Over the weekend, "Captain Phillips," a true-life adventure based on the hijacking of a freighter off the coast of Somalia, won rave reviews and a respectable box office. The film was buoyed largely by the praise of Tom Hanks' performance as the titular captain, who in the film is a bastion of heroic stoicism. But not so, say some of the crew members who actually worked with Captain Phillips.
"Phillips wasn't the big leader like he is in the movie," one crew member told the New York Post anonymously. According to him, Phillips had a horrible reputation for being "sullen and self-righteous," adding that, "No one wants to sail with him." After the hijacking, 11 crew members sued the freighter company; Phillips was a witness for the defense.
The crew member also points to what he considers to be recklessness on the part of Phillips, who was warned of increased piracy in the area and told to stay at least 600 miles off Somalia's coast (at the time of the hijacking, the boat was 240 miles of the coast). According to this anonymous source, there was not one but two pirate attacks on the ship over an 18 -hour period; only one was depicted in the movie. The first happened during a routine fire drill (in the film it's a security drill). "We said, 'You want us to knock it off and go to our pirate stations?' " the crew member recalled to the Post. "And he goes, 'Oh, no, no, no -- you've got to do the lifeboats drill.' This is how screwed up he is. These are drills we need to do once a year. Two boats with pirates and he doesn't give a s- -t. That's the kind of guy he is."
Sony paid most of the men, although some as little as $5,000, and forced them to sign nondisclosure agreements so that they couldn't speak out against the actual events once the movie had opened.
"They told us they would change some stuff," the anonymous crew member told the post, laughing. He had already seen the movie. "It's a good movie... Real entertaining."