From Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood comes Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ drama “Sully,” starring Oscar winner Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.
On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.
“Sully” also stars Aaron Eckhart as Sully’s co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, and Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, Lorrie Sullenberger.
Eastwood directed the film from a screenplay by Todd Komarnicki, based on the book Highest Duty by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow. The project was produced by Eastwood, Frank Marshall, Allyn Stewart and Tim Moore, with Kipp Nelson and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers.
The film reunited Eastwood with several of his longtime collaborators, who most recently worked with the director on the worldwide hit “American Sniper”: director of photography Tom Stern and production designer James J. Murakami, who were both Oscar-nominated for their work on “The Changeling”; costume designer Deborah Hopper; and new editor Blu Murray. The music is by Christian Jacob and The Tierney Sutton Band.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Flashlight Films production, a Kennedy/Marshall Company production, a Malpaso production, a film by Clint Eastwood, “Sully.” The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
No one warned us. No one said you
are going to lose both engines at a
lower altitude than any jet in history.
“Brace, brace, brace—head down, stay down!”
Moments after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, a flock of birds strikes US Airways flight 1549, taking out both engines at only 2800 feet and causing an immediate, forced water landing. It is, we will learn, unprecedented. “No one has ever trained for an incident like that,” notes Tom Hanks, speaking as the titular Captain Chesley Sullenberger in director/producer Clint Eastwood’s “Sully.”
Recounting the real events that took place on that cold day in January 2009, the film also explores their very real aftermath. The plane carried 150 passengers and five crew members, yet not a single life was lost—not in the air, not in the water. But as “Sully” reveals, in the days following what quickly came to be known as the Miracle on the Hudson, the pilot with a record of proficiency, years of experience, and calm in the face of potential catastrophe, would be called upon repeatedly to defend his actions to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
It was that part of the story, the one the world didn’t know, that drew Eastwood to the project. “Anybody who keeps their wits about them when things are going wrong, who can negotiate the problems without panicking, is someone of superior character and interesting to watch on film. But for me, the real conflict came after, with the investigative board questioning his decisions even though he’d saved so many lives.”
“I’m not an aviator,” says Hanks, “but I know you’re not supposed to be able to make a landing like that. This was a very pragmatic man who understood the realities of what he’d done and what it meant. He will never say he’s a hero, but knowing with confidence that he could make that landing? That was a heroic thing he did. And he paid a price for it.”
That cost was exacted both during the day, when he and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, were being interrogated by the investigative board, and at night, when Sully was haunted by nightmares about what could have happened—what very well might have happened—had he turned that plane around in search of a less watery airfield. The film, based on Sullenberger and author Jeffrey Zaslow’s book Highest Duty, also focuses largely on the untold story, the details that didn’t make it into those pages.
Producer Allyn Stewart says of initial conversations with Sullenberger, “The second Sully started to give us the details of what happened to him after the event, I realized this was the real architecture of the movie. We found a great screenwriter, Todd Komarnicki, to adapt the book. He’s really good at getting under the skin of a normal guy, and that’s the essence of Sully; he’d be the first one to say he’s simply a man who did his job very well.”
“Sully is a man who prepared his whole life to do this one impossible thing that he didn’t know he was preparing for,” Komarnicki observes. “But when you meet him, after ten minutes with the guy, you understand; you think, ‘Of course he pulled this off and no one else could have.’ But the beauty of this movie is that we’re finally telling the full story. A true story that no one knows but everyone thinks they know? What a great mystery to unfold on screen.”
Producer Frank Marshall says, “After everything the world knew about Sully and the landing, what happened to him after he became instantly famous was fascinating. Todd’s approach to the screenplay was to take a story you’ve heard, like the key elements of that day, and turn it into one you haven’t, giving the audience a real feel of what it was like to be there.”
Another story few people are aware of—one the director himself may have long ago forgotten, but which connects him in a unique way with the subject matter and its subject—came to light when working on “Sully.” As a young man of 21 in the Army, Eastwood was a passenger on a Navy plane, “catching a free flight from Seattle down to Alameda,” he relates. “It was stormy and we went down off of Point Reyes, California, in the Pacific, and I found myself in the water, swimming a few miles toward shore, thinking, ‘Well, 21’s not as long as a person wants to live.’”
Producer, and Eastwood’s longtime production manager, Tim Moore states, “What’s remarkable is that Clint remembers exactly how the landing was—that the back end went down and they had to get out pretty fast because they thought it was going to sink quickly, and they just started swimming. While I don’t think that was a factor in picking this film, I think the commonalities brought back a lot of memories; it’s certainly interesting that this project found its way to him.”
Though he doesn’t equate his experience with that of the passengers and crew on flight 1549, it did provide a certain perspective for one preparing to direct Sully’s story. “I suppose having been in a similar situation,” Eastwood surmises, “as a pilot I would have chanced a water landing rather than go someplace there’s no runway.”
“Sully was familiar with that area,” the director also notes. “He knew where the helicopter ports and ferryboats were, so he picked the right spot, where everyone could get to them fast. It wouldn’t be like being out in the middle of the ocean; he knew somebody would see them.”
“It was the least bad option,” the man himself, Capt. Sullenberger, states. Having lost thrust in both engines of the A320, he quickly determined that the Hudson River, which runs between New Jersey and Manhattan’s West Side, was their best bet. “There was nowhere else in the entire New York Metropolitan area long enough, wide enough, or smooth enough to land an airliner.”
Looking back on his experience from just seven-and-a-half years ago, able to now put things into perspective, he says, “Part of the emotional context of this story is that it happened in a time in our history when there was worldwide concern on several fronts: it was post-9/11, we had troops in the Middle East, there was the ’08 financial meltdown…people were worried. That this happened in Manhattan and that we survived it, well, I think it gave people hope, even ones who were not directly connected with the flight.”
Not only did the filmmakers choose to embrace the actual surroundings in which the event happened by shooting as much as possible in New York City, they also sought to involve a good number of its citizens who were there that day in the film. This not only meant reaching out to them for research purposes, by talking about what they remember, but also recruiting many who were part of the rescue to reenact their efforts for the cameras. Both air and water rescuers and several Red Cross staff and volunteers returned to the “scene” to recreate their own heroics of the day, reinforcing what Sullenberger himself has observed on many occasions: that the positive outcome was not due just to the swift and steady actions of one, but also the fortitude of many.
What if I did get this wrong? What if I
endangered the lives of all those passengers?
The Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger the world has come to know in recent history began flying at the age of 14, “as soon as he was tall enough to see outside the cockpit of the plane,” quips Tom Hanks. The young pilot then attended the United States Air Force Academy and flew fighter jets in the service for five years, attaining the rank of captain, before taking the controls of a commercial airliner. “The life of a professional aviator,” the actor continues. “If he tallied it up, I think he’d have something like 20,000 hours as the guy in charge of the plane. That’s a lot of take-offs and landings, a lot of looking at gauges to see if anything is wrong, and a few hairy moments here and there in the course of a career.”
But nothing like what he faced in those 208 seconds that would come to represent the culmination of his life’s experiences. Pilots work hard to prepare for any circumstances they could face in the air, and suddenly Sully was faced with the challenge of his career. “A flock of geese got sucked into the engines and boom! he was essentially flying a powerless glider with 155 souls on board—his included. It’s a good thing he had those 20,000 hours of experience behind him,” Hanks offers.
