The hijacking of the American-flagged Maersk Alabama brought worldwide attention to the scourge of piracy. A new movie directed by Paul Greengrass starring Tom Hanks endeavors to bring further awareness to this amazing story, and RPM Casting seeks to cast real veterans of the Coast Guard, merchant marines and U.S. Navy Seals for several roles in the film.
In April 2009, pirates attempted to capture the Maersk Alabama while it was en route carrying food aid to Mombasa, Kenya. The captain of the 155-meter-long cargo ship, Richard Phillips, risked his own life to ensure the safety of his 21-man crew, offering himself as a hostage. Hijackers fled the vessel with him and demanded a ransom of $2 million for his release. Phillips endured five days in a lifeboat at the mercy of his captors armed with AK-47s.
In June of 2009, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) awarded piracy attack survivor Captain Phillips with the Courage at Sea Award at its annual Silver Bell Awards Dinner. At the event with over 1,000 maritime industry’s leaders present, Phillips vowed to continue work to protect future mariners from the threat of piracy.
SCI, too, augmented its efforts that year on piracy-related issues with the announcement of its clinical study of the effects of piracy on seafarers. In December 2009, SCI convened a Piracy Roundtable at its headquarters, bringing together representatives of governments and the maritime industry along with health professionals and port chaplains. This year, SCI presented its study findings at several international conferences including the International Medical Health Association Symposium in Odessa, Ukraine and at the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Safety Committee meeting in London.
A new film based on of Captain Phillips’ harrowing story comes at a time when the issues of piracy often take second-page billing in the news. Although EUNAVOR reports a decrease in pirate attacks, pirates are holding at least 200 hostages in or just off the coast of Somalia the BBC reported on December 5.
Meagan Lewis of RPM Casting contacted SCI seeking to publicize auditions. Ms. Lewis told SCI that the film’s director wants to consider casting real persons from the maritime for roles—even if they have no prior acting experience.
Producers plan to shoot the film in Mobile, AL and New Orleans, LA. Filming begins in February, lasting for three months. Roles work for various timeframes and durations. If you are interested in auditioning for a speaking role, please email a photo of yourself, age and brief description of your experience at sea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Casting begins this week.
SCI is not affiliated with the production of this film, its producers, directors or casting agency.