Paul Greengrass’ hijack thriller starring Tom Hanks to get European Premiere in London.

Captain Phillips

The 57th BFI London Film Festival (Oct 9-20) will open on October 9 at the Odeon Leicester Square with Paul Greengrass’ anticipated thriller Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks.

Sony’s likely awards contender charts the 2009 hijacking of the US container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. 

Tom Hanks has been widely tipped for awards recognition for his portrayal of Phillips, who becomes engaged in a tense standoff with his Somali counterpart, Muse (Barkhad Abdi).

Hanks and Greengrass will both attend the festival.

Billy Ray’s screenplay is based on the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty. Producers are Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, and Michael De Luca.

Sony releases the film in UK cinemas on 18 October.

Clare Stewart, BFI head of exhibition and festival director said: “We are thrilled to be opening the BFI London Film Festival by welcoming Paul Greengrass – one of the great supporters of the BFI and British film – back to London for the European premiere of Captain Phillips.

“Our festival audiences will be captivated by Greengrass’s virtuoso filmmaking; Captain Phillips is an intense, high-stakes drama, focusing on two men forced onto a collision course by global political forces much larger than themselves.

“Featuring spellbinding performances by Tom Hanks and four Somali-American actors (Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, Barkhad Abdirahman and Mahat M. Ali), we are excited to be presenting this film as our Opening Night Gala.”

The film will have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on September 27.

The full programme for the festival will be announced on Wednesday 4 September.