Director Tim Van Patten is looking to take the helm of Disney’s The Finest Hours. The film is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Casey Sherman and Michael Tougias that recounts the 1952 Coast Guard rescue mission to recover 84 men trapped in a deadly nor’easter blizzard. Two WWII oil tankers were ripped in half, leaving four halves of ship floating aimlessly through the storm carrying the disaster’s only survivors. The brave Coast Guard men set out on a suicide rescue mission, some on old wooden motorized lifeboats, in order to recover the lost seamen. The Fighter scribes Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson were set to write the script last summer, but Variety’s report doesn’t specify whether Van Patten will perform a rewrite.
Van Patten is currently an executive producer and principal director on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and has previously helmed episodes of Game of Thrones, The Pacific, and The Wire. He was one of the main directors on The Sopranos throughout the series run, helming the seminal season four episode “Whoever Did This,” so he has a fantastic resume that speaks to his potential as a film director. Hit the jump to read the synopsis for The Finest Hours.
In a 1952 nor’easter, the distress of two ships off Cape Cod initiated a dramatic Coast Guard operation recounted here by coauthors Tougias and Sherman. Both vessels were World War II surplus, cheaply built, unwisely kept in service, and broken in two by the storm. All four halves floated, for the moment, and the authors’ narrative accordingly tracks four separate search-and-rescue efforts that form the complete story. The most prominent, in the press at the time and in official honors conferred afterward, concerned one motorized lifeboat, a puny 36 feet long and manned by four men, dispatched to do battle with the maelstrom’s towering waves. This is the seascape of The Perfect Storm, and the authors do justice to the peril in a tight account of the action. Plotting the course of CG36500, the utilitarian name of the lifeboat captained by Bernie Webber (interviewed for this book), Tougias and Sherman reach their peak of tension in the sink-or-swim moments when mariners abandoned ship and chanced their lives on their rescuers’ skill and bravery. [Amazon]