The role of Sully was one the always-in-demand Hanks couldn’t turn down, despite having to postpone a well-earned break. “Sometimes you read something that is so stirring and at the same time so simple, such a perfect blend of behavior and procedure,” he reflects. “Now, I’m as competitive as the next actor, so I knew I wanted at least a shot at it, even though I’d been working pretty steadily for about six years. Sure I was beat but, not unlike a solid jolt of adrenaline, this role, Sully, Mr. Clint Eastwood…they all came along. I felt like I couldn’t pass up a chance at playing in this great double-header at the end of this long baseball season.”
Although the two had never worked together before, Eastwood says, “Tom was one of the first people we thought about for the part. But at the time he was just finishing a picture and we didn’t think we could get him. But he read the script and liked it and made himself available. And he was terrific, a consummate pro, and it was kind of effortless working with him.”
Stewart relates, “Sully has that ‘everyman’ quality that I think reminded Clint of Jimmy Stewart, and once that was in our minds we thought, ‘Well, there’s no one like that but Tom Hanks.’”
The filmmakers also appreciated what Hanks brought to the shoot when the cameras weren’t rolling. Offers Eastwood, “He has a great sense of humor, so that makes it fun. He’d be standing around waiting, sometimes in the rain, and still making the crew laugh.”
Despite his easygoing demeanor on set, Hanks admits that when playing a real person “you’re always intimidated. You say to yourself, ‘I’ll never sound like him, I’ll never look like him. Hopefully I can embody some aspect, capture some part of his personality, his characteristics, his gravitas, his charm,’ whomever the person may be. And then you go to work.”
The subject of Hanks’ portrayal had no qualms about the actor stepping into his shoes. “Besides the fact that they were making a movie, directed by such a gifted storyteller as Clint Eastwood, to then have Tom Hanks playing me…it’s a dream team,” says Sullenberger. “I know Tom is someone who can transform himself, but the first time I saw a long-range shot of him in costume, with his hair colored? Wow. It was amazing.”
In fact, prior to production Sullenberger’s wife, Lorrie, was most excited to see the two men together. “When I saw Tom for the first time, it was so strange. Then later I would find myself looking at my husband, thinking, ‘His hair looks just like Tom’s…wait…Tom’s looks just like Sully’s!’” she laughs.
In addition to pulling off an accurate physical representation of the man, Hanks would also be tasked with recreating the most challenging moments in Sully’s life, not just outwardly, but internally. The actor would need to convey the pilot’s rapid-fire thought processes that led to his ability to control the seemingly uncontrollable situation with which he was faced, despite never having trained for this exact event apart from theoretical classroom discussions.
Joining Hanks on the flight deck, Aaron Eckhart took on the role of co-pilot Jeff Skiles. Eckhart says he was very affected by the screenplay for “Sully.” “It was structured beautifully, because from the time they took off to the time they hit the birds was three and a half minutes. How do you make a whole movie about that? But it was very emotional and managed to build tension throughout the story, showing the audience what went on for these two men who were, to the outside world, hailed as heroes. I think it’s a heroic story, with good lessons to be learned.”
To prepare for the scenes that depict those critical moments in the air, Sullenberger had explained to them his own process at the time. His first three thoughts—all within mere seconds—had covered disbelief, denial, and realization. He told them that those thoughts led to three clear actions: force himself to be calm, set clear priorities, and manage the workload, not trying to do too much, but doing what they could to solve the problems, one by one, in the small amount of time they had. Hanks and Eckhart would have to internalize the intellectual elements of that progression and then show exactly how, having accepted what they were dealing with, Sully and Skiles were able to land the plane.
What most people might be unaware of, just as these two actors were prior to the project, is that Sully and Skiles, who worked together like a well-oiled machine, had met for the first time just a few days before the flight—a common occurrence considering the thousands of pilots traversing the globe at any given time. Fortunately their training allows them to communicate effortlessly and assist each other when there isn’t time to talk everything out.
Prior to filming, Eckhart contacted Skiles as well. Recalling their conversation, Skiles says, “We spoke for a couple of hours and he asked me a lot of questions about being a pilot, not just why I wanted to be one but also why I continue to do so after that day.”
“Jeff told me that first and foremost, they were always in control of the flight; they felt they could make a good landing, a controlled landing, in the Hudson,” Eckhart says. “He also talked about the effect going through that trauma had on them afterward: stress, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, nervousness, that sort of thing. It lasted two or three months and they got counseling. And he’s still flying today; he’s a captain himself now.”
Like Hanks, Eckhart was also able to strongly resemble his counterpart in both appearance and manner. Marshall felt the production was very lucky in that “there were two really interesting guys in the cockpit when this happened. Sully is a more reserved, quieter guy, and Jeff Skiles is pretty funny. And Aaron brought a sort of lightheartedness to what we see in the film is a very heavy situation. It’s nice to see the dynamic between the two real men played out by Tom and Aaron so well.”
“Tom’s an extraordinary actor,” Eckhart adds. “He’s so in command, it’s effortless. I’d like to think working with him had an effect on me; I’d like to learn some of his tricks.”
Both men spent time in flight simulators prior to filming in order to look the part when the cameras rolled. “We practiced with both Captain Sullenberger and Mr. Eastwood there,” Eckhart notes, offering that the actors eventually got the hang of it well enough for their scenes. “Pilots look so relaxed; it’s like home in there for them, so we felt a responsibility to do it right. We got a good feel for it.”
“We invited Sully’s participation whenever he was available,” Eastwood states. “He kindly arranged for the simulators and pilots to show Tom and Aaron exactly how it would work. They got the cram course, but they went to town.”
While tackling a persona so well known in the media was part of Hanks’ challenge, his real concern, he says, “was to embody Sully’s level of experience and expertise in the cockpit.” No amount of reassurance from Sullenberger could compare to what Hanks felt when he took the simulator’s controls. “He kept saying, ‘You’ll see what it’s like to fly when you get in the simulator,’ and I’ll tell you, it was the most lifelike experience. It feels exactly as though you are in a plane, it requires no imagination because the physics of it—the tilting, the motion—it’s amazing.”
Both actors discovered during their training that Skiles had actually handled the take-off that day, because co-pilots have to make a scheduled number of take-offs in order to qualify as captains. As in the film, Sullenberger took over after the bird strike, having more hours under his belt.
Eastwood not only observed the simulations, he also filmed them so the actors could watch and learn from their practice runs. Hanks says, “Luckily, we had the flight plan, we knew what we were supposed to do and pushed the buttons when we were supposed to, which we worked on a lot. It was a fun way to spend a day, but you also got this experiential aspect of being in a real no-nonsense atmosphere, as well as how truly short a period of time this all happened in and how many decisions and feelings that had to have gone into it for Sully and Skiles. In the end, Aaron and I were both eager to make sure we looked like we knew what we were doing in order to do right by them.”
I want you to know I did the best I could.
Of course you did. You saved everyone.
Almost immediately after confirming that each of his passengers has made it to safety, we watch as Sully takes out his cell phone and calls his wife in California. She has not yet heard of the incident, and is confused by his assurances that he is okay. Then she turns on the TV to see the first of many reports that will feature her husband in the days to come.
