Robert Downey Jr to produce a film based on the USS Indianapolis disaster
If you ask anyone if they have heard of the tragedy of the USS Indianapolis, chances are they will immediately recall the famous scene from Steven Spielberg's JAWS where Quint (Robert Shaw) recounts the terrible tragedy that befell the sailors eaten alive by sharks after the ship was sunk. Now, that black chapter from naval history will become a feature film.
Deadline reports that Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey will produce an untitled film based on the tragedy. The film will be directed by Tate Taylor (THE HELP, GET ON UP) and will take a very unique approach to telling the story.
Set in 1996, the film tells the true story of 11-year old Hunter Scott, who needed a project with which to compete in a National History Day Contest. He watched Jaws and came away inspired and researched how the warship got sunk by torpedoes on its return voyage from delivering the Hiroshima bomb. Because the mission was secret, the crew floated for five days, easy pickings for the giant sharks that swam the waters. The youth learned how ship captain Charles McVay was unjustly court-martialed. He set out to find the truth behind the worst US Naval disaster in history. What he discovered was that the only proper designation was a hero, for McVay’s actions under horrible duress and unimaginable carnage. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the ship’s sinking.
With another true life naval tale, IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, looking like a surefire awards contender, this project will likely pull in some heavy duty acting talent. Mike Jones, who scripted IN THE EVENT OF A MOON DISASTER and the upcoming Sesame Street movie, will write the film which has been in development for years but as a straight adaptation of the events rather than a multi-narrative film like this version.
Hopefully the project happens as it is an incredible story. I am not so sure about the new wraparound story, but I am willing to see how it develops. In either case it makes me want to go back and rewatch that scene from JAWS again.