TODAY | October 07, 2013
>>> tom hanks has a brand new movie out that's getting tons of buzz. it's called captain phillips . it's based on the 2009 hijacking of the u.s. cargo ship by somali pirates . hanks plays the title character that has to prepare his crew when the pirates come on board.
>> we stay locked down until help arrives. no one comes out until you hear the password. if the pirates find you, remember, you know the ship, they don't. make them feel like they're in charge but keep them away from the important things like the generator and the engine controls. stick together and we'll be all right. good luck.
>> hey, tom, welcome back. good to see you.
>> words for wisdom all across the board. stick together. good luck.
>> don't get ahold of the engine room . did you follow this story closely as it unfolded in 2009 .
>> other than a quick couple of headlines. it seemed to be over pretty quick but i wasn't hanging on every word. it was like that happened fast, didn't it? they got them. okay.
>> when you decided to play this part, you went up and met richie phillips .
>> yeah a couple of times.
>> what stood out about him?
>> he was wearing socks watching an ncaa basketball game. my kind of hero. i'll take that. he is very happy go lucky . he is very grounded. he's kind of goofy almost when he's not working and when he's on board the ship, even his wife doesn't want to see him then. he's all business.
>> to bring home the reality of what he went through in that lifeboat for those days you have to take people in that boat. you have to convey the heat and the fatigue and the thirst and the pain, how did you do it?
>> well we had a small little lifeboat that we shot in. it was actually a couple of days literally at sea. it smels horrible in there. it's got the worst lighting on the planet earth . it became trashed instantaneously. the other guys, you know, we were living close enough in order to see the pores on each others faces. so it became a very tactile experience for us all.
>> you mention your costars in this movie and i want to mention a couple of things about this, first of all, they're not trained actors basically.
>> they're not trained actors but story telling type guys.
>> they were found in minneapolis and answered a casting call to be in a movie with tom hanks .
>> that's right.
>> i have to tell you i thought they delivered an intense performance in this.
>> the first time i met them was the day -- the scene, the take where they stormed the bridge. we had never -- we were kept -- we had kept separate and they were the skinniest most terrifying human beings i had ever come across. it was wild. and once -- i finally saw the movie, we never knew what they were saying to each other. it wasn't necessarily in the script. there was so much other stuff going on so hi to wait until i could read the subtitles in the movie.
>> and you talk about not meeting them until the scene where they stormed the bridge. that's coming up with what i thought was an interesting piece of strategy. he didn't want you guys to get buddy buddy before that scene. he wanted you to see them for the first time when you were confronted with them.
>> that was a tactile experience. he never made an announcement. we just figured out we're not going to see these guys. he was working them like crazy. they were there five weeks before we showed up.
>> we talk about the physical side of this. the heat and the pain of being in that lifeboat. there's also the emotional side and in talking to captain phillips , he said he was sure he was going to die.
>> and at times he said i almost wanted to die.
>> so you're an actor and you're trying to bring people to that level. at night you get to go home and have a nice meal and maybe a glass of wine. how do you jump back into that emotional place the next morning.
>> i'm a professional. that's one thing. it does hang with you. you get a sense of a marathon. there is no breaks. you pick upright where you left off the day before. it's almost in real time . it takes about five days. you ride an easier life. you keep your life more simple than it might be otherwise and you're always having this interior dialogue going on with yourself that is always reminding yourself of where you got to be the next day.
>> the movie starts in somalia and you get to meet the pirates, the would be pirates before they actually take over the ship and i think people might think it's funny for me to say it this way, do you think there's almost more of a sympathetic view of these pirates, keeping in mind they commit crimes, but after you get to meet them in their home.
>> i wouldn't call it sympathetic. i would call it comprehensive. i think you can understand a bit more of the hopelessness of the place. and when you realize that they are hungry. that they are surrounded by corruption and there's nothing but poverty and hopelessness you might almost begin to think well what would i do if i lived in somalia as opposed to where i live now.
>> it's an extraordinary movie. having followed the story for a long time, it's amazing to watch it come to life.
>> you had richard on the show at some point.
>> we were the first to talk to him when he was freed up in vermont.
>> he was dizzy.
>> it was probably awhile before he got his feet on the ground. you're fabulous in this, tom.
>> thank you.
>> good to see you.
>> i got to spend three months on a gorgeous cruise ship .
>> luxury cruise liner .
>> always good to see you. captain phillips hits theaters on friday and the real captain will join us on that