Laura Linney was cast in the pivotal role of Lorrie Sullenberger before she’d even read the script. Linney worked with Eastwood previously, first when he directed her as his character’s daughter in “Absolute Power,” and later in “Mystic River,” and was happy to do so again.
“When someone as wonderful as Clint Eastwood asks you to be a part of something, you just jump in,” she relates. “You know you’re going to have a great time, it’s going to be interesting material, you’re going to be with great people, and reunited with the crew who work so beautifully together and are so good to you while you’re working. Clint quietly and elegantly creates an atmosphere that is just a joy to work in, just heaven. I’d be an extra for him for the rest of my life and be very happy!”
Lorrie Sullenberger was more than pleased with the casting. “Laura is such an accomplished actress and I was absolutely thrilled when they told me. Before we knew, Sully and I played the casting game in our heads. Now, I can’t even think of anybody else doing it except her.”
Linney was impressed by Lorrie’s ability to handle, emotionally, all that was happening to her husband 3,000 miles away and at the same time deal with the encampment of press that had sprouted on her front lawn.
“It was all over the news and their lives changed instantly, yet she was removed from it, too,” Linney considers. “Her contact with him was on the phone, and that’s difficult to imagine, knowing your spouse has gone through something as traumatic as this and not being able to see him for several days… She gets his voice and she gets to watch him on television, but that’s it.”
In the film, much of Sully’s time right after the landing is taken up by the NTSB. In reality, the NTSB hearings didn’t actually take place until 18 months later; the filmmakers took dramatic license, condensing the events in order to present the full story within the timeframe of the movie.
It was a choice that Hanks appreciated. “I thought they were some of the most fascinating moments for the character and the movie,” he says. “They were the most delicious things for me to play because the stakes are huge throughout that process.”
The actor was also given the benefit of Sullenberger’s unique perspective on what can be, at times, quite adversarial hearings, seeing as the captain has also conducted investigations and therefore experienced both sides of the procedures. Hanks expounds, “Sully himself told me, ‘Look, these are good people on the other side of that table.’ He knows what they’re doing, and that they might not have all of the information. But there’s a very expensive piece of equipment in the river and they need to figure out exactly what happened.”
The film’s NTSB team is comprised of Mike O’Malley as lead investigator Charles Porter; Jamey Sheridan as Ben Edwards; and Anna Gunn as Elizabeth Davis. On Sully and Skiles’ side of the table, Holt McCallany plays union rep Mike Cleary, and Chris Bauer is US Airways’ Larry Rooney.
The three flight attendants on the plane that day—Shiela Dail, Donna Dent and Doreen Welsh—are played in the film by Jane Gabbert, Ann Cusack and Molly Hagan, respectively. And Patch Darragh plays Patrick Harten, the air traffic controller who took Sully’s mayday call and tried to find the plane a nearby runway on which to land.
“Sully” not only features the terrifying moments that everyone on the plane went through, but also the incredible rescue efforts that were immediately undertaken to get the stranded passengers out of the river’s frigid waters. In fact, Eastwood’s team sought out as many of the individuals who actually helped that day to appear in the film. Among them, Captain Vincent Peter Lombardi, who had commanded the Thomas Jefferson ferryboat, plays himself, once again turning the vessel toward the downed aircraft.
Officer Michael Delaney and Detective Robert Rodriguez, both part of the NYPD SCUBA Air/Sea Rescue Unit out of Floyd Bennet Field in Brooklyn, also participated in filming. Delaney, who is played in the movie by actor Jerry Ferrara, contributed stunt work, as did Rodrigquez; during production, these brave divers remarked that, although they jump out of helicopters as part of their job, doing it for a movie, without the adrenaline rush that comes with a real emergency, made the activity seem like a crazy thing to do! In addition, among the Red Cross staff and volunteers who were there that day to distribute blankets and warm clothing (the most requested item being dry socks), a dozen or so reenacted their efforts for the movie, including Chris Mercado, Regional Director of the organization’s Greater New York Chapter.
Several New York area newscasters also appear as themselves in the film, including Randall Pinkston, Bobby Cuza and Kristine Johnson. And real-life pilots Captain Larry Guthrie, Captain Lucy Young, Captain Lori Cline, and First Officer Jon Witten appear in the film as the flight simulator operators.
Our job is to investigate how a plane
ended up in the Hudson River.
On the Hudson.
The exteriors for “Sully” were shot primarily on location in New York City—where better to recreate the events of the day than right along the Hudson and its surrounding piers, which had served the real participants so well at the time?
To go from script to screen, Eastwood worked with his customary behind-the-scenes creative partners, director of photography Tom Stern, production designer James J. Murakami, costume designer Deborah Hopper, and editor Blu Murray. Using IMAX’s customized ARRI ALEXA 65 cameras whenever possible and RED cameras for 2nd unit and aerial work, filming began in the early fall of 2015 at a hangar in Kearny, New Jersey, where the film’s NYPD dive unit officers jumped into a waiting helicopter after receiving the emergency call.
On subsequent days, crowd reaction shots to the imagined plane landing were captured on the Upper West Side’s George Washington Bridge, at the Time Warner Center and in Columbus Circle. Pier 81, near the Intrepid, was home base for the ferry work, and the production utilized NY Waterway ferries, just like those that responded on the real day.
A sequence of Sully moving through the airport to reach the ill-fated flight was shot in the US Airways terminal at LaGuardia Airport, and a scene where he and Skiles “walk and talk” in the city was filmed along Fifth Avenue, between 55th and 57th streets. The final day of filming in New York took the production all over the city as Sully tries to “jog off” his demons, starting at the East River and wrapping in Times Square at 2:00 a.m.
“New York City is really a collection of small towns, so as you walk around, you go from one to the next,” Hanks observes. “It seemed like everyone knew we were making this movie which is, in a lot of ways, a quintessential New York story. There was definitely an air of goodwill, and because I had the shock of white hair? Oh, man, did I get a lot of ‘Hey, Sully!’ ‘Way to go!’ and ‘Miracle-on-the-Hudson man!’ shout outs. Everybody felt a part of it, and that was really gratifying.”
New Yorkers aside, securing the cooperation of certain necessary entities wasn’t always easy. Tim Moore explains, “NY Waterways was crucial to us because they’d had like nine ferryboats around the plane in 2009. But with the business they run and the fact that we were there during the busiest part of their year, and the Pope was in New York, and the United Nations was meeting with all the foreign dignitaries of what seemed like every country… Logistically it was somewhat difficult, but thankfully they came in and helped us tremendously.”
The weather was a bit less cooperative during their time in the city; however, on the plus side, “It did give us the look that Clint wanted,” Moore smiles.
Once the production moved on from New York, several scenes were accomplished at various spots in Atlanta, Georgia. The Healy Building and the JW Marriott – Buckhead doubled for the exterior and interiors for Sully and Skiles’ stay at the Alex Hotel. The Atlanta Center for Medical Research served as St. Luke’s Hospital. And Meehan’s Public House substituted for the Landmark Tavern, where Sully stops in for a drink.
