'Captain Phillips' is an intense, high-stakes drama, focusing on two men forced onto a collision course by global political forces much larger than themselves.

''Featuring spellbinding performances by Tom Hanks and four Somali-American actors (Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, Barkhad Abdirahman and Mahat M. Ali), we are excited to be presenting this film as our opening night gala.''

Both Hanks and Greengrass are expected to attend the premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square.

The movie stars the two-time Oscar winner as Captain Richard Phillips, the commander of the hijacked vessel, who finds himself in a tense stand-off with Somali pirate Muse (Barkhad Abdi).

'Captain Phillips' was produced by Scott Rudin and the screenplay is based on the book, 'A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea', by the real-life Phillips.

This year's London Film Festival takes place between October 9 and 20.