Performing artist Tom Hanks says he was respected to play real life "hero" Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger in Clint Eastwood's new film Sully: Miracle on the Hudson. The 60-year-old performer was picked by Mr Eastwood to portray the plane pilot, who on January 15, 2009 carried out an emergency landing of a passenger jet on the Hudson River following a double bird strike to the engines. His activities spared the lives of all 155 travelers and crew on board with only minor wounds suffered by a few people.
The Forrest Gump performer got the chance to meet Sully, who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the wake of the episode and needed to fight to demonstrate the occurrence was not brought about by "pilot blunder". Tom Hanks met the real life captain to get ready for his execution and he has nothing but respect for him.
" I think heroes are people who voluntarily put themselves in harm's way. And by that criteria you could say that anybody that puts themselves in an aeroplane for a living and cheats death somehow," Mr Hanks told HeyUGuys.
"They stand up in front of 140 odd people who are jammed into those seats and says, 'I know we will be in the air for three-and-a-half hours but don't worry we will get you there,' that is somebody who takes on a responsibility that's bigger than the average job requirements," he added.
Speaking about Sully's quick-thinking actions, Hanks added: "He was able to utilise that instinct and expertise that came from the 40 years of experience – for which there is no substitute for. It's extraordinary. But it's not just the act, it's the cost and what he (Sully) went through afterwards and I think that is something that your average human being can react to."
Mr Eastwood based his film on the book Sully: My Search For What Really Matters written by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow.
Mr Hanks stars in the film with Aaron Eckhart who plays Sully's co-pilot Jeff Skiles and Laura Linney as Sully's wife, Lorraine Sullenberger.