The filmmakers also shot scenes in Sully’s hotel room at the Courtyard Atlanta in Norcross; used a private home in Alpharetta as Sully and Lorrie’s house; went to the Peach State Aerodome in Williamson to recreate scenes on a Texas airfield landing strip; and used space at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville to create several interiors, including the air traffic control room and office and the NTSB hearing room.
From the South production moved to Southern California, specifically the backlots of both Warner Bros. Studios and Universal Studios.
The flight deck of the A320 was created on Warner Bros.’ Stage 19 and the set was supported on a gimbal, but because there aren’t many water tanks available in Hollywood that can hold a 140-foot airplane, the filmmakers were happy to go to neighboring Falls Lake at Universal. Not only was there room for the Airbus, but they were also able to build a couple of facades for the ferryboats to match the wide shots collected in New York, to which visual effects supervisor Michael Owens would later add the plane.
During the time the plane was sitting in the Hudson it was canted, with the back portion of the cabin half-submerged. The production utilized a 350-ton gimbal, much larger than the one used for the cockpit alone, to tilt the plane forward and backward and sideways. The gimbal also allowed them to raise and lower the plane to replicate it slowing sinking as more passengers exited the cabin. When the first passengers get to the wings they are relatively dry; by the time of the rescue, they are standing in two feet of water.
Since the real event, US Airways was bought by American Airlines, who, Stewart says, “was incredibly helpful to us in assembling all the airplane pieces we needed. They were happy to be involved because this is an incredible memory for anyone in that industry. In the history of aviation, this is an extraordinary—and positive—event.”
Just as it was critical that the plane and the actions of January 15, 2009, rang true in the film, it was equally necessary for the actors and extras to look the part. Costume designer Deborah Hopper, who has worked with Eastwood on over 20 films throughout her career, knows that he strives for authenticity in his productions, and made sure to stay true to the authentic imagery for the costumes seen within the film. As part of the necessary research involved in such a project, she reviewed extensive news coverage and as many other media sources as she could find in order to get a feel for the clothing worn by the passengers and rescue teams.
“Of course, Sully and Skiles’ uniforms are authentic, exactly what US airline pilots wore at the time,” she states. “And after the landing, neither of them had any dry clothes, so they were provided jogging outfits to change into by the authorities in charge of the investigation, which we replicated in the film.”
For a later point in the story showcasing the investigation that followed in the aftermath of the 15th, Hopper put Hanks in a suit inspired by her research. “I had seen images of Sully when he was in Washington for the hearings and he was wearing a navy pinstripe suit, so I had one made for Tom,” she remarks.
One particular aspect of the filming involving the immersion of the actors in water proved to be a challenge for Hopper and her team. “We had to have an abundance of multiple pieces to account for the changing water levels, and to keep everyone as comfortable as possible while maintaining the correct look of their clothes. For Tom, we had at least six of everything—six uniform shirts, six uniform pants—and wetsuits for him to wear under them when he was working in water.”
I’ve got 40 years in the air, but in the end,
I’m gonna be judged on 208 seconds.
With such themes as hope, bravery and resilience woven into the story of “Sully,” Eastwood wanted the music in the film to reflect what the passengers and crew of Flight 1549 had gone through, and also allow moviegoers to remain immersed in the cinematic experience once they leave the theater. With Christian Jacob and The Tierney Sutton Band composing the film’s score, Eastwood wrote, along with Tierney Sutton and J.B. Eckl, the song “Flying Home (Theme from ‘Sully’),” performed by The Tierney Sutton Band. The song is an apt accompaniment to an emotional postscript when the real Sully, Lorrie Sullenberger and more than 50 of the survivors gather for a reunion at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the Airbus is on display as a symbol of the heroic efforts of everyone that day.
“If you’re a fireman, a cop, a soldier, an aviator, heroism is going to be expected of you at any time,” Hanks contends. “To me, a hero is someone who thinks and acts beyond himself in order to make things right for other people. Sully certainly did that, simply by doing his job, by knowing he could make the landing. He did not have time for fear. He had mere seconds to process billions of bits of information, both book-learned and from his own experience, and he proved that he was the guy who was prepared for anything.”
The unassuming man at the controls on January 15, 2009, prefers to recognize the efforts of all involved rather than to be singled out, and he’s happy that this film allows for such recognition. “People came together of their own initiative and did their jobs exceedingly well, and that’s what saved all of our lives,” Capt. Sullenberger says. “And I think that’s why we’ll always remember that day and that flight. We have much to be grateful for and much to celebrate.”
Eastwood states, “Hopefully this picture shows the good result that can come from a bad situation. That when something’s going wrong, there are people out there like Capt. Sullenberger who will risk a lot—their time, their efforts, even their lives—on behalf of others. The movie is called ‘Sully,’ but it’s really about the best in all of us.”
On January 15, 2009,
More than 1,200 first responders
And 7 ferry boats carrying 130 commuters,
Rescued the passengers and crew of flight 1549.
The best of New York came together.
It took them 24 minutes.
ABOUT THE CAST
TOM HANKS (Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger) is an award-winning actor, producer and director. One of only two actors in history to win back-to-back Best Actor Academy Awards, he won his first Oscar in 1994 for his moving portrayal of AIDS-stricken lawyer Andrew Beckett in Jonathan Demme’s “Philadelphia.” The following year, he took home his second Oscar for his unforgettable performance in the title role of Robert Zemeckis’ “Forrest Gump.” He also won Golden Globe Awards for both films, as well as a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for the latter.
Hanks has also been honored with Academy Award nominations for his performances in Penny Marshall’s “Big,” Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” and Zemeckis’ “Cast Away,” also winning Golden Globes for “Big” and “Cast Away.”
Hanks was most recently seen in Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” and Tom Tykwer’s “A Hologram for the King,” and upcoming will be on screens in Ron Howard’s “Inferno” and James Ponsoldt’s “The Circle.”
In 2013, Hanks was seen starring in Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated film “Captain Phillips,” for which he received SAG, Bafta and Golden Globe nominations, as well as in AFI’s Movie of the Year “Saving Mr. Banks,” with Emma Thompson.
His other feature credits include the Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski film “Cloud Atlas”; Stephen Daldry’s “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”; the animated adventure “The Polar Express,” which he also executive produced and which reunited him with director Robert Zemeckis; the Coen brothers’ “The Ladykillers”; Spielberg’s “The Terminal” and “Catch Me If You Can”; Sam Mendes’ “Road to Perdition”; Frank Darabont’s “The Green Mile”; Nora Ephron’s “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle”; Penny Marshall’s “A League of Their Own”; Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Angels & Demons” and “Splash”; and the computer-animated blockbusters “Cars,” “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 3.”
Hanks’ work on the big screen has translated to success on the small screen. Following “Apollo 13,” he executive produced and hosted the acclaimed HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon,” also directing one segment, and writing several others. His work on the miniseries brought him Emmy, Golden Globe and Producers Guild Awards, as well as an Emmy nomination for Best Director.
His collaboration with Spielberg on “Saving Private Ryan” led to them executive producing the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” based on the book by Stephen Ambrose. Hanks also directed a segment and wrote another segment of the fact-based miniseries, which won Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Miniseries. In addition, Hanks earned an Emmy Award for Best Director and an Emmy nomination for Best Writing, and received another Producers Guild Award for his work on the project.
