A director swap is in order for Disney’s upcoming Coast Guard drama The Finest Hours. Last fall, Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos veteran Tim Van Patten entered negotiations to direct Disney’s adaptation of the bestselling non-fiction book, but now Deadline reports that Red director Robert Schwentke is in talks to take the helm instead. Written by Case Sherman and Michael Tougias, the book 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 penned the screenplay, and The Finest Hours would mark Schwentke’s return to straight drama territory after most recently helming Red and the upcoming supernatural actioner R.I.P.D. Schwentke’s other credits include Flightplan and The Time Traveler’s Wife. Hit the jump to read a 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]