9 Facts to Know Before Seeing "Captain Phillips"

know before you go

In its opening weekend, action biopic "Captain Phillips" exceeded expectations, earning $26 million in U.S. ticket sales and generating a ton of Oscar buzz. While the presence of Tom Hanks is pretty enticing already, here are nine interesting tidbits that'll get you even more pumped for the film.

Oct 17, 2013 | 10:25 AM

1. The film is based on the 2010 book "A Captain's Duty," written by the real-life Captain Richard Phillips after surviving the attack. Billy Ray ("Hunger Games," "Hart's War") wrote the screenplay.

2. In an NPR interview, Tom Hanks said he never met any of the Somali actors before the scene in which Captain Phillips is kidnapped. Director Paul Greengrass stated that this was intentional, as a way to help create tension in the scene.

3. The film is directed by Paul Greengrass, who's best known for his hand-held camera thrillers "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum."

4. Filming took place over nine consecutive weeks off the coast of Malta. The crew stayed aboard the Alexander Maersk, a container ship that's identical to the Maersk Alabama, the ship Somali pirates had attacked in 2009.

5. The four actors who play the main Somali pirates were chosen from a casting call in Minneapolis, Minnesota. None of them had acted professionally before the film.

6. Initially, piracy in Somalia was a reaction by local fishermen against those ships that engaged in illegal fishing practices and/or toxic dumping that threatened the fishermen's livelihood. However, as piracy grew more and more lucrative, financial gain became the chief motive.

7. The Somali-American actors went through boot camp training and even learned how to pilot their skiff. The scene where they take the MV Maersk Alabama was done with no CG—the actors actually boarded the ship themselves.

8. Since the 2009 attack on the MV Maersk Alabama, pirates have attempted to hijack the container ship four times, failing each try.

9. Oh, and you should probably watch this INSANE TRAILER:

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"Captain Phillips" is in theaters everywhere.

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