In 2008, Hanks executive produced the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries “John Adams,” starring Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson. It won 13 Emmy Awards, including the Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries, and a PGA Award. More recently, Hanks and Spielberg re-teamed for the award-winning HBO miniseries “The Pacific,” for which Hanks once again served as executive producer. The ten-part program won eight Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Miniseries, and brought Hanks his fourth PGA Award.
In 2012, Hanks executive produced the HBO political drama starring Julianne Moore and Ed Harris, which follows Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate in his 2008 Presidential campaign.”Game Change” was awarded Emmy and Golden Globes for Best Miniseries/Television Film as well as earning several other awards and nominations. In 2013, Hanks served as host, narrator and historical commentator for the two hour National Geographic television movie based on the best-selling book Killing Lincoln. In 2013, Hanks and Playtone produced the Emmy nominated CNN documentary series “The Sixties,” and in 2014, the HBO miniseries “Olive Kitteridge,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout. In 2015, “Oliver Kitteridge” won eight Emmy awards, including Outstanding Limited Series, three Critics' Choice Television Awards, a DGA award and a SAG award. In 2015, Hanks and Playtone produced “The Seventies” and in 2016, “The Eighties.”
In 1996, Hanks made his successful feature film writing and directing debut with “That Thing You Do,” in which he also starred. He more recently wrote, produced, directed and starred in “Larry Crowne,” with Julia Roberts. Under his and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone banner, they produced 2002’s smash hit romantic comedy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” with his wife Rita Wilson. His other producing credits include “Where the Wild Things Are,” “The Polar Express,” “The Ant Bully,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Mamma Mia!,” “The Great Buck Howard,” “Starter for 10” and the HBO series “Big Love.”
In 2013, Hanks made his Broadway debut in Nora Ephron’s “Lucky Guy.” His performance earned him Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, and Tony nominations.
In 2002, Hanks received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was later honored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center with the Chaplin Award in 2009. In 2014, Hanks received a Kennedy Center Honor.
AARON ECKHART (Jeff Skiles) is positioned among the industry’s finest, with numerous credits to his name. He has earned considerable acclaim for his roles, including the love interest of Julia Roberts in “Erin Brockovich,” for director Stephen Soderbergh. However, it was his portrayal of a love-scorned, vengeful man in Neil LaBute’s controversial film, “In the Company of Men,” which first drew him critical attention. Notably, this incendiary film became one of the highest grossing independent films of the year.
Eckhart earned both a Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award nomination for his starring role in Jason Reitman’s directorial debut, “Thank You for Smoking.” His recent film credits include co-starring opposite Johnny Depp in “The Rum Diary”; the sci-fi action film “Battle: Los Angeles”; “Rabbit Hole,” opposite Nicole Kidman; and director Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” as Harvey Dent/Two Face.
Originally from Northern California, Eckhart studied theatre and film at Brigham Young University, where he met and appeared in many of Neil LaBute’s plays. In addition to “In the Company of Men,” he has starred in three other LaBute films, including “Possession,” with Gwyneth Paltrow; “Nurse Betty, opposite Renée Zellweger; and “Your Friends and Neighbors,” with Ben Stiller and Catherine Keener.
Eckhart’s other film credits include Sean Penn’s “The Pledge,” opposite Jack Nicholson; the romantic dramedy “Love Happens,” opposite Jennifer Aniston; Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday”; the indie film “Meet Bill”; and “Molly,” opposite Elisabeth Shue. He starred in the Alan Ball drama “Towelhead”; “No Reservations,” opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones; John Woo’s adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s short story “Paycheck,” opposite Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman; Ron Howard’s “The Missing,” opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett; “The Core,” opposite Hilary Swank; Brian De Palma’s “The Black Dahlia”; “Conversations with Other Women,” opposite Helena Bonham Carter; “Olympus Has Fallen,” opposite Gerard Butler; “Expatriate”; and the 3D IMAX action thriller “I, Frankenstein,” opposite Bill Nighy. His theater credits include Michael Cristofer’s “Amazing Grace,” opposite Marsha Mason.
Eckhart was most recently seen starring in “My All American” as legendary University of Texas coach Darrell Royal, opposite Finn Wittrock and in “London Has Fallen,” opposite Gerard Butler. He will next be seen in “Bleed for This,” opposite Miles Teller.
Eckhart resides in Los Angeles.
LAURA LINNEY (Lorrie Sullenberger) is an American actress who works in film, television and theatre. Her recent film work includes “Genius,” directed by Michael Grandage, also starring Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman; Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals”; “The Dinner,” directed by Oren Moverman, with Richard Gere, Steve Coogan and Rebecca Hall; and “Mr. Holmes,” directed by Bill Condon, starring Ian McKellan. She has appeared in “You Can Count on Me,” “Kinsey,” and “The Savages,” receiving Oscar nominations for her work in all three, as well as “The Fifth Estate,” Hyde Park on Hudson,” “The Squid and the Whale,” Mystic River,” “Absolute Power,” “The Truman Show,” “Primal Fear,” “The Mothman Prophecies,” “Love Actually,” “P.S.,” “The House of Mirth,” “The Details” and “Congo,” among others.
She starred in and produced the Showtime series “The Big C” for four seasons, for which she won a few awards, as she did for her portrayal of Abigail Adams in the HBO miniseries John Adams,” directed by Tom Hooper. Early in her career, she starred as Mary Ann Singleton in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series, a job for which she continues to be most grateful and proud. She appeared as Kelsey Grammer’s final girlfriend in the last six episodes of “Frasier,” was directed by Stanley Donen in “Love Letters,” and starred opposite Joanne Woodward in “Blindspot.”
She has appeared in many Broadway productions, most notably “Time Times Still” and “Sight Unseen,” both directed by Daniel Sullivan and written by Donald Margulies; and Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” directed by Richard Eyre, opposite Liam Neeson, with whom she has worked many times. Her other plays include “Six Degrees of Separation,” “Honour,” “Uncle Vanya,” Les Liasons Dangereuses,” “Holiday” and “The Seagull.”
She has been nominated three times for the Academy Award, three times for the Tony Award, once for a BAFTA Award, and five times for the Golden Globe. She has won one Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award, one National Board of Review Award, two Golden Globes and four Emmy Awards.
She holds two honorary Doctorates from her alma maters, Brown University and The Juilliard School.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
CLINT EASTWOOD (Director / Producer) has been honored for his work as a filmmaker and actor. He most recently directed and the searing real-life drama, “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper. The highest-grossing film of 2014, “American Sniper” was also one of the most acclaimed, receiving six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. The film also brought Eastwood his fourth Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award nomination and a National Board of Review Award for Best Director.
A four-time Oscar winner, Eastwood won his first Oscars, for Best Director and Best Picture, for his 1992 Western “Unforgiven,” which received a total of nine nominations, including one for Eastwood for Best Actor. Eastwood also won Golden Globe and DGA Awards for the film, which garnered Best Picture honors from several critics groups.
In 2005, Eastwood won two more Oscars in the same categories for “Million Dollar Baby,” again earning a Best Actor nomination for his performance in the film. He also won his second DGA Award and another Best Director Golden Globe, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for the film’s score.
Eastwood has twice more earned dual Oscar nominations, in the categories of Best Director and Best Picture, for the dramatic thriller “Mystic River,” for which he also garnered Golden Globe and DGA Award nominations, and the World War II drama “Letters from Iwo Jima,” which won Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and received Best Picture Awards from a number of film critics groups. “Letters from Iwo Jima” was the companion film to Eastwood’s widely praised drama “Flags of Our Fathers.”
In 2008, Eastwood’s “Changeling” received three Oscar nominations and Eastwood received BAFTA Award and London Film Critics Award nominations for Best Director, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score. The film was also nominated for a Palme d’Or and won a Special Award when it premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. He had received three previous Palme d’Or nominations: for “White Hunter Black Heart,” in 1990; “Bird,” at the 1988 festival; and “Pale Rider,” in 1985. He also won his first Best Director Golden Globe Award for “Bird.”
In more recent years, Eastwood directed and produced the big-screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys,” about the start of the 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. He also directed and produced the biographical drama “J. Edgar”; “Hereafter,” which received Italy’s David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Film; and the drama “Invictus,” for which he won a National Board of Review Award and earned Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award nominations for Best Director. In addition, he starred in, directed and produced the hit “Gran Torino,” for which he won a Best Actor Award from the National Board of Review.
Eastwood also directed and starred in such memorable films as “Blood Work,” “Space Cowboys,” “True Crime,” “Absolute Power,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” “The Rookie,” “Heartbreak Ridge,” “Sudden Impact,” “Honkytonk Man,” “Firefox,” “Bronco Billy,” “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “The Eiger Sanction,” “High Plains Drifter,” and “Play Misty for Me,” which marked his directorial debut.
Eastwood first came to worldwide fame as an actor in such legendary Westerns as “A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “Hang ‘Em High,” and “Two Mules for Sister Sara.” His film acting work also includes “Kelly’s Heroes,” “Escape from Alcatraz,” the “Dirty Harry” actioners, “Every Which Way But Loose,” “Any Which Way You Can,” “In the Line of Fire” and “Trouble with the Curve.”
Over the course of his remarkable career, Eastwood has received a number of lifetime and career achievement honors, including the Motion Picture Academy’s Irving Thalberg Memorial Award and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Cecil B. DeMille Award. He has also garnered tributes from the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, the American Film Institute, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the French Film Society, the National Board of Review, and the Henry Mancini Institute. He is also the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor, the California Governor’s Award for the Arts, and France’s Commandeur de la Legion d’honneur.
FRANK MARSHALL (Producer) Frank Marshall is one of the premiere film producers in the entertainment industry. His body of work has come to define a generation for moviegoers, producing such timeless hits as “Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and the “Indiana Jones” franchise. In addition to a prolific producing career, Marshall has garnered wide acclaim as a film director, having brought to the screen such memorable movies as “Arachnophobia” and “Alive.” Marshall was a producer of the 2015 blockbuster “Jurassic World,” which has grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide, making it the third biggest box office hit of all time after “Avatar” and “Titanic.”
Born in Los Angeles, Marshall is the son of American composer and conductor Jack Marshall. Growing up, Marshall was an avid musician and sports enthusiast. Before graduating from UCLA in 1968, Marshall ran track and cross-country for the school. In addition, he spearheaded the university’s inaugural soccer team, becoming a three-year varsity letterman in the process.
Marshall began his motion picture career as an assistant to director Peter Bogdanovich. The filmmaker quickly promoted Marshall to serve as his location manager on the timeless movie “The Last Picture Show.” Marshall then took on the responsibilities of associate producer for Bogdanovich as the pair continued their alliance creating such notable films as “Paper Moon” and “Nickelodeon.”
Following his time with Bogdanovich, Marshall worked as a line producer on Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz.” In keeping with his love of music, Marshall helped Scorsese document the final touring concert of The Band, immortalizing the group’s performance for future generations. In 1978, Marshall was hired by filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to produce the iconic “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Released in 1981, the film was a huge international success and was nominated for nine Academy Awards. That same year, along with future wife and fellow producer Kathleen Kennedy, Marshall teamed with Spielberg to form Amblin Entertainment. Over the next decade, the trio established one of the most successful collaborations in motion picture history, bringing to the screen some of the most beloved movies of the modern era, including “E.T.-The Extra Terrestrial,” “Poltergeist” and “The Goonies.”
In 1991, Kennedy and Marshall ventured out on their own to form The Kennedy/Marshall Company, where the duo continued to produce critically acclaimed films such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and the international hit franchise based on Robert Ludlum’s “The Bourne Identity,” the latest of which hit theaters this July. In addition to a production shingle, the company serves as a harbor for Marshall to explore personal artistic interests, such as directing the hit movies “Congo” and “Eight Below” and the ESPN Films documentary “Right to Play.”
Marshall’s accomplishments in the film industry have resulted in five Academy Awards nominations for producing titles as diverse as M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” to Gary Ross’s “Seabiscuit.” In addition to his Oscar nominations, Marshall has been acknowledged for his work with UCLA’s Alumni Professional Achievement Award, the California Mentor Initiative’s Leadership Award, and the acclaimed American Academy of Achievement Award. Along with Kennedy, Marshall was the 2008 recipient of the Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Award for Career Achievement. A year later, the duo was lauded with Visual Effects Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
An industry veteran, Marshall has parlayed his success into a second career as a philanthropist. Marshall’s love of sports led him to serve as a member of the United States Olympic Committee for more than a decade. Marshall was bestowed with the Olympic Shield in 2005 in honor of his service to the committee and the Olympic movement; and, three years later, Marshall was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.
Marshall serves on the boards of several organizations, including Athletes for Hope, the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, and the USA Track & Field Association.
In 2012, Marshall took over as the sole principal of The Kennedy/Marshall Company when Kennedy became chairman of Lucasfilm Ltd.
ALLYN STEWART (Producer) began her career in film distribution and production for 20th Century Fox in Europe, working primarily in London and Paris. Returning to the U.S., she became a production executive at The Ladd Company, TriStar Pictures and ultimately Warner Bros. Pictures. During her six years as a senior executive at Warner Bros., Stewart was responsible for the production of such films as the Academy Award winner “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Dangerous Liasons” and “Memphis Belle.”
Stewart left Warner Bros. for a production deal with Columbia and TriStar Pictures, forming Stewart Pictures. Stewart produced the television movie “Friends At Last,” starring Kathleen Turner, and the motion picture “Bliss,” starring Terrance Stamp, before joining forces with producer Stanley Jaffe.
While at Columbia/Tri-Star, Stewart and Jaffe produced the acclaimed children’s film “Madeline,” starring Academy Award winner Frances McDormand and Academy Award nominee Nigel Hawthorne. They then produced “I Dreamed of Africa,” starring Academy Award winner Kim Basinger.
Stewart became President of Production at Bel-Air Entertainment, based at Warner Bros., for several years, until she produced “Man of the House,” starring Tommy Lee Jones.
Stewart is an in-house producer and managing partner of Flashlight Films, a private equity film development and production company that purchased the rights and developed the screenplay of “Sully.”
TIM MOORE (Producer) was most recently a producer on the action hit “Need for Speed,” starring Aaron Paul. He was also a producer on the 2011 drama “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” which marked Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut. The film received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language film, the Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild and the Best Foreign Film Award at the NAACP Image Awards.
Moore has overseen the physical production of all of Clint Eastwood’s films since 2002. He most recently executive produced Eastwood’s 2014 box office success “American Sniper,” based on the book about Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle, starring Bradley Cooper. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. He was also executive producer on the big-screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys.”
In 2009, he executive produced the critically acclaimed drama “Invictus,” starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, which received widespread acclaim and several Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, including a Golden Globe nod for Best Picture – Drama. In addition, Moore was an executive producer on “J. Edgar,” “Hereafter,” “Gran Torino” and “Changeling,” and served as a co-producer on the dual World War II epics “Flags of Our Fathers” and the award-winning “Letters from Iwo Jima,” which was Oscar-nominated for Best Picture.
His work with Eastwood also includes the dramas “Mystic River,” which earned six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and “Million Dollar Baby,” which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Additionally, he was an executive producer on Rob Lorenz’s “Trouble with the Curve,” starring Eastwood, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake, and co-producer on Alison Eastwood’s directorial debut, “Rails & Ties.”
Moore has also worked several times with director Rowdy Herrington over the last two decades, including as a producer on the ESPY-nominated biopic “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius.” Their earlier collaborations include the films “A Murder of Crows,” “Road House” and “Jack’s Back.”
Moore’s other producing credits include Steve Buscemi’s “Animal Factory” and Arne Glimcher’s “The White River Kid.” He is currently in post production on “Tommy’s Honour” and will next produce the action film “Southern Heat.” For television, he was the production manager on the telefilm “Semper Fi” and produced the telefilm “Stolen from the Heart.”
Before starting his film career, Moore attended UCLA, where he met John Shepherd. The two have gone on to produce four independent features together: “Eye of the Storm,” “The Ride,” “The Climb” and the aforementioned “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius.”
TODD KOMARNICKI (Screenwriter) is a prolific writer, producer and director of film and television as well as an acclaimed novelist. His first novel, Free, was published by Doubleday in 1993 and his second novel, Famine (Arcade 1997), received tremendous reviews and was subsequently translated into French, Italian, and German. His third novel, War, was published to exceptional reviews in July of 2008 by Arcade.
In addition to his accomplishments in the literary world, Komarnicki has also found success in the entertainment industry as the director of the international production “Resistance,” starring Julia Ormond and Bill Paxton, which Komarnicki adapted from an Anita Shreve novel. This World War II epic love story was released in 2003.
Komarnickiʼs screenplays include “Perfect Stranger,” starring Bruce Willis and Halle Berry, and an adaptation of the international bestseller The Professor and the Madman. He has sold pilots to ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX.
In addition, Komarnicki is the president and founder of the production/management company Guy Walks Into A Bar. Komarnicki and Guy Walks partner Jon Berg produced the Christmas blockbuster “Elf,” starring Will Ferrell and directed by Jon Favreau. The film amassed over $220 million worldwide, putting Guy Walks on the map as a go-to company for high concept comedy.
Komarnicki lives in New York City with his wife, Jane, and their daughter, Remy.
CHESLEY “SULLY” SULLENBERGER (Author) is an airline pilot and safety expert, and has served as an instructor and an Air Line Pilots Association safety chairman and accident investigator.
He lives in Danville, California with his wife and children.
JEFFREY ZASLOW (Author) was a Wall Street Journal columnist and, with Randy Pausch, coauthor of The Last Lecture, and the author of The Girls from Ames.
KIPP NELSON (Executive Producer) is a founding Partner in Los Angeles-based Flashlight Films LLC, an investment fund founded in 2009 which focuses on developing scripts and producing motion picture films. Prior to which he founded an event company, 48Straight, which began as a winter alpine festival of sports, music and other cultural events celebrating mountain lifestyle. It was nationally televised on network TV and ultimately expanded into multiple sports in both summer and winter in nine different locations. Nelson started his career in international banking, including fifteen years in Europe and five in Asia. He was a Partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he worked for ten years.
Nelson is a graduate of Squaw Valley USA Academy, and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Colorado, where he competed on the NCAA Champion alpine ski team. He is a board member of the following organizations: United States Ski and Snowboard Association, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, and former board member of Company of Fools, a local theatre company.
Nelson lives in Ketchum, Idaho, and Los Angeles, California.
BRUCE BERMAN (Executive Producer) is Chairman and CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures. The company has successful joint partnerships with Warner Bros. Pictures and Sony Pictures to co-produce a wide range of motion pictures, with all films distributed in select territories around the world by affiliates in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and in all other territories by Warner Bros. Pictures and Sony Pictures, respectively.
Under the Village Roadshow Pictures banner, Berman has executive produced such recent hits as George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron; “San Andreas,” starring Dwayne Johnson; Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper; and “The LEGO® Movie,” directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
His upcoming projects include a new King Arthur adventure, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law, and Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” based on the bestselling book by Ernest Cline.
Berman has also served as executive producer on such films as Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio; Guy Ritchie’s hit action adventure “Sherlock Holmes,” starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, and its sequel, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”; the acclaimed drama “Gran Torino,” directed by and starring Clint Eastwood; “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions”; Eastwood’s “Mystic River,” starring Sean Penn and Tim Robbins in Oscar-winning performances; the “Ocean’s” Trilogy, with all-star casts, led by George Clooney and Brad Pitt; and “Training Day,” for which Denzel Washington won an Oscar.
The initial slate of films under the partnership with Warner Bros. included such hits as “Practical Magic,” starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman; “Analyze This,” teaming Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal; “The Matrix,” starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne; “Three Kings,” starring Clooney; “Space Cowboys,” directed by and starring Clint Eastwood; and “Miss Congeniality,” starring Bullock and Benjamin Bratt.
Berman got his start in the motion picture business working with Jack Valenti at the MPAA while attending Georgetown Law School in Washington, DC. After earning his law degree, he landed a job at Casablanca Films in 1978 and worked his way up to a production Vice President at Universal Pictures in 1982.
In 1984, Berman joined Warner Bros. as a production Vice President, and was promoted to Senior Vice President of Production four years later. He was appointed President of Theatrical Production in September 1989, and in 1991 was named to the post of President of Worldwide Theatrical Production, which he held through May 1996. Under his aegis, Warner Bros. Pictures produced and distributed such films as “Presumed Innocent,” “GoodFellas,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” the Oscar-winning Best Picture “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Batman Forever,” “Under Siege,” “Malcolm X,” “The Bodyguard,” “JFK,” “The Fugitive,” “Dave,” “Disclosure,” “The Pelican Brief,” “Outbreak,” “The Client,” “A Time to Kill,” and “Twister.”
In May of 1996, Berman started Plan B Entertainment, an independent motion picture company at Warner Bros. Pictures. He was named Chairman and CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures in February 1998.
TOM STERN (Director of Photography) earned both Oscar and BAFTA Award nominations for Best Cinematography for his work on Clint Eastwood’s drama “Changeling.” Stern, who has enjoyed a long association with Eastwood, more recently lensed Eastwood’s Oscar nominated film “American Sniper” and his big-screen version of the musical “Jersey Boys.” He also served as the cinematographer on Eastwood’s “J. Edgar”; “Hereafter”; “Invictus”; “Gran Torino”; the World War II dramas “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima”; the Oscar-winning dramas “Million Dollar Baby” and “Mystic River”; and “Blood Work,” which marked Stern’s first film as a director of photography.
His collaborations with other directors include “Ceasefire,” for director Emmanuel Courcol; “Broken Horses,” for director Vidhu Vinod Chopra; “Sleepless Night,” from Frédéric Jardin; and the worldwide blockbuster “The Hunger Games.” He also shot Rob Lorenz’s “Trouble with the Curve,” Pavel Lungin’s “Tsar,” Susanne Bier’s “Things We Lost in the Fire,” Christophe Barratier’s “Paris 36,” Alison Eastwood’s “Rails & Ties,” Tony Goldwyn’s “The Last Kiss,” John Turturro’s “Romance & Cigarettes,” Scott Derrickson’s “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” and Rowdy Herrington’s “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius.”
A 40-year industry veteran, Stern has worked with Eastwood for more than three decades, going back to when Stern was a gaffer on such films as “Honkytonk Man,” “Sudden Impact,” “Tightrope,” “Pale Rider” and “Heartbreak Ridge.” Becoming the chief lighting technician at Malpaso Productions, he worked on a wide range of films, including Eastwood’s “The Rookie,” “Unforgiven,” “A Perfect World,” “True Crime” and “Space Cowboys.” As a chief lighting technician, he also teamed with such directors as Michael Apted on “Class Action,” and Sam Mendes on “Road to Perdition” and the Oscar-winning “American Beauty,” among others.
JAMES J. MURAKAMI (Production Designer) was honored in 2008 with Oscar and BAFTA Award nominations for his work as the production designer on Clint Eastwood’s period drama “Changeling,” set in 1928. His production designs on that film, as well as Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” were nominated for Art Director’s Guild Awards in the period and contemporary categories, respectively. He more recently worked with the director on “American Sniper,” for which he also received an Art Director’s Guild Award nomination. He also served as the production designer on the big-screen version of the musical “Jersey Boys,” and the dramas “Hereafter,” “Invictus” and “J. Edgar.”
Murakami’s first film with Eastwood as a production designer was the acclaimed World War II drama “Letters from Iwo Jima.” He had previously collaborated with Eastwood’s longtime production designer Henry Bumstead, first as a set designer on “Unforgiven” and later as an art director on “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
Murakami was the production designer on Rob Lorenz’s “Trouble with the Curve,” starring Eastwood, and Alison Eastwood’s directorial debut feature, “Rails & Ties.”
In 2005, Murakami won an Emmy Award for his work as an art director on the acclaimed HBO series “Deadwood.” He had earned his first Emmy Award nomination for his art direction on the series Western the year prior.
His many feature film credits as an art director include the Tony Scott films “Enemy of the State,” “Crimson Tide,” “True Romance” and “Beverly Hills Cop II”; David Fincher’s “The Game”; Peter Hyams’ “The Relic”; Martin Brest’s “Midnight Run” and “Beverly Hills Cop”; Barry Levinson’s “The Natural,” for which he received an Oscar nomination; and John Badham’s “WarGames.” He also served as a set designer on such films as “The Scorpion King,” “The Princess Diaries,” “The Postman,” “Head Above Water,” “I Love Trouble” and “Sneakers.”
BLU MURRAY (Editor) began his career as a production assistant for the sound department on Clint Eastwood’s 2002 crime thriller “Bloodwork,” followed by his 2003 Oscar nominated “Mystic River.” In 2004, Murray was hired as an assistant sound editor on the director’s Oscar-winning “Million Dollar Baby.”
In 2005, he joined Eastwood’s editing crew on “Flags of our Fathers,” becoming first assistant editor on the Oscar-nominated “Letters from Iwo Jima.”
Murray was also first assistant editor on Eastwood’s “Changeling,” “Gran Torino,” “Invictus,” “Hereafter,” “J. Edgar,” “Jersey Boys” and, most recently, the Oscar-nominated “American Sniper.”
Murray was also an assistant editor on John Bonito’s “The Marine” and Pitof’s “Catwoman,” and a first assistant editor on Alison Eastwood’s “Rails & Ties” and Rob Lorenz’s “Trouble with the Curve,” starring Eastwood and Amy Adams.
Murray’s other credits include associate editor on the TV movie “Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way” and the TV series “American Masters.”
DEBORAH HOPPER (Costume Designer) has worked with filmmaker Clint Eastwood for over 30 years. Recently, Hopper and Eastwood were honored with The Most Distinguished Collaborators Award by the Costume Designers Guild. Hopper previously earned a Costume Designers Guild Award nomination, as well as a BAFTA Award nomination, for her period costumes for Eastwood’s true-life drama “Changeling,” starring Angelina Jolie. In addition, Hopper was named Costume Designer of the Year at the 2008 Hollywood Film Festival.
Hopper also recently designed the costumes for Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper; “Jersey Boys”; “J. Edgar,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role; the contemporary drama “Gran Torino,” which Eastwood starred in and directed; and “Invictus,” starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Hopper also designed the costumes for the Eastwood-directed films “Hereafter,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Mystic River,” “Blood Work” and “Space Cowboys.”
She began her association with Eastwood as the woman’s costume supervisor on the 1984 film “Tightrope,” which Eastwood produced and starred in. She held the same post on the films “The Rookie,” “Pink Cadillac,” “The Dead Pool,” “Bird,” “Heartbreak Ridge” and “Pale Rider,” before overseeing all costumes on Eastwood’s “True Crime,” “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and “Absolute Power.”
Earlier in her career, she won an Emmy for her work on “Shakedown on the Sunset Strip,” a telefilm set in the 1950s.
CHRISTIAN JACOB and THE TIERNEY SUTTON BAND (Composers) showcase the breathtaking range of tonal colors and emotional nuances that Tierney Sutton can produce with her voice. A seven-time Grammy nominee, Sutton has received nominations for every project she has released in the last decade. Her new album, The Sting Variations, is an adventurous and innovative take on the songbook of one of pop music’s most celebrated tunesmiths, Gordon Sumner, a.k.a. Sting. Recorded with her longtime ensemble, the Tierney Sutton Band, the album amply demonstrates not only Sutton’s mastery of the jazz vocal idiom, but also her ability to push the boundaries of jazz repertoire.
Growing up in Milwaukee, Sutton fell in love with music at an early age and went on to study jazz at both Wesleyan and the Berklee College of Music. She put together the Tierney Sutton Band in 1993, shortly after moving to Los Angeles. It was a true meeting of kindred spirits.
Coming from a background that combines studies in classical music and jazz, French-born pianist Christian Jacob has worked with jazz legends such as Maynard Ferguson, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous and Bill Holman, among others, before joining forces with Tierney. He has amassed an impressive catalog of recordings as band leader as well. Also a Maynard Ferguson alumnus, drummer Ray Brinker’s resume boasts an eclectic cross-section of jazz, rock and pop work with artists including Joe Cocker, Pat Benatar, David Lee Roth, Woody Herman, Ray Charles, Norah Jones, Dianna Krall, Natalie Cole and many others. Brinker is no stranger to film and TV work either, having contributed to the music for features such as “Shrek,” “Ray,” “Chicken Run,” “Dear God” and “Assault on Precinct